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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Untidy Start at Skating Champs

WARSAW -- Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy steadied themselves after a rocky start to lead the pairs after the short program in the European figure skating championships Tuesday.

Savchenko stumbled on the Germans' opening throw triple flip of their jaunty program to "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," but the pair scored 65.38 points. Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov of Russia were second with 62.22, and Poland's husband-and-wife team, Dorota and Mariusz Siudek, were next at 57.81.

In ice dancing, Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France led after the compulsory dance.

On a day when none of the leading contenders in the pairs completed a clean skate, Savchenko and Szolkowy were happy to lead but disappointed with their performance.

"We made a little -- or a big mistake -- on our throw," Szolkowy said. "It was the first time that we did this mistake, or maybe once in practice a week or two ago, but we have definitely been having errors on other elements more often.

Petrova and Tikhonov also botched the landing on their throw triple loop.

"I'm upset about the mistake," Petrova said. "It was just a mistake, maybe I was too relaxed. It's too bad, because usually I do good throws."

Tikhonov added: "I'm not really happy with our performance. I don't care about my place, but I care about my skating, and of course, we want to show clean skating."

In ice dancing, Delobel and Schoenfelder led with 39.57 points after the compulsory Golden Waltz, ahead of Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia with 38.99. World champions Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria were third at 38.56.

"We had a great performance today," Schoenfelder said. "I think without a doubt it was the best Golden Waltz of our career."

"It's a pretty dance, very limber, very fluid," Delobel said. "It's very easy and doesn't wear you out. It's really a great pleasure."

Delobel and Schoenfelder finished fourth at last year's European Championships and Turin Olympics.

"The event is very open," Delobel said. "We'll see how it goes, but everything is possible."

Domnina and Shabalin are looking to continue Russia's dominance in ice dancing at the Euros. Russian or Soviet skaters have won gold at 17 of the past 21 championships.

"We're happy with the way we skated, but as always we still could do better," Domnina said. "There was not enough inner freedom, although we skated without mistakes."

Shabalin said he twisted his foot in morning practice, and was a bit hesitant on the ice.