Volosozhar, Trankov win short program at European champs

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) Evgenia Medvedeva won gold on her debut at the European figure skating championships on Friday, leading a Russian sweep of the podium in the women's competition.

Leading after the short program, the 16-year-old performed almost perfect free skate, with a fall on a double axel being the only notable flaw.

Skating to Dance For Me Wallis from ''W.E.'' soundtrack and Allegro by Rene Aubry, Medvedeva stormed the ice ring with a triple flip - triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple lutz and added a brilliant triple salchow - triple toeloop combination toward the end that gave her a victory over Elena Radionova by more than five points.

''It's so happy day for me,'' Medvedeva said. ''When I fell on a double axel I was so sad. When I sat in the kiss and cry I was so happy. I cried because I was so happy today.''

Medvedeva earned a total of 215.45 while Radionova who took silver also at last year's championships in Stockholm got 209.99.

Radionova skated with a technical precision to the music from ''Titanic,'' just landed a triple lutz with uncertainty.

The Russians dominated even though defending champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva didn't make the team and took all three European women's medals for the second straight year.

Anna Pogorilaya was third as she was last year after she fell twice with 187.05, more than 10 points ahead of Angelina Kuchvalska of Latvia in fourth.

Earlier Friday, Olympic champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov returned in style after skipping last season, taking the lead in the pairs competition Friday after the short program at the European figure skating championships.

Skating to Nagada Sang Dhol, music from a Bollywood movie, the Russians earned 79.77 points. They have a lead of more than four points over German pair Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who finished second with 75.54 points.

Massot is a new partner for Savchenko, a five-time world champion.

Another Russian pair, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, was third with 70.17 points.

Defending champions Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia were forced to withdraw because of Kavaguti's injury.

The free skate is scheduled for Saturday.

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