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Russia Takes Gold in Pairs Figure Skating

Maxim Bogodvid / RIA NovostiThe top three pairs on the medal podium.

SOCHI††—†Tatyana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia won gold in the Sochi Olympic figure skating pairs competition on Wednesday as their compatriots Ksenia Stolbova and Fyodor Klimov claimed the silver.

Skating on the back of a five-point overnight lead from the short program, the reigning world champions put in a solid — if not perfect – free routine set to "Jesus Christ Superstar" to score 236.86 points for the gold.

It is a second Sochi Olympic gold for the Russian pair, who helped their country to the inaugural team title last week by winning that short program.

Stolbova and Klimov rose a place from third overnight with a flawless free skate to music from "The Addams Family," scoring a total of 218.68 to complete a Russian 1-2.

Four-time world champion German Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, the only pair to have beaten Volosozhar and Trankov in the last two years, needed a world record free score to overtake them here, but both fell and they had to settle for bronze with 215.78.

Russia's other duo, Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, finished sixth with 199.60.

Both Volosozhar and Trankov competed at the Vancouver Games four years ago but with other partners, finishing ninth and eighth respectively in a competition won by Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo of China. Volosozhar represented her native Ukraine along with Stanislav Morozov while Trankov was partnered by Maria Mukhortova.

Trankov and Volosozhar were untouchable for nearly two years before defeat to Savchenko and Szolkowy in the Grand Prix finals in December, and a thoroughly unconvincing victory over a weak field in January's European championships raised questions ahead of the Sochi Games.

Their gold is Russia's second of the Games.

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