Chinese married couple broke own Olympic world record

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** VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo are sure to remember this Valentine's Day.

** The Chinese married couple broke their own world record with a mesmerizing performance to open pairs competition at the Winter Olympics on Sunday, and it took until the very last pair – about three hours later – for anyone to come close to topping it. With a score of 76.66, the pair lead two-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany by just .70 points.

** That's nothing going into Monday night's free skate, a margin that can be made up with one flourish of a hand.

"It was a gift for Valentine's Day, and today was just the short program," Zhao said. "Hopefully, tomorrow will be as good as today."

** Russia's Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov are in third, giving them a chance to continue what has to be one of the longest winning streaks in sports. A Russian or Soviet pair has won the gold medal at every Olympics dating back to 1964.

** Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, surprise silver medalists at last month's U.S. championships, are 10th after the performance of their career at their first major international event. U.S. champions Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett were 14th.

** Shen and Zhao retired after winning their third world title in 2007. But the couple, winners of the bronze medal at the last two Winter Games, couldn't resist one last run at that all-elusive Olympic gold. They have dominated everywhere they've skated this season, and they set the tone with a program from the heart, not just the feet.

At 31 and 36, Shen and Zhao are senior citizens when it comes to pairs skaters, but they still showed the kids how it ought to be done.

"They're the best pressure skaters I've ever seen," Ladwig said.

Source: huffingtonpost
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