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Chinese Figure Skaters Win Pairs Silver
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Russia's Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov won the figure skating pairs gold medal with a flawless performance that scored 204.48 points at the Winter Olympics in Turin on Monday.

China's Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao overcame a fall by Zhang Dan to win the silver medal. Their score of 189.73 points was 2.82 more than former world champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, who finished third.

Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao were the last to compete after a perfect show by Russian Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin. However the 21-year-olds were forced to take a five-minute pause after Zhang Hao crashed heavily in the splits position after a failed quadruple salchow jump.

After five minutes spent skating around the rink with her partner, testing her knee and consulting her coach, the 21-year-old returned to the contest to thrill the crowd and complete a courageous, if not technically perfect, routine.

World champion Zhao Hongbo overcame his Achilles tendon injury to take the pairs bronze medal with partner Shen Xue.

"We did our best," said the 32-year-old Zhao after the competition. They finished fifth after the short program last Sunday morning. On Tuesday morning, they executed a double and triple toeloop during their routine, performed to Madame Butterfly, followed by a graceful triple twist and throw triple loop.

Another Chinese pair Pang Qing and Tong Jian were placed fourth with 186.67 points.

(Xinhua News Agency and CRI February 14, 2006)

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