Figure Skating - Volosozhar and Trankov edge closer to second gold

A spellbinding performance full of drama and intrigue put Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov on the verge of becoming the first figure skaters to win two golds at the same Olympics on Tuesday.

Figure Skating - Volosozhar and Trankov edge closer to second gold

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Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov compete during the Figure Skating Pairs Short Program (Reuters)

In a high quality pairs contest featuring the winners of seven of the last eight world championships, the Russians easily won their expected showdown with Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy by more than 4-1/2 points with a score of 84.17.

Four-times world gold medallists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy got the crowd going with their playful routine to the soundtrack of Pink Panther but they could not match the precise foot work or synchronisation of the current world champions.

Another Russian pair, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, stood third, while Chinese lovebirds Pang Qing and Tong Jian, the 2010 Vancouver silver medallists, stood fourth ahead of Wednesday's free skate.

Roared on by the crowd and the sounds of a beating drum, Volosozhar and Trankov soared through a triple twist lift, touched down in perfect harmony following their triple toeloops.

"When the audience is clapping and yelling 'woo' at every step, it is fantastic and it pushes us forward," said a beaming Volosozhar, who was a member of the triumphant Russian side that won the inaugural team title on Sunday.

The duo look set to restore Russia's superpower status in pairs skating after their run of 12 successive Olympic titles in the discipline was snapped four years ago.

Since winning their first Olympic figure skating title in 1964, the team's haul has risen to 24 coming into Sochi.

But with the powerhouse drawing a gold-medal blank in Vancouver, they had a point to prove and so far they have been on target to do just that at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Savchenko did her best to gatecrash the Russian party by turning up in a backless, hot pink, skintight jumpsuit which drew whistles of admiration from the crowd but unfortunately for the Germans, the judges did not think their routine was as hot as the outfit and awarded them 79.64.

It was a display they mastered in only a month after they opted to ditch their more romantic programme "When Winter Comes" following the European Championships.

It was definitely worth the gamble for Ukrainian-born Savchenko, who while clutching a lucky Pink Panther mascot, said: "Those who don't take risks do not drink champagne."

In a competition usually littered with falls and crashes, the top 11 couples all avoided hitting the ice, while seven pairs scored over 70 points.

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