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Germans win Skate America pairs gold medal

October 23, 2011 |  3:30 pm

Ice-pairs_600

Robin Szolkowy and Aliona Savchenko, the defending world champions, won the pairs competition Sunday at Skate America at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, coming from fifth place after the short program with a free skate that beat the field.

Szolkowy and Savchenko, of Germany, finished with 183.98 points. Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao of China were second with 178.66 points and Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch were third. The top Americans, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, were fourth and brought the crowd to its feet with their program, skated to the classical Puccini music "Nessun Dorma." The performance was without major mistakes but it was also cautious and didn't contain as many difficult elements as those done by the medal winners.

Szolkowy made reference to the error-marred short program he and Savchenko had done by saying, "I hope you missed us yesterday. Today's performance, though, was quite OK."

Zhang and Zhang were also happy. After missing much of last year because Zhang Hao was injured, the two had practiced their Sunday free skate only four times. "I was pretty pleased with it," Zhang Hao said. "We're still lacking condition and endurance, but that is still something we can work on. I don't think this is a major problem."

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Robin Szokowy and Aliona Savchenko perform their routine during the free skate portion of Skate America on Sunday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

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