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Savchenko, Szolkowy win third world pairs skating gold

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Associated Press
4/28/2011 3:07:59 PM
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MOSCOW -- The attention they received in their world figure skating championship debut wasn't exactly the kind they were looking for.

But Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford could laugh a day after Radford suffered a broken nose when he was slammed by his partner's wayward elbow during the short program.

Duhamel and Radford finished seventh in the pairs after a gutsy performance Thursday, and the only evidence of the gruesome goings-on from a day earlier was Radford's slightly swollen nose -- and the graphic photos that were plastered across newspapers and websites.

"We got tagged in a lot of Facebook pictures," Duhamel said. "Then we were watching the men compete today on TV and Eric called my (hotel) room and said, 'Oh my God, they're showing us on Russian TV! Oh my God, watch! It's us! We were even on the front page of an Australian newspaper."

Duhamel and Radford scored 114.20 points for their free program for a total 173.03 overall. They finished one spot ahead of Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Waterloo, Ont., whose free program earned them 106.31 points for a total 163.17 overall.

Toronto's Radford and Duhamel, a native of Lively, Ont., were executing a triple Lutz-twist lift -- an acrobatic throw-and-catch manoeuvre where she spins three times in the air with her body parallel to the ice. Duhamel smacked Radford's face on the descent.

The nasty accident left Radford blinking through tears through the remainder of their program and the front of his shirt covered in blood. And the graphic images -- plus the fact the two managed to finish their program at all -- made them semi-celebrities at the event.

"It's funny to look back on it now, but in the moment it really, really hurt, it was difficult to get through that program," said Radford. "But it all worked out."

Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy won their third world pairs title, setting two world records in the process.

They were second after the short program behind defending champions Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China, but their clean and entertaining free skate to music from "The Pink Panther" clinched the victory.

Savchenko and Szolkowy finished with 217.85 total points, topping the previous mark of 216.57 by Olympic gold medallists Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo at the Vancouver Games last year. Savchenko and Szolkowy also topped the free skate record, set by Pang and Tong in Vancouver.

Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov captured the silver, while Pang and Tong had to settle for the bronze.

Radford had his nose re-set Wednesday by Skate Canada doctor Marni Wesner, and then spent a long night of trying to sleep upright and popping anti-inflammatories.

The duo, who teamed up just prior to this season, drew a cheer the next morning from the small crowd of officials and fellow athletes when they completed the same lift in practice hours before their free skate.

"That gave us a little bit of confidence," Duhamel said. "We did a little victory celebration after ... we both looked at each other and said 'Yes!"'

Added Radford: "High five!"

Radford's was not the only blood shed at the Megasport Arena. Former world champion Brian Joubert of France slashed open his hand during Thursday's long program in men's singles, leaving drops of blood all over the ice that were visible from the very top rows of the arena.

Joubert finished eighth.

Savchenko and Szolkowy (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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