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China's Shen and Zhao Win Pairs Gold; Russian Win Streak Ends

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Well, Russian or Soviet teams have won every Olympic pairs gold medal since 1964.  Tonight, that streak has ended, as China's veteran pair of Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao were able to finally get the one prize they were missing - the Olympic gold medal.  They did not skate a perfect program (they had a freak error on a lift) but it was enough to keep them in the lead.  Their countrymates Qing Pang and Jian Tong gave a thrilling performance to The Impossible Dream to win the free skate, but they could not do better than silver overall. 

Two-time reigning world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany made multiple errors and had to settle for the bronze medal for their beautiful Out of Africa program (they were way too close in score to Pang and Tong considering the skate).  Russia's Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov had a lackluster skate with numerous mistakes and found themselves off the podium entirely.

Imperfect but positive skates were seen from the American pairs of Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig and Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett.  They finished in tenth and thirteenth place, respectively.

Overall, the evening was error-prone and did not measure up to the promise of the short program last night, but the feel-good ending provided a great moment as all the hard work of Shen and Zhao finally paid off.

 

Pairs Final Results
1
Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao China 216.57
2 Qing Pang and Jian Tong China
213.31
3 Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy
Germany 210.60
4 Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov
Russia 194.77
5 Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang China 194.34
6 Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison Canada 187.11
7 Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov
Russia 185.79
8 Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov Ukraine 181.78
9 Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay
Canada 179.97
10 Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig USA 171.92
11 Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov
Russia 163.50
12 Nicole Della Monica and Yannick Kocon
Italy 161.60
13 Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett
USA 158.33
14 Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur
France
145.10
15 Anais Morand and Antoine Dorsaz
Switzerland 144.42
16 Stacey Kemp and David King Great Britain 139.94
17 Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende Germany 138.74
18 Joanne Sulej and Mateusz Chruscinski
Poland 125.82
19 Maria Sergejeva and Ilja Glebov Ukraine 124.90
20 Ekaterina Kostenko and Roman Talan
Poland 120.98