Tatiana Volosozhar, Maxim Trankov take gold in pairs figure skating
2nd Russian team of Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov takes silver
Two Russian teams topped the podium in pairs figure skating Wednesday at the Sochi Olympics. World-record holders Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won the gold medal, while Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov took the silver.
The heavily favoured duo of Volosozhar and Trankov had a few minor stumbles but their dominant performance in the short program was enough to assure them gold, to the delight of the crowd.
Trankov slid along the ice and raised his hands in the air when his performance was over. Volosozhar buried her face in her hands to hide tears of joy. Their score of 152.69 was only two points off their own world record.
"I was crying because I felt so many emotions; nerves, concentration," Volosozhar said after. "I'm still nervous and shaking, but I'm also so happy. We did really well today."
Well enough, indeed, to leapfrog them ahead of their Russian teammates, who found themselves unexpectedly in first place with three teams left to skate.
Stolbova and Klimov put on an almost flawless performance that was ultimately good enough to snatch the silver.
"We did everything exactly the way we were planning it," Klimov said. "We've been working very hard and that's what has made us succeed. We are so thrilled and we can't believe that it's over."
Bronze went to the German duo of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, the same medal they took home four years ago in Vancouver.
Canadians perform well
Two Canadian teams put in strong performances but finished off the podium.
Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch finished in fifth with a score of 131.18. "We feel we were pretty great," Moore-Towers said. "I was very happy with the performance, we were knocking things off one by one."
Their teammates and Canadian rivals Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford came in seventh with their season's best score of 127.32. "We're disappointed with our performance, but we're very happy with our Olympics," Radford said.
Beyond the Canadians, the night belonged to Russia and Russian skating fans, with the world champions Volosozhar and Trankov adding to Russia's medal haul from figure skating events.
Russia has already won the first ever gold medal in the brand new team event, finishing top three in every skating discipline.
Russia, and before that the Soviet Union, had won the gold medal in pairs in the 12 Olympics leading up to Vancouver, when they were shockingly left off the podium behind two Chinese teams and the Germans mentioned above.
"Today was a big day for all of Russia. Two of our couples have skated very well and I think everyone in our big country is pleased. It was the hardest job of our lives" Trankov said.
Canadians Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers, both from Saskatchewan, skated earlier and put up a score of 103.01 after a few small missteps.
With files from the Olympic News Service