Russian pairs fill podium at Euro skating champs

Russian pair Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov performing at the European figure skating championships in Sheffield, UK (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Pesnya)
Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov have won their first major title in the pairs’ competition at the European figure skating championships.

­Going into the free program they led the pack after a season’s best score in the short program.

On Thursday night, they produced a sublime performance to the Black Swan soundtrack to clinch the top score in the segment with 137.65 points and earn a total of 210.45 points.

But the winning duo had mixed emotions after their success, due to the absence of their main rivals and defending champions, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany.  

"Of course, without Aliona and Robin the pleasure of becoming the European champions is incomplete,”
Trankov told RIA-Novosti news agency. “Next time I hope will be more interesting. But we are still pleased with the result, and happy for the entire Russian team that won medals today."

The compatriots of Volosozhar and Trankov – Vera Bazarova and Yury Larionov finished 16.66 points behind, while yet another Russian pair, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, completed the podium with 171.81 points.

Volosozhar and Trankov, who were competing together in their first European championships, won silver at last year's world championships.

Meanwhile, in the men’s event, veteran Evgeny Plyushchenko was upstaged by rising star Artur Gachinsky as the Russian duo took the top two positions after the short program.

“For me, the current European Championship is special. It’s very difficult for me,”
Plyushchenko explained in an interview with Ves Sport. “Due to the knee injury I didn’t even try to do the quadruple jump either in training or in competition. If I did so, I’d need two or three minutes to recover – to just stand still and wait until the pain goes away.”

“For me the program with a cascade of three plus three is a return to the past,”
he added. “But in the current situation I’m pleased with my performance in qualifying and in the short program. It is difficult to win without a quadruple jump and we prepared two of them for our Sheffield program.”

Heading into the final day of the men’s competition, Plyushchenko (84,71 points), for whom it’s the first official international start after the Vancouver Olympics, trails Gachinsky by just 0.09 of a point.

Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic produced the third result of 81,14 points, with the third Russian representative in men's skating, Sergey Voronov, being only 14th.

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