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Russians sweep pairs podium at Ondrej Nepela

Shibutani siblings take slim lead in top-heavy dance field in Bratislava
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Gold medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov led a dominating showing by Russian pairs at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy. -Getty Images

Russia swept the pairs podium and Team USA's Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani took the lead in ice dance on the second day of competition at the 2015 Ondrej Nepela Trophy.


Despite finishing second in both the short program and free skate, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov topped the pairs podium with 190.28 total points. The Olympic silver medalists' 124.18-point free featured a throw triple salchow and side-by-side triple salchows. Their only mistake came when she fell on their planned triple toe combination.

Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov entered the short nearly six points back of second place but rallied to take silver with a first-place free skate. Behind an opening triple toe-double toe combination and back-to-back throw triples (lutz, loop), the duo came away with 124.50 points in the free to finish with an overall score of 185.00.

Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir rounded out the Russian sweep of the podium, settling for bronze after failing to hold onto their lead following the short program. The European bronze medalists had problems on a couple of jumping passes early in their program as well as on a lift toward the end of the routine.

Team USA's Gretchen Donlan and Nathan Bartholomay finished sixth with a total score of 145.44.

Ice dance

The Shibutani siblings took a slim lead in a top-heavy dance field, earning 63.24 points for their Coppelia short dance. The U.S. silver medalists earned Level 4's on their twizzles and lift, and performed an excellent step sequence.

Great Britain's Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland are close behind with 62.70 points. Their Ravensburger Waltz patterns were the highest scoring of the segment, and their twizzles and lift were each rated Level 4.

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are less than a point off the lead with a score of 62.56. The Canadian silver medalists turned in the highest-scoring twizzles on the day.