Jeremy Abbott of the United States competes in the men’s team short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Four-time defending U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott was the fifth among 10 men performing their short program on the opening night of figure skating’s inaugural Olympic team competition.

He fell on his opening quadruple toe loop and slid into the wall. That made it impossible to complete the planned triple toe that followed. But he composed himself and improvised, tucking it back in, only to step out of the next jump.

In short, it was a disastrous performance that put U.S. medal hopes in a hole out of the gate. Abbott knew it, and his showmanship fell flat, too — his spirits so low that sections of the crowed starting clapping in an effort to boost his spirits.

His U.S. teammates embraced him as he came off the ice. His score, 65.65, put him second, with five skaters yet to compete.