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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Plushenko Caps Russian Dominance




ST. PETERSBURG -- After the Russian women and pairs came just short of posting a medal sweep the previous night, Yevgeny Plushenko and Alexander Abt added to the dominance of the home-side skaters at the Cup of Russia Grand Prix on Saturday.


World silver medalist Plushenko landed a clean quad and seven triple jumps in the free program to take the victory in the men's event over his compatriot Abt.


The 1-2 finish added to Friday's performance in which Russian skaters came within one medal of sweeping the women's and pairs competition.


Abt, only 11 months removed from major knee-surgery, landed a quad of his own en route to edging China's Guo Zhengxin, who had been second coming into Saturday's final event.


"My goals are quite simple; I want to win everything. If there is something out there to win, then I want it," Plushenko said.


The 17-year-old Plushenko displayed an overwhelming confidence, attacking and landing each of his jumps with an impressive athleticism.


"I grew old very early in life, as I left my family to come and train in St. Petersburg when I was only 11 years old," Plushenko said. "I was alone in this city with only my coach, so I learned to take care of myself very early."


Italian skaters Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio, meanwhile, posted their second victory this year to move into first place in the Grand Prix standings.


Second in the dance were Canada's Shae-Lynne Bourne and Victor Kraatz, who voiced their usual displeasure with their results.


"I can't say that I really understand the result," Bourne said.


The Polish duo of Silwia Nowak and Sebastian Kolasinski finished third.


On Friday, Irina Slutskaya took the gold and was joined by compatriots Yulia Soldatova and Yelena Sokolova, in second and third place respectively, for a sweep in the women's competition.


Only China's Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo were able to break the Russian medal monopoly on the night by finishing second in the pairs competition behind Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov and ahead of Russians Tatyana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin in third.


Slutskaya, who less than a year ago was mulling retirement after being left off the Russian national team, skated a program that was unmatched among the day's competitors in the absence of world champion Maria Butyrskaya, who opted out of the competition.


The two-time junior world champion attributed her success to a monthlong layoff from the grind of skating that paid off with a 4.5 kilogram weight loss and a new marriage.


"I feel like a new person," Slutskaya said. "I've changed my approach to life and to competing, and the win here is largely as a result of those changes."