Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won their second successive pairs title at the European Figure Skating Championships on Wednesday with a dominating performance.
In second were Russia's Marina Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov with 169.41 points. Third was another Russian pair, Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov, who did a difficult throw quad salchow, but had several errors and ended with a score of 167.25.
The Russians took two medals; they or the Soviet Union won 39 pairs championships between 1965 and 2006, but the power seems to have transferred to the Germans.
Maria Mukhortova competes in pairs with Maxim Trankov. The two are the 2008 European silver medalists and 2007 Russian National Champions. She previously competed with Egor Golovkin and Pavel Lebedev.
Maxim Trankov previously competed with Natalia Shestakova.
Yuko Kawaguchi is a Japanese pair skater, who has represented Japan, the USA, and Russia in international competition. She currently competes with Alexander Smirnov, representing Russia. They are the 2008 Russian Champions and European bronze medalists.
Kawaguchi previously competed as a singles skater for Japan, then switched to pairs and skated with Alexander Markuntsov. They teamed up in 1999, and were the first Japanese pair team to medal at an ISU championships, which they did at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in 2001.
Kawaguchi and Markuntsov broke up in 2003 and Kawaguchi then skated with Devin Patrick for the United States, with whom she competed twice at the United States Figure Skating Championships. She teamed up with Alexander Smirnov in the spring of 2006 and now competes with him, representing Russia. The pair are coached by Tamara Moskvina.
Alexander Smirnov previously competed with Alexandra Danilova and Ekaterina Vasileva. Vasileva & Smirnov placed sixth at the 2006 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.