A Russian sports pair, Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, have won the first medal of the top quality for a Russian national team at world figure-skating championships being held in Dortmund.
The figure-skaters started their free programme as competition leaders - the pair took first place in the short programme. The Russians also managed to skate their free programme without blemish. Judges assessed the athletes' performance highly, awarding them between 5.6 and 6 points.
The second Russian pair, Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov, were placed in the tournament table, following their short programme, after the leaders. However, the two times silver medallists of European and world championships of 2000 made a series of errors in their free programme and dropped to fourth place.
This year the Russians have been able to leave their main rivals - Chinese figure-skaters - without gold awards. But they, in their turn, succeeded in overtaking the Russians in the free programme. The duet of Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, who ranked only fourth in the short programme, was able to rally, and their skating of the free programme was judged higher than the performance by Totmianina and Marinin. But even this success on the final day of the competitions of sports pairs did not allow the Chinese figure-skaters to rise above second place in the final tournament table.
Bronze medals of the world championships also went to representatives of China - Pang Qing and Tong Jian.
Russia's Julia Obertas and Sergei Slavnov ranked seven in the world championship.
Since the likes of the traditional Inauguration Day in the national Capitol are likely never to be witnessed again, take this opportunity from one who has been there to relate some truth about the experience