The 2012 ISU European Figure Skating Championships continued in the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Great Britain, on Friday with the Men's Short Program and the Pairs Free Skating.

Artur Gachinski snatches narrow lead in Men's Short Program

Artur Gachinski of Russia snatched a narrow lead over teammate Evgeni Plushenko in the Men's Short program. Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic came third.

Skating to St. Louis Blues, Gachinski hit the only quad-triple toe combination of the day, triple Axel and triple loop. The 18-year-old picked up a level four for two spins and the circular footwork and scored a new seasons best with 84.80 points. I think this was my best ever skate so far. I did all the jumps, the spins and the footwork as I had planned. I basically expected such a performance as I was ready for the short program. Right now I feel only that I am the leader in the short program. The free skating is still to come and everything can change, the current World bronze medalist commented.

Plushenko had drawn to skate fourth out of the 29 skaters and opened his routine to Storm by Yanni with a triple Lutz-triple toe combination followed by a big triple Axel and a triple loop. His spins and footwork were a level three. The 2006 Olympic Champion earned 84.71 points. These Europeans are very tough for me, I have two injuries. Yesterday I aggravated my knee injury and when I do the quad toe, I need three, four minutes to recover from the pain. Therefore we decided not to do the quad today. It was either doing a program without the quad or not competing, and I want to finish this competition, the Russian said.

Verner stumbled on his opening quad toe but recovered to hit a triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toe to collect a seasons best of 81.14. It was a disappointing opening to the program. I knew when I missed the quad and I've been struggling with the triple Axel in practice so I felt I didn't have anything to look forward to. But then it was better, the 2008 European Champion noted.

Javier Fernandez (ESP) completed a quad toe but stepped out of the triple Axel to place fourth at 80.11 points. Defending Champion Florent Amodio (FRA) stumbled on the quad Salchow and is currently ranked fifth (78.48 points). Michal Brezina (CZE) rounds up the top six with 76.13 points.

Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov crowned new European Champions

Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov led a podium sweep for the Russian pairs and won their first European title in a convincing fashion. Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov claimed the silver and Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov took the bronze in their debut at the European Championships. There has not been a Russian sweep in pairs since 2005.

Volosozhar/Trankov's program to Black Swan was highlighted by a triple twist, a triple Salchow, triple toe-double toe, a throw triple loop and Salchow. The World silver medalists earned a level four for two lifts and the pair combination spin. The couple from Moscow collected 137.65 points and totaled 210.45 points to win the title in what was their first European Championship as a team. Of course we are very excited to have won. It is our first European Championship together and to win the gold is amazing, Trankov said.

Skating to Doctor Zhivago, Bazarova/Larionov put out a solid performance that featured a triple toe, high triple twist, throw triple flip and loop, but Bazarova stumbled on the double Axel sequence. The defending bronze medalists scored 126.90 points and accumulated 193.79 points overall. We are extremely happy. We gave everything we had. It was a little hard to skate last as we had to wait so long and it is already late in the evening. We had practice in the morning and waited all day. We are glad that it's over now, Bazarova commented.

Stolbova/Klimov produced a double twist, difficult lifts and rock-solid throw triple flip and throw triple Salchow in their program to Polovetsian Dances to score 113.15 points, a new seasons best. Their total score added up to 171.81 points. It is great for us to have won the bronze in our debut at Europeans. Hopefully it will be a good experience for us to build on, Klimov told the press.

Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) came fourth with a solid routine to Adagio by Albinoni (158.99 points) and Mari Vartmann/Aaron van Cleave (GER) moved up from seventh to fifth with a strong skate to The Holiday by Hans Zimmer (154.99 points).

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2012 continue Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.