Irini Rodnina of the Soviet Union and her husband Alexander Zaitsev won the gold medal for the pairs event at the European Figure Skating championships in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday (1 February).
GV AND SV: Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev of the Soviet Union performing in Pairs competition of European Championships.
GV: scoreboard showing almost perfect score.
Manuela Mager and Uwe Bewersdorf of East Germany were third in the pairs competition.
SPORT: ICE SKATING
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Background: Irini Rodnina of the Soviet Union and her husband Alexander Zaitsev won the gold medal for the pairs event at the European Figure Skating championships in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday (1 February). It was the tenth European championship in a row for Irina Rodnina, and the sixth with her husband.
SYNOPSIS: Miss Rodnina is in her tenth year as an international skater. In that time she has also won nine world championships and two Olympic Gold Medals. Before beginning her brilliant partnership with Alexander Zaitsev, she scored numerous successes with Alexei Ulanov. In this year's European championships, the flawless and graceful display from Rodnina and Zaitsev won them the honours over another Soviet pair, Marina Tcherkasova and Sergei Shakrai. The delighted audience had sensed from the start that the extraordinary Rodnina was on her way to yet another crown.
Even among Russian athletes, who are renowned for their fierce dedication and capacity for endless practice, Irina Rodnina has always shown the extra touch of steeliness that separates the champion from those who are merely exceptional. She strives for perfection at every performance and can be transformed from gliding swan to tigress if she feels she and her partner have fallen below the level she seeks. She has been known to rebuke her husband openly for tiny errors that have flawed their inventive routines. But there were no errors, or display of temper on this night. The astonishing pair showed that, once again, they have cornered the market in gold.