Pyeongchang 2018

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Golden double for Savchenko and Massot

6Olympic pairs champions Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot won their first world title together in Milan.

The German duo broke their own existing mark set in PyeongChang for the highest ever score in the free skate set with an award of 162.86.

Their total of 245.84 also eclipsed their previous best from Korea.

And Savchenko, who won five world titles with former partner Robin Szolkowy, joins Norwegian great Sonja Henie on a record 11 World Championship medals.

Third time lucky

Savchenko and Massot won bronze at the Worlds in Boston in 2016 and silver last year in Helsinki.

But after winning Olympic gold, they were strongly fancied to complete a golden double.

The pair led the field after a personal best of 82.98 in the short program, six points better than at PyeongChang where they were fourth at the midway point.

A superb free skate secured them gold last month, and they went even better this time.

Massot was left open-mouthed when the score was announced.

They finished 20 points clear of PyeongChang silver medallists Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morosov.

French pair Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres took the bronze.

The dream partnership… eventually

The path for Savchenko and Massot to becoming a pairing was not exactly a simple one.

Brace yourself for a complicated explanation of how it came about!

Savchenko was world junior champion back in 2000 with fellow Ukrainian Stanislav Morozov.

But in 2003, she started skating with Robin Szolkowy and switched allegiance to Germany.

While the pair enjoyed great success, Olympic glory eluded them.

Szolkowy retired after they won their fifth world title in 2014, weeks after claiming Olympic bronze for the second time in Sochi.

Savchenko then linked up with Bruno Massot, but the German skating federation had to pay their French counterpart a release fee before he switched nationalities.

Massot had previously skated with Russian-born Daria Popova, finishing 15th at the 2014 World Championships.

That came after they had missed the Sochi Olympics as Popova’s French citizenship had not been approved in time.

And Massot endured a nervous wait ahead of PyeongChang.

Despite winning two world medals with Savchenko, he needed to pass the third phase of his German citizenship test in order to compete at the Olympics.

He failed it twice before eventually succeeding in November.

With the formalities complete, Savchenko became the first pairs skater to appear at five Olympic Games.

Their victory made her the oldest female figure skating gold medallist in Olympic history at 34.

Now they also have the world title with Massot saying, “It was exactly the season we wanted.”

 

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