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Olympics

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Notebook

Russians again rule ice rink in pairs event

– Maxim Trankov hopes young figure skaters all over Russia will take inspiration from what he and Tatiana Volosozhar accomplished at the Olympics.

The two restored the country to the pinnacle of pairs, and their teammates made it almost total domination. Volosozhar and Trankov won gold, while Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov took silver.

“I think tonight all of the country will celebrate this beautiful victory,” Trankov said.

Russia or the Soviet Union had won gold in 12 straight Olympics in pairs before the streak ended four years ago, when the Russians failed to take home any medal in the event. In the stands for both days of the competition in Sochi was the pair who started it all: Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov, the Olympic champions in 1964 and ’68.

Trankov and Volosozhar rose to the top of the sport at the perfect time, winning the 2013 world championship. A new generation of Russian figure skating hopefuls will now look up to the two pairs who stood atop the podium Wednesday.

Volosozhar and Trankov scored 152.69 points to finish with 236.86, 18.18 ahead of their teammates. Stolbova and Klimov had a near-flawless free skate to move up from third.

Four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany had to settle for bronze for the second straight Olympics.

Four years ago, the U.S. had its worst showing ever in pairs with a 10th- and 13th-place finish. The outcome in the standings was only slightly better this time: Marissa Castelli of Rhode Island and Simon Shnapir of Massachusetts took ninth, while Felicia Zhang of New Jersey and Nathan Bartholomay of Pennsylvania moved to 12th from 14th after the short program.

Around the rings

An eye infection kept Bob Costas off NBC’s prime-time Olympic broadcast for a second straight night. Costas said his eyes are so sensitive that they are tearing up even in dim light. Matt Lauer again replaced him. …

The U.S. Olympic Committee is currently weighing a possible run for the 2024 Summer Games. If that’s ruled out, the 2026 Winter Olympics would be an option. …

Russian ski jumper Mikhail Maksimochkin was carried off the hill by paramedics after falling during a landing while training for the individual large-hill event. His condition was not immediately known.

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