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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 February 2006, 21:49 GMT
Russian duo shine in pairs opener
Figure skaters Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marin
Marin and Totmianina glided gracefully around the ice
Figure skaters Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marin moved closer to an Olympic pairs title with a spectacular short programme on Saturday.

The two-time world champions began Russia's quest to sweep all four titles in Turin by outscoring nearest rivals Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao of China.

They scored 68.64 points, a lead of 3.92 before Monday's free skate.

Americans Rena Inoue and John Baldwin were the first pair to complete a throw triple Axel at the Olympics.

Baldwin punched the air in delight the moment Inoue landed the jump cleanly.

"It felt fantastic, it worked out exactly how I pictured it," said Inoue.

The US duo were in sixth place, with Russian couple Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov lying in third.

International Skating Union officials will have been relieved after a revamped judging system, introduced following the 2002 pairs judging scandal, survived its Olympic debut without any glitches.


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