The pairs’ medal ceremony in Budapest, almost like a crucifixion

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Well, this was a tough day for both of the pairs competing in Budapest for the European crown: Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy withdrew from the event just before the free skate (Aliona came to Budapest with a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract) and Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov – feeling maybe a little bit relaxed after the Germans’ withdrawal – made a complete disaster out of their free program, skated on music from the rock opera „Jesus Christ Superstar”. Maxim fell, Tatiana fell – and at the end of the routine, they both looked as if the crucifixion in their program had actually happened.

by Florentina Tone

But even if their free program was ranked second after that of Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov (137.08 points vs. 136.40 points), Tatiana and Maxim still managed to clinch to the gold due to their 13 points advance after the short. The favorites for the Olympic gold in Sochi retained the European crown for one more year – but the medals ceremony, held right after their disastrous skate, was a total ordeal for them and especially for Maxim, who was the embodiment of disappointment. And, actually, there’s been even a little bit of whistling in the arena – the public hasn’t quite understood why the gold medal didn’t go to those who skated clean, Ksenia and Fedor (who definitely got a big hand of applause for their performance). Adding this to their own mistakes, one can easily understand why the medals ceremony had more of an aspect of funeral for Tatiana and Maxim. Before taking the ice to receive their medals, Maxim was wiping Tatiana’s tears – and they both looked numb and overwhelmed.

One thing is sure though: with less than a month from Sochi, this was a cold shower for the Russian skaters; and what was supposed to be an easy win – especially in the absence of the Germans – turned into a nightmare. And another sure thing: though the Russians’ win is completely understandable under the new scoring system, there must be something wrong with this particular system; a system that allows you to win a competition even if your program left a not-so-good of an impression over the audience.

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