When the last note of La Terre Vue Du Ciel faded away at Gangneung Ice Arena, on February 15, after Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot had jumped high and turned on the ice in breathtaking lifts, spins and spirals, the duo collapsed in happiness.
"It just happened," Sachvenko said about that unplanned moment at the end of the performance that would take them from fourth place after the Short Program to the top of the podium. "You realize that you skated a clean program how you imagined it before."
Later, after the last couple had skated and the German pair, waiting backstage, had it confirmed that victory was theirs, tears flowed as Savchenko’s long quest for an Olympic gold ended here at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
It took her five Olympic Games and three partners to get there – in 2002 she debuted with Stanislav Morozov, still skating for her native Ukraine. In 2006, 2010 and 2014 she competed with Robin Szolkowy, winning two Olympic bronze medals with him and now, finally, it was gold.
Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot at the Medals Plaza
Two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt, the last German figure skater to win Olympic gold, in 1988, was also very emotional. International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, who had watched the event live in the arena, was one of the first to congratulate Savchenko and Massot. "I had to comfort Aljona twice at Olympic Games, today I could finally congratulate her," he said. "There were lots of tears, but this time they were tears of joy."
It was Savchenko’s continuous determination that pushed her to give it one more try when she teamed up with Massot in spring 2014. "Today is my moment. I never give up. I said, 'Today we are going to write a story' and I just hoped that it would happen,” Savchenko said. “If I didn't believe in what I do, I would not do it. I believed in it from the beginning, when I proposed Bruno to skate with me (in 2014)."
Massot said: "After the short program I said I don't want her to come back with another bronze medal. She deserved this gold medal." He then lifted his partner on to the top step of the podium at the venue ceremony amid cheers of the audience.
Watch the full Pairs Free Skating in the video below: