Savchenko, Szolkowy rout field in pairs short

Ukraine's Volosozhar and Morozov a distant second

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy proved again why they're the world's best pairs team.
Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy proved again why they're the world's best pairs team. (Getty Images)


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By J. Barry Mittan, special to
(09/24/2009) - Two-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, who are first in the world pairs rankings, won the short program at the Nebelhorn Trophy with a superb program to "Send in the Clowns."

"We always want to try different things," Szolkowy said of the music choice. "It's nice piano music and we can make a story about the clowns."

They scored 72.80 points by completing a throw triple flip, side-by-side triple toe loops, a triple Lutz twist and a Level 4 lift.

"It was good for the first competition," Szolkowy said. "There were some little mistakes like the lift was not completely clean. And we were a little slow in the second half of the program."

Ukraine's Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov, seventh in the world rankings, were second after the short with 59.46 points. They used "Dreams Illusion" as their short program music.

Morozov fell on the landing of their side-by-side triple Salchows, but the couple completed a Level 4 lift and a throw triple loop as well as a triple Lutz twist.

Canada's 2008 pairs champions, Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay, were third with 57.48 points. They skated to "Fascination".

"I was a lot more nervous at this competition than usual," Hay said, "but it felt really good out there. This program is something that we can be aggressive with. Our spins have been better in practice but overall it was great."

"We wanted to come out really strong at this competition," Langlois said. "Getting a good score was huge for us. I got distracted a bit with the mistakes but I still felt good."

The duo had side-by-side triple toe loops, a throw triple Lutz, a level 4 lift and a double flip twist.

"We're working the elements back in slowly," Hay said. "The triple twist isn't quite ready yet, but we'll put it in when we feel really comfortable with it."

"My ankle is even stronger than before," added Langlois, who missed much of last season due to injury.

Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski, the 2008 U.S. pairs champions, took fourth place with 51.70 points while skating to "Samba Pati."

The couple completed a nice triple Lutz twist and Level 4 lift, but Okolski doubled his jump in their planned the side-by-side triple Salchows while Castile fell on the throw triple flip.

Castile and Okolski missed most of the international competitions last season because Castile fractured her heel in practice before the first Grand Prix.

"We wanted to get some experience at the Nebelhorn because we hadn't been competing internationally," Okolski said. "We wanted to compete against some really good teams and get our legs under us for the rest of the season."

"We've put everything into one last year," Castile noted. "Ben and I work really hard to pay for all of our skating. We've had so many setbacks, but we haven't given up. It's our dream to go to the Olympics."

Anais Dorand and Antoine Dorsaz of Switzerland scored a personal best 51.32 to place fifth in the short while skating to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Their elements included side-by-side double Axels, a throw triple loop, a double Lutz twist and a level 4 lift.

"We were very happy to skate clean and get so many points," Morand said.

Germany's Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende placed sixth with 49.30 points, followed by Russians Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternik with 48.44 points.