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Trankov and Volosozhar withstand early mistake

Russians lead Canadians despite fluky fall

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are in front after the short program in Paris.
Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are in front after the short program in Paris. (Getty Images)

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By Jean-Christophe Berlot, special to icenetwork.com
(11/18/2011) - Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov announced to icenetwork.com right after their striking victory at Skate Canada: "Each performance must be better than the previous one, as the season goes."

They did not quite achieve that ambition Friday in the pairs short program, but they managed to win the short program at 2011 Trophée Eric Bompard by more than 2.6 points over Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada. Vera Barazova and Yuri Larionov, also from Russia, sit in third heading into Saturday's free program. Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig came in fourth, only 1.37 points off the podium.

Volosozhar and Trankov's program was dramatic and intricate. The emotion was palpable in the Bercy arena throughout their program, which they skated to Evanescence's "Bring Me Back to Life."

In fact, this is exactly what happened during their program. Their opening triple twist was impressive. After landing, however, Volosozhar's hand got trapped in her shirt, and she fell. Trankov did grab her by the arm quickly and brought her back to her feet.

The rest of their program was more or less perfect.

"These competitions are just too boring," Trankov offered afterward, jokingly. "Seriously, some things happen. We were in shock because of what happened."

Their lift and spin were praised by the judging panel, which awarded Level 4 for each. They scored 63.69 points overall.

Volosozhar and Trankov dramatically improved their expression, an area neither had particularly worked on before.

"We are not so disappointed, but now we are not so far ahead, and we have to fight tomorrow!" Trankov said.

Duhamel and Radford offered a beautiful program. Not only did they skate it clean, with Level 4s for their death spiral, spin, step sequence and lift, but they also offered one of the most interesting and meaningful programs of the afternoon.

"We were extremely nervous before taking the ice," Duhamel said. "We really want to qualify for the Grand Prix Final this year, as it is held only two hours away from where we live."

Bazarova and Larionov, the second Russian pair, skated to an arrangement of Puccini's Tosca.

"Our performance was quite good, and we tried to express the music," Larionov said. "We are trying hard to work on that aspect now."

Skating their short program to George Gershwin's "The Man I Love," Evora and Ladwig opened with a strong triple twist. Evora fell on their side-by-side triple toes, but their program was otherwise flawless. Their throw triple loop was huge and added a lot to their classy posture on the ice.

"We had a great crowd and had a great performance tonight, so we're happy," Ladwig said." Also, we have worked a lot on the connection between us to tell the story, and I think that showed tonight."