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Massachusetts Skater Takes Center Stage on Olympics Opening Night

A pair of New England figure skaters hit the ice in Sochi on Thursday.

Simon Shnapir and Marissa Castelli compete on Thursday. (NBC Screenshot)
Simon Shnapir and Marissa Castelli compete on Thursday. (NBC Screenshot)
By Matt Schooley

Eyes from Sudbury and around the world were on New England figure skaters Simon Shnapir and Marissa Castelli as they were among the athletes to hit the ice on the opening night of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Thursday.

The event, which took place earlier in the day, aired on NBC in primetime, giving Massachusetts viewers the chance to watch one of its hometown Olympians.

Shnapir and Castelli were a part of the team figuring skating competition, performing a pairs short program routine for the United States.

Despite a few stumbles, the duo received a 34.99 technical score and 29.26 component score, good for a total tally of 64.25. 

When they were finished their routine, Shnapir and Castelli were in second place. However, by the end of the competition, the pair earned a fifth-place finish. That was important for the United States, which received a disappointing seventh-place finish from Jeremy Abbott in the men's event.

Host Russia sits atop the team standings after an impressive performance on Thursday. Overall, the United States is in fifth place thanks to Shnapir and Castelli's performance. The team competition continues on Saturday.

Shnapir's family was the center of a Boston Globe feature article on Thursday. The newspaper chronicled the family's journey from Russia to the United States, and now to Sochi for the Olympic games.

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