Winter Games Athletes
Volosozhar and partner Maxim Trankov are the world record holders for the combined total, short program and free skate scores, and by all accounts should be the gold medal favorites in their home country. They’ve entered 20 international competitions since joining forces in May 2010, winning gold in 16 and silver in the other four. Two of those silver-medal performances came when they finished behind Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy at the 2011 and ’12 world championships, but they finally knocked off that duo at the 2013 worlds. They’ve been even better at the European championships, winning gold in each of their three trips, but their latest performance wasn’t a great lead-in to Sochi. Though Volosozhar and Trankov defended their title by a comfortable margin thanks to a dominant short program, their free skate was an error-filled performance that included falls from each and numerous under-rotated jumps. Trankov, who fell twice, took all of the blame for the mistakes, while Volosozhar apologized and said she hoped they could skate in Sochi like they did at the beginning of the season. There’s little reason to believe they’ll have trouble bouncing back, but Volosozhar and Trankov now have a little bit of reason for self-doubt - and a whole lot of pressure to perform well on home ice.