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34 Years Of Domination: <br>Russians Win Pairs Again

With all the passion and power he could muster, Artur Dmitriev carried new partner Oksana Kazakova to Olympic gold.

Russians finished 1-2 as Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze took the silver, followed by Germans Mandy Woetzel and Ingo Steuer. Americans Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen were fourth.

Dmitriev became the first man to win Olympics with different partners. He took gold in 1992 and silver in 1994 with Natalia Mishkutienok, whom he dumped a year later in favor of Kazakova.

Their victory extended the Russian domination of pairs. A Soviet or Russian couple has won every gold medal since 1964.

The United States, meanwhile, failed to medal for the third straight games. Ina and Dungjen, two-time American champions, remained where they were after the short program, when their coach, Peter Burrows, claimed they were undermarked.

But they didn't skate nearly as well as the three medal-winners in the free skate, worth two-thirds of the total score.

Dmitriev, perhaps the most majestic of all skaters, and Kazakova even received a perfect 6.0 for artistry from the Czech judge. Their precision was evident from the beginning of their 4 1/2 minute routine, when they nailed side-by-side triple toe loops and followed quickly with double axels.

Skating to "Passacaglia," their passion was clear throughout, particularly on their intricate combination spins, capped by the "Natasha spin" made famous by Miskhkutienok.

When they finished a near-perfect program - she cut a double axel to one revolution in their only error - he chivalrously kissed her hand and they hugged tightly.

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