Olympic pairs’ figure skating champions will not return to competition

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Germans Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, the 2018 Olympic pairs’ figure skating champions who haven’t competed in three years, will not return to competition, according to Savchenko’s social media.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and I’m still fighting myself,” was posted on the 37-year-old, five-time Olympian’s account. “I really love the adrenaline of competitions, pushing myself over the limit and daily practice. I personally was hoping to continue our career, but unfortunately some parts of the team are missing! To add, the current Pandemic has made everything a little bit harder.”

Ukraine-born Savchenko and France-born Massot rallied from fourth place after the PyeongChang Olympic short program to take gold with a world record free skate score. They followed that with the world title a month later.

It marked Savchenko’s 11th world medal — tying the female record held by Norwegian singles legend Sonja Henie — and sixth world title — tying Soviet Alexander Zaitsev for second on the all-time pairs’ list, four behind Irina Rodnina.

Later in spring 2018, they announced an indefinite break from competition. Savchenko had daughter Amilia in September 2019. Massot coached and moved back to France.

Since PyeongChang, China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the Olympic silver medalists, succeeded the Germans as the world’s top team while battling injuries. But at last month’s worlds, Russians Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov jumped from third after the short to become the youngest pairs’ world champions since Katia Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov in 1989.

Gordeeva and Grinkov remain the last pair to win multiple Olympic titles (1988 and 1994). Rodnina and Zaitsev were the last pair to repeat as Olympic champs (1976 and 1980), marking the longest active stretch since back-to-back golds of any of the four disciplines.

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