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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Take Lead

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Despite a spectacular fall on the throw triple loop, Russian champions Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze won the short program at the European Figure Skating championships Monday.

The pair skated their opening elements with unrivaled speed and power. Then a program to Russian folk music that began with such promise abruptly crashed when Berezhnaya caught a pick landing the throw loop and fell flat on her chest, sliding momentarily along the ice.

Still, the judges rewarded their performance with mostly 5.7s in the presentation marks, with one 5.9. They finished with a split 5-4 decision ahead of French skaters Sarah Abitbol and Stephane Bernadis, who made no mistakes in a martial-arts-styled program. Their artistic marks centered in the 5.5 range.

Russians Tatyana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin finished third, pushing the defending title holders and teammates Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov to fourth.