Europe

SOCHI SCENE: For Russia

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — As happy as Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov were for themselves after winning the gold medal, they were even more thrilled for their nation.

The Sochi Olympics pair champions believe their victory will have a widespread impact on figure skating in Russia. "We think now that every pairs skater must believe in themselves, and that they have big power in the world," Trankov said Thursday during an appearance for Samsung and Visa where they were feted for their performance the previous night. "They are in the elite category in figure skating.

"We are very happy to give back the gold medal to Russia." Russia or the Soviet Union had won every Olympic pairs title back to 1964 — except in Vancouver four years ago, where there were no pairs medals at all.

That made Volosozhar and Trankov's pursuit as pressure-packed as any at these games. They responded magnificently, and hope they started a new streak. "After 50 years, back to Belousova and Protopopov, and to have them in the arena last night," Trankov said of the couple that started the string of domination, "we are so happy we gave them and Russia this medal."

— By Barry Wilner — Twitter http://twitter.com/wilner88

Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

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