Road To The Olympic Games

Figure Skating

Savchenko & Szolkowy surge to Skate America pairs crown

Three-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won the pairs title at Skate America on Sunday thanks to a solid free program that moved them from fifth to first.

Moore-Towers & Moscovitch finish 3rd overall

Aliona Savchenko, right, and Robin Szolkowy show off their flexibility during the free program Sunday at Skate America. The Germans moved up from fifth to first to take the title. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)

Three-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy rallied to win the pairs title at Skate America on Sunday with a solid free program. 

The Germans were fifth Saturday after the short program in which Savchenko fell on their opening throw triple axel and they bobbled at other times in the opening event of the Grand Prix season. 

"I hope you missed us yesterday," Szolkowy said, jokingly. 

They easily won the long program and finished with 183.98 points to claim their second straight Skate America title and third overall. 

"We tried to skate just like in practice," Szolkowy said. "We showed yesterday was the result of trying new things." 

Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao of China, who led after the short, settled for silver at 178.66, the same color medal they won at the 2006 Turin Olympics. 

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Canada, second last year, earned the bronze at 177.43. 

Landed side-by-side triples

"It went extremely well," said Moore-Towers, 19. "There were some hiccups here and there but we have a lot of room to grow with this program. That's really our goal this season is to improve with every skate and hopefully that will lead us to another great season." 

The pair landed side-by-side triple toes and triple Salchows and they earned the highest technical elements score for their long program skated to music from Henry V

"I like the way we handled the competition," said Moscovitch, 27. "It was our first big meet of the year and we had a new program as well. Our jumps and lifts were solid and we just need to be more concentrated on our spins and death spiral."

Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin finished fourth in their first competition together, just 2.03 points out of a medal. 

Like most of the skaters, Savchenko and Szolkowy unveiled their new programs for the season at the event. Their free skate was to music from a documentary about Pina, a well-known German choreographer. 

"The difference [Sunday] was that we tried something new yesterday for the first time in competition," Szolkowy said.

Savchenko added, "We want to try new things. We want to take another step. You're never too old to learn something new."

The Chinese, who are not related, returned to competition for the first time after missing all of last season because of hand, shoulder and knee injuries to Dan. 

"We were pretty pleased because we've been training for only a short time," he said through a translator. "It's only the third run-through of the program. My endurance is still lacking."

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