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Pairs World Champs Capture Skate America

German World Champions Savchenko and Szolkowy righted the pairs skating world by winning Skate America on Saturday after scoring 116.69 in their free skate. It wasn't a perfect performance (side by side triples were off, as were spins, and they popped a throw), but it was very good and difficult (and thank goodness the music was better than in the short program. The pair is not quite as in sync yet as I think they'll need to be in order to defend the world title, but this victory is a step in the right direction.

US Champs Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker provided a great moment for the crowd when they jumped into the 2nd place spot with a great program that scored a 115.67. Great triple twist and side by side combinations. There were a couple of mistakes (she stepped out of of a side by side triple toe and the side by side spins were not good) but the momentum was definitely on their side (as was speed) and this was a very promising start to the season. I love "West Side Story" and they had a nice interpretation.

The leaders going into the free skate, Russian pair Mukhortova and Trankov started off with a nicely with heir throw triple twist, but then they imploded, with him falling on a jump, her falling on a throw, her falling on a triple toe, a forward landing on the throw triple loop...um, yeah, I'd say they were lucky to hold on for third place with a 101.35 in the free skate.

Americans Rena Inoue and John Baldwin had more mistakes. They had a fall on the throw triple axel (and from what Aaron writes, they didn't even warm it up before Friday's short program yesterday - I wonder if they bothered practicing it today?). Inoue also stepped out of a side by side jump and had a not so great landing on the throw triple loop. They scored a 96.51 and ended the night right where they started, in fifth place.

Final Rankings:

1) Savchenko &Szolkowy (180.77)

2) McLaughlin & Brubaker (172.69)

3) Mukhortova and Trankov (167.67)

4) Canada's Duhamel and Buntin (159.80)

5) Inoue and Baldwin (146.51)

6) U.S.'s Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin (141.70)

7) France's Adeline Canac and Maximin Coia (134.36)

8) China's Yue Zhang & Lei Wang (124.63)