U.S. among qualifying teams

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Host Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan have qualified for the team figure skating event, which is making its Olympic debut in Sochi.

Italy, France, China, Germany, Ukraine and Britain also qualified for the event, which is designed to be similar to the team competition in gymnastics.

In the opening round, one skater per country does a short program or short dance in each of the four disciplines: men's, women's, pairs and ice dance. The top five countries then move on to the medal round, where skaters do a free program or free dance in the four events. Countries can make up to two roster changes between rounds.

The team event begins Feb. 6, the day before the opening ceremony. The gold medal will be awarded Feb. 9.

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