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Games gold eludes German figure-skating pair after crash landing

Germany's great hope for pairs figure-skating gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympics has been crushed, as Savchenko and Szolkowy finish third behind two teams from China.

Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy

Savchenko and Szolkowy were upstaged by the Chinese pairs

Germany's reigning two-time world figure-skating champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy have ended up with a consolation bronze medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The pair had been tipped to come away from the Games with gold but were upstaged by Chinese husband and wife pairing Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue. A team from China also picked up silver.

Savchenko and Szolkowy finished with a total score of 210.60, just under six points behind Zhao and Shen, who finished on a record 216.57.

All was going well for the Germans during their performance to "Out of Africa," until a crash landing by Szolkowy on a double axel - two mid-air spins - ended their chances of coming away with a gold medal.

The pair retired to the stands to sit by coach Ingo Steuer, who himself was the last German to win Winter Olympics bronze with his partner Mandy Woetzel at the 1998 Nagano Games.

Steuer was reflective after the event Monday evening. "You don't get the chance to win gold very often. They could have done it if they would have given a perfect performance."

Germany's second paring of Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende finished back in 17th place.

The next figure-skating medal event will be on Thursday, February 18, when Stefan Lindemann will be flying Germany's flag.

dfm/Reuters/dpa

Editor: Nancy Isenson

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