Russians Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov squared off against German rivals Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy in the figure skating pairs short program at the Sochi Olympics Monday evening in the Iceberg Skating Palace.
Savchenko/Szolkowy skated in the fourth group to a selection from “Pink Panther,” coordinating their outfits to match the music. Their score of put pressure on the Russians, who were skating the fifth group. Volosozhar/Trankov answered promptly, delivering a lights-out program that earned a world-record score and standing ovation from the audience.
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U.S. skaters Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who skated both the short and free programs for the inaugural team event, scored a personal best 67.44. After two groups finished they were in second place, but soon were knocked out by Volosozhar/Trankov and Savchenko/Szolkowy.
Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay, who made their Olympic debut for Team USA at the pairs short program, scored highly enough to land them in third, but were also bumped as the evening progressed.
Notable names rounding out the qualifications to the free skate program are teams from China, Germany, Russia, Canada, and France.
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“I skied a great race today,” Vonn also said. “Sofia [Goggia] just skied better than I did.”
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She also said she hoped she had made her grandfather proud. Dabbing away tears, she said: “It’s sad. This is my last [Olympic] downhill. I wish I could keep going, you know? I had so much fun. I love what I do. My body just can’t — probably can’t — take another four years. But — I don’t know, I’m proud. I’m proud to have competed for my country. Proud to have given it my all. I’m proud to have … come away with a medal.”
Pilot Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz won Germany’s latest gold in a sliding sport in PyeongChang, defeating Team USA’s Elana Meyers Taylor sled by 0.07 seconds. Meyers Taylor, along with brakeman Lauren Gibbs, matched the silver she won in Sochi.
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Jamanka led after two runs, and delivered in Run 3, setting a track record with a phenomenal run down the course. She hit the lines perfectly to put the pressure on Meyers Taylor — and Meyers Taylor, who has dealt with an achilles injury in PyeongChang, delivered with a course record of her own. She was 0.07 seconds back after two runs, but closed the gap to 0.04 heading into the final run.
The stage was set for a thrilling final leg. It, too, did not disappoint. Elana Meyers had her best run of the Games, but Jamanka matched it, to give Germany yet another win on the PyeongChang sliding course.
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Gold: Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz (GER) – 3:22.45
Silver: Elana Meyers-Taylor and Lauren Gibbs (USA) – 3:22.52
Bronze: Kaillee Humphries and Phylicia George (CAN) – 3:22.89
4. Annika Drazek and Stephanie Schneider (GER) – 3:22.97
5. Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans (USA) – 3:23.02