SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The Olympic record books are loaded with Russian pairs wins. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are closing in on another.
This one would be extra special for two reasons: The games are in their home nation, and a victory could start a whole new winning streak.
From 1964, when the Protopopovs took the first Olympic pairs gold medal for the country, through 2006, the event belonged to skaters from either the Soviet Union or Russia. But no Russians even reached the medals stand in the event at Vancouver.
"We want to win the Olympics in Russia and we want to be the next gold medal winners in pairs for Russia," Trankov said through a translator Tuesday night. "We have the strong history."
And they have the strong programs. In fact, Russian pairs were first, third and eighth in the short program. There's no reason to think they won't be just as tough to beat in the free skate on Wednesday night at the Iceberg.
World champions Volosozhar and Trankov have a 4.53-point lead over four-time world winners Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany. It's not an insurmountable lead, but with the way Russian skaters have been performing at the Sochi Games, it's a solid margin.
"The German team is very strong, and there is not much difference in the scores," Trankov added, "and we will now concentrate on winning the gold medal."
They already have one of those from the team event, in which Volosozhar and Trankov won the short program, then let Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov handle — and win — the long program. Stolbova and Klimov were third Tuesday.
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