Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are holding a convincing lead in pairs figure skating going into Wednesday's free skate, winning the short program handily with a final score of 84.17.
The clear favourite to win the gold medal in pairs on Wednesday, the duo skated a near-perfect routine in front of a wildly supportive hometown crowd.
Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy from Germany, also looking strong in their short program, came in second with a score of 79.64. The duo performed a routine inspired by the Pink Panther.
"We wanted to show that it was easy. We skated it for the fans," Savchenko says. "When you're having fun doing your routine and the audience goes with it, it just makes you feel good and less nervous."
Szolkowy says that "we had a good feeling, indeed the most important thing was to skate clean.
"We're glad that we did all our elements since we want to fight for the gold. The points don't matter for now. Let's see what comes out in the end."
Third-place went to another Russian duo of Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, scoring 75.21. on their routine.
All three Canadian pairs also advanced to Wednesday's free skate finale.
Meagan Duhamel of St-Leonard, Que., and Eric Radford of Toronto finished their short program as the highest ranking Canadians of the night, scoring 72.21 and finishing in fifth place. The duo enjoyed a solid routine with only a minor mistake on a triple lutz spin.
Duhamel says it wasn't easy for her and Radford to skate right after eventual third-place finishers Stolbova and Klimov.
"It was very difficult to skate after the hometown team. It sounds like a hockey game out there," Duhamel says. "We made some minor mistakes, but I'm proud of what we were able to do in that circumstance."
"We want a medal really bad, but for us skating the free skate of a lifetime would be worth more than gold, Duhamel says.
Radford, who composed the pair's short program song in tribute to his late coach Paul Wirtz, says he "enjoyed every minute" of his short program experience.
"Being out there, every moment is an amazing and unforgettable memory."
Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catherines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto placed sixth in their short program, scoring 70.92. The couple skated a solid routine as the final performers of the evening.
Moore-Towers says that she wasn't nervous heading out onto the ice.
"I think the real win tonight was how comfortable we were out there."
Moscovitch says that before the couple performed their short program routine, he told Moore-Towers to "leave everything we have on the floor, let's just leave it all out on the ice."
"We had a lot of fun out there," Moscovitch says.
Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers of Virden, Man., in their first Olympics, skated to a score of 58.97.
The couple's training has been hampered all season by injuries, with Lawrence saying she is about "80 per cent good" in her recovery from a leg injury. Lawrence touched down twice during the couple's routine, which led to their 13th place finish.