Germany's golden duo set new benchmark in figure skating pairs
Germans Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot set a pairs free programme world record of 159.31 points after a stunning routine at PyeongChang 2018 on 15 February to win the pairs figure skating gold.
The pair collapsed and cried on the ice after a performance that saw them beat the previous record that they had also set at the Grand Prix Final last year by more than two points.
In a free skating competition which saw an outstanding overall standard at the Gangneung Ice Arena, Chinese pair Wenjing Sui and Cong Han took silver. Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze.
Tears and hugs
Savchenko broke into tears, punched the air, and broke down again as the winning pair received hugs from their fellow medallists. She won two Olympic bronze medals at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, but has finally won gold at the age of 34. Massot is skating in his first Olympic Winter Games at the age of 29.
Savchenko and Massot came from behind to win with a brilliant and haunting performance. They were in fourth place after the short programme on 14 February when Massot doubled a triple jump. But when it mattered, the duo produced a flawless free skate.
Xiaoyu Yu (CHN), a gold medallist at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Innsbruck 2012, finished a creditable eighth with her partner Hao Zhang (CHN).
For Savchenko, the gold medal she has awaited for so long had a feeling of destiny. “I was positive after yesterday,” she said.
“I said to Bruno: ‘We will write history today.’ And then everything happened as I had imagined, and it came true.
It is my moment. We celebrated new year together and we said, ‘2018 will be our year,’ and it became our year.Aljona Savchenko Germany
Massot had a sense of responsibility given Savchenko’s past Olympic record. “Today when I woke up, I felt good,” he said. “The practice was good and when we went out we felt like, ‘Now it's your time to fight.’
“I got the gold medal in my head. Yesterday I said I don’t want [Savchenko] to come back with another bronze medal. She deserved this gold medal.
“It was hard for me yesterday, but Aljona was there for me. She said: ‘It is not finished. We still have the free programme to come.’ It is amazing to come from fourth to first, it is incredible.”