Russians hang on for pairs gold; Castelli, Shnapir finish ninth

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir compete in the pairs free skate on Wednesday.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir compete in the pairs free skate on Wednesday.

SOCHI, Russia — 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 Wednesday, 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.


Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir of the Skating Club of Boston finished ninth.

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“We were able to push every time we skated here,” Castelli said. “I have to say it was the first time I felt nervous being on the Olympic ice. It’s our final event and we wanted to do well, but we’re also pretty tired.”

“We have been skating 10 days straight, so a couple of days off will be just what the doctor ordered,” Shnapir said.

The other US pair, Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay, finished in 12th place.

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.

Having also won with Russia in the new team event, Trankov and Volosozhar become the first figure skaters to take home two golds from one Olympics.

Pang Qing and Tong Jian, the 2010 silver medalists, were fourth. Tong said this was probably their final competition

Four years ago, the US 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. But it was a much more encouraging performance, with both pairs skating four solid programs despite little experience in major international competitions.

Castelli and Shnapir won a bronze medal in the team event. She landed upright on their throw quad salchow Wednesday, though she stepped out. That still earned them big points, and they set a personal best in international competition with 120.38.


‘‘We got four season’s bests out of four performances, four great programs,’’ Shnapir said. ‘‘I don’t think we can ask for anything more.’’