Actually, I think there is a specific technique to skating the team event as well. They may not be passing a baton, but there does have to be mental/physical prep/management to be able to skate the TE and still have enough gas to skate the IE. Also, the Canadian skaters in PYC spoke a lot about how their approach as a team helped them to win, as opposed to when they all had a more individual mentality at the Sochi team event.About Swimming and Athletics relay medals, I think the big difference is that there is a specific tehcnique about relays, it's not just individual performances added.
That's why a medal in relay is very different, IMO.
It's not to devalue Olympic team medals, but I consider Nadia Comaneci and her 5 individual Gold medals to be a better record than Polina Astakhova's 5 Olympic Gold (2 individual and 3 team). Of course, both are great ! JMHO