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Sochi 2014

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Team figure skating: Veteran and prodigy combine to deliver first gold for Russia

09/02/2014

National icon Yevgeny Plushenko and rising star Julia Lipnitskaia helped deliver hosts Russia their first gold of Sochi 2014, in the first ever Olympic team figure skating event.

It was a fourth Olympic medal for the 31-year-old Plushenko, but his achievement was almost overshadowed by Lipnitskaia, who, at less than half his age, produced a performance that left a packed Iceberg Skating Palace mesmerised.

In total, the hosts won five of the eight sections over three days of competition to rack up 75 points of a possible 80. Canada took silver with 65 with the USA finished as bronze medallists with 60.

Russia actually made sure of gold before the final round the ice dance free dance, in which Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov placed third behind Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Canadians Tessa virtue and Scott Moir.

By that stage Plushenko and Lipnitskaia had already put Russia out of reach.

“I'm 31 years and this means everything to me. It's so much history,” said 2006 Olympic men’s individual champion and two-time silver medallist Plushenko.

He joins Gillis Grafstroem as the only skater in Olympic history to win four figure skating medals. The Swede managed the feat between 1920 and 1932.

“To repeat the same results in modern times is different. But I don't want to put him higher than Grafstroem,” said Plushenko's coach Alexei Mishin.

The Russians scored 168.20 for the free skate, with Kevin Reynold achieving 167.92 and Japan's Tatsuki Machida 165.85.

To the music of the film "Schindler's List" 15-year old Lipnitskaia skated sublimely to score a personal best of 141.51 and seal the title ahead of America's Gracie Gold and Italy's Valentina Marchei.

“I was a little bit nervous after Yevgeny got first because I didn't want to let the team down,” admitted a modest Lipnitskaia.

Those nerves certainly didn’t show, as she delivered a gilt-edged routine that helped propel her and her team-mates to the top of the first ever team figure skating podium.

Sochi 2014 photos

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