Figure Skating

The Associated Press - Friday Jan. 17, 2014 11:54 ET

Volosozhar, Trankov lead after short program at European championships

Russians 7 points ahead of Germany's Savchenko and Szolkowy

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Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov perform in the pairs short program at the European Figure Skating Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Friday. (Darko Bandic/Associated Press)

Defending champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia earned a season-best score in dominating the pairs short program at the European figure skating championships on
Friday in Budapest.

Volosozhar and Trankov, also the world champions, earned 83.98 points, more than seven better than second-place Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, winners of four of the last six worlds.

Skating to Aram Khachaturian's "Masquerade Waltz," the Russians completed all of the elements superbly, and received maximum levels for their steps, spins, lifts and death spiral.

"We were nervous as we skated toward the end -- next to last -- and the tension was high," Trankov said. "But we were able to deal with it and skated in a good mood."

The Russians impressed with the speed of their routine, the pristine jumps and seemingly effortless lifts and throws.

"For us it's a good result for the moment," Trankov added. "We hope we will get our third [European] title." Savchenko and Szolkowy received 76.76 points and faltered when
Savchenko stepped out of her landing in the throw triple flip and put a hand on the ice to regain her balance.

The error "was completely new to us," Szolkowy said. "Most of the times when we have a mistake ... it's me."

Russians rounded out the top four with Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov third and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov fourth.

The ladies' free program is later Friday while the pairs' free skate is on Sunday.

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