Tarasova and Morozov clinch maiden major figure skating crown

AFP
Russian's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov celebrate after winning the senior pairs skating at the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating Final, on December 9, 2016 in Marseille, southern France (AFP Photo/ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT)

Russian's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov celebrate after winning the senior pairs skating at the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating Final, on December 9, 2016 in Marseille, southern France

Russian's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov celebrate after winning the senior pairs skating at the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating Final, on December 9, 2016 in Marseille, southern France (AFP Photo/ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT)

Marseille (AFP) - Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov won their first major title on Friday when they clinched the pairs crown at the Grand Prix figure skating final, sounding out a warning for the 2018 Olympics.

In their four-year partnership, their best previous performances had been bronze medals at the 2015 and 2016 European championships.

But on Friday, they triumphed with 213.85 points, winning the free programme ahead of Canadian favourites Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford.

Skating to Music by English rocker John Miles, they obtained 135.25 points in the free programme with the Canadians on 134.55.

"Obviously, you always have the goal to win, but we focused on skating clean," said Tarasova.

"We’ve had two weeks of good preparation and worked very hard and this is the result. This victory is a big step forward for us. The judges now look at us as potential winners and that is important."

World champions Duhamel and Radford, who finished third overall behind China's Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao, paid dearly for a fall on a triple axel.

In the women's individual event, Russia's world and European champion Evgenia Medvedeva started her Grand Prix final defence by taking the lead in the short programme.

The 17-year-old scored 79.21 points ahead of Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond on 75.54.

"Setting records is not important to me, I’m not chasing after them," said Medvedeva.

"I just want to show what my coaches have taught me and the work we do every day in practice. Today I’m happy with my performance, but there is still room to grow."

In ice dance, Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir marked their return after two years with a scintillating performance to a soundtrack of hip-hop, blues and Prince standards.

They beat the world record with 80.50 points to take the overall lead after the sort programme ahead of Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States and French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Virtue and Moir were the 2010 Olympic champions on home ice in Vancouver and silver medallists in 2014 in Sochi.

What to Read Next