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Volosozhar, Trankov win gold in pairs at European champs

Olympic champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov returned in style after skipping last season, taking gold in the pairs competition Saturday at the European figure skating championships in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Olympic champions come back strong after skipping last season

Gold medallists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, centre, of Russia, silver medallists Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, left, of Germany, and bronze medallists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, right, of Russia pose for a photo after their Pairs' Free Program at the European figure skating championships in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Petr David Josek/The Associated Press)

Olympic champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov returned in style after skipping last season, taking gold comfortably in the pairs at the European figure skating championships on Saturday in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Leading after the short program, the Russians performed the best free skate to music from "Bram Stoker's Dracula." Despite notable high jumps, including throw triple flip and loop, they had a problem in synchronizing a triple toe loop, and still won their fourth European title by more than 20 points.

"Our skating was not the best, but not bad," Trankov said. "The most important, we won."

Their total of 222.66 points outclassed the second-place Germans Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who scored 200.78. Massot is a new partner for Savchenko, a five-time world champion.

"It's our first medal together and I'm very happy," Savchenko said.

Another Russian pair, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, repeated their bronze of last year with 197.55.

Defending champions Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia were forced to withdraw because Kavaguti was injured.

Defending champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron rebounded from second place after the short dance to retain their ice dance title.

Skating to "Rain In Your Black Eyes" by Ezio Bosso and "Build a Home" by Cinematic Orchestra, the French duo performed the best free dance to triumph by more than four points.

They scored 182.71 points, beating the 178.01 of 2014 European and world champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte. The Italians led by more than 1.5 points after the short dance, but had only the third best free dance to music from "La Doce Vita."

The 2013 champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia took bronze with 176.50 after the second best free dance.

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