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Four years ago, the streak ended: Russia or the Soviet Union had won gold in pairs in 12 straight Olympics dating to 1964.He and Volosozhar handed off to another Russian pair for Saturday's free skate. : Savchenko and Szolkowy arrived at the Vancouver Games as the two-time reigning world champs, but they had to settle for bronze after he fell on their side-by-side double axels in the free skate. WORLD TRAVELS: Savchenko and Volosozhar have followed similar paths to this moment.Their biggest rivals, four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, skipped the team event altogether and didn't arrive in Sochi until Saturday. Both are from Ukraine and have competed for the country at the Olympics with partner Stanislav Morozov - Savchenko in 2002 and Volosozhar in '06 and '10. Both found major success after teaming up with their current partners and switching citizenship.Along with Evgeni Plushenko, they propelled the Russians to a sizzling start, and the momentum never let up, with Russia clinching the gold in front of Putin on Sunday.
Here are five things to know about the pairs competition, which wraps up Wednesday with the free skate: PRACTICE RUN: Trankov insisted the team competition wasn't preparation for the pairs event, but a different strategy. They can take inspiration from 2010 gold medalists Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo of China, who were even older when they won in Vancouver after two bronzes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre back, poses for a photograph with the Russian team after they placed first in the team figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. The figure skating competition at the Sochi Olympics opened as a celebration of the host country's excellence in the sport.