Moscow / Russia

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Evgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov (RUS)

Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov bounced back from a disappointing Short Program to defend their European title and lead a Russian sweep as the Pairs event at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships concluded Thursday. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov moved up from third place to take the silver medals while Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert dropped one spot to earn the bronze, their first ISU Championship medal. Russia swept the Pairs podium at the ISU European Championships for the 15th time.

Following a subpar performance in the Short Program, Tarasova/Morozov rallied back in their upbeat Boogie Woogie themed Free Skating. The Russian Champions opened with a quadruple twist and followed up with a side by side triple Salchow, throw triple Salchow and triple toe-double toe-double toe combination. The World bronze medalists picked up a level four for their lifts, death spiral and spins to achieve a season’s best of 151.23 points. Overall they racked up 221.60 points to defend their title. “After the short program we were only in fifth place, because of my big mistake. So I was really mad at myself and today I pulled myself together to skate much better,” Tarasova explained. “For us, it was definitely harder to win the second time. Last year, we skated well in the short and in the free, but this time we did not do well in the short,” she added.

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Ksenia Stolbova / Fedor Klimov (RUS)

Stolbova/Klimov’s “Carmen” routine featured a triple twist, throw triple flip and throw triple Salchow right at the end as well as six level-four elements. However, she fell on an underrotated triple Salchow while he doubled the second jump in their planned triple toe-triple toe combination. The 2014 Olympic and World silver medalists scored 138.96 points and totaled 211.01 points to take their third silver medal at the European Championships. “I was almost in tears at the end. It was emotional. The Salchow was my mistake. Fedor had his mistake too. But it was ok,” Stolbova shared.

Skating to Jazz music and “Sleeping Beauty”, Zabiiako/Enbert produced a level-four twist, throw triple Lutz and throw triple loop and difficult lifts, but she doubled the side by side Salchow. The National bronze medalists earned 137.23 points and claimed the bronze with 210.18 points. “Overall, we are happy. There were some little mistakes, but we will correct them and work on them. Even since Russian Nationals we are progressing. There was the mistake on the combination but we enjoyed the performance and we hope the audience did too. It is our home stage, so we were more nervous, but it is great to compete here,” Enbert noted.

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Natalia Zabiiako / Alexander Enbert (RUS)

Overnight leaders Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) were edged out of the podium by just 0.01 points and slipped to fourth on 210.17 points. She doubled a toeloop and two lifts were shaky, but she landed a quadruple throw Salchow. Valentina Marchei/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) delivered a solid performance to finish fifth (204.20 points) ahead of teammates Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (192.38 points).