Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov has put Russia back on top.
Four years after the Russians failed to win gold in the pairs event – snapping a streak of Russia/Soviet Union victories across 12 straight Olympics – Volosozhar and Trankov led a 1-2 finish for the Sochi Olympics’ host nation today at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov moved up to silver after placing third in the short program and pushed Germany’s four-time world champions, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, back to their second consecutive Olympic bronze.
After posting a world-record score in the short program, Volosozhar and Trankov – who many figure skating observers said had the makings of a “dream team” upon their pairing shortly after the Vancouver Games – avoided the big mistakes in their “Jesus Christ Superstar” free skate to take home gold by more than 18 points.
The 2013 world champions had played a role in Russia’s earlier victory in the first-ever team figure skating competition, taking a win there in the short program.
As for the U.S. pairs, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir finished ninth overall with a personal-best free skate score of 120.38. Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay finished 12th (free score: 110.31), jumping two spots from their short program ranking of 14th.
FIGURE SKATING – PAIRS
Pair (Country), Total score (short/free)
1. Volosozhar/Trankov (RUS), 236.86 (84.17/152.69)
2. Stolbova/Klimov (RUS), 218.68 (75.21/143.47)
3. Savchenko/Szolkowy (GER), 215.78 (79.64/136.14)
9. Castelli/Shnapir (USA), 187.82 (67.44/120.38)
12. Zhang/Bartholomay (USA), 167.21 (56.90/110.31)