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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

All-Russian Sweep Of Skating Medals

COPENHAGEN -- Yekaterina Gordeyeva and Sergei Grinkov of Russia put four years in the competitive wilderness behind them and captured the pairs titles at the European figure skating championships.


The winners of the 1988 Olympic and four world titles, who turned professional after the 1990 season, collected their third European gold medal Wednesday with a masterful display that earned them four perfect scores of 6.0 for artistry.


They led a Russian sweep of the medals with Yevgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov keeping the second place they held going into the free skating final.


But 1992 Olympic champions Natalia Mishkutienok and Artur Dmitriev sounded a warning to their compatriots that they will be a force to be reckoned with at the Winter Olympics in Norway next month. Coming off a disappointing technical program on Tuesday which left them in fifth place, they climbed two positions to third with a superb demonstration of their supreme artistic abilities.


The Olympic battle in Norway, with world champions Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler of Canada joining in, is already building into a classic.


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Also Wednesday, reigning Olympic champion Viktor Petrenko produced a technical program of sheer class to take the lead in the men's competition. The Ukrainian, 24, a professional since his Olympic and world triumphs of 1992, was in a league of his own technically and artistically, and proved just why he was the favorite in the event.


He gleaned two maximum scores of 6.0 for artistry and a glut of 5.9s from the nine judges. Then true to his reclusive approach, he refused to appear for the draw for the free skating and he and his coach Galina Zmievskaya declined to discuss his skating.


Petrenko's 2 1/2-minute routine contained a triple axel-triple toe loop jump combination, a triple lutz and a double axel, all perfectly executed.


He needed to be good as there were also superb performances from Frenchman Eric Millot and Petrenko's teammate Vyacheslav Zagorodniuk who were second and third respectively.


The technical program was worth one-third of the total marks. The rest will be awarded in Thursday night's free skating final.