Slutskaya holds early lead; Totmianina, Marinin take pairs

Irina Slutskaya won the short program and was in a position to overtake Katarina Witt and Sonia Henie with her seventh title at the European Championships on Wednesday.

Also, fellow Russians Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin won the pairs for the fifth straight time.

&to=' target=_blank>Slutskaya skated early and her score of 66.04 points stayed on top for nearly five hours. Teammate Elena Sokolova was second at 60.88, followed by Switzerland's Sarah Meier at 60.87.

The long program is on Thursday.

Not many people saw Slutskaya start her bid to surpass Witt and Henie.

"You know I was so upset because there was no crowd over there," Slutskaya said. "I am used to so many people in competition."

She did not go all out, opting for an easier combination of a triple lutz-double toe loop. But her spins, spirals and landings were far superior to the other competitors in her routine to "Totenttanz" by Franz Liszt.

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