World champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov claimed a second gold for themselves and the Olympic hosts on Wednesday night as they led a Russian one-two in the pairs figure skating.
Already team gold medallists, Volosozhar and Trankov led all the way to seal the title ahead of team-mates Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, with Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy taking their second Olympic bronze.
Trankov, 30, fell to his knees with his fists clinched above his head after their performance to the rock opera «Jesus Christ Superstar», as Volosozhar, 27, buried her face in her hands with tears in her eyes.
In front of a packed crowd at the Iceberg Skating Palace, which included 1964 Olympic champions Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov, the Russian pair delivered a sparkling performance, earning chants of “Molodtsi!” (Russian for “Bravo guys!”) and a standing ovation.
“Today was a big day for all of Russia,» said Trankov, after they became the first skaters to win two figure skating gold medals at the same Games. “Two of our couples have skated very well and I think everyone in our big country is pleased. It was the hardest job of our lives.
“We dealt with huge pressure. We already have gold in the team event, but this is the realisation of the goal and dream of our lives.”
Despite errors with Trankov’s hand touching the ice during the performance and some of their spins being out of synch, the pair extended their 4.53-point lead from the short programme to finish 18.18 points ahead of fellow team gold medallists Stolbova and Klimov, scoring 152.69 for the free skate and 236.86 overall.
Stolbova, 21, and Klimov, 23, brought the house down with their entertaining «The Addams Family» which earned them 143.43 and 218.68 overall to move up to second from third after the short programme.
“We did everything exactly the way we were planning,” said Klimov.
“It was very important for us to perform well at the Olympics that are in Russia. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Four-time world champions Savchenko and Szolkowy, who had been second after the short programme, dropped to third after both fell during their free skate to Tchaikovsky’s «The Nutcracker».
The Germans, who lost their world title to Volosozhar and Trankov last year, finished fourth in the free skate with 136.14, and scored 215.78 overall.