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Figure skating - Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres win historic gold in Minsk

James and Cipres win historic gold in Minsk
By Sportsbeat

24/01/2019 at 23:06Updated 24/01/2019 at 23:40

Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres made history as they became the first French European pairs skating champions since 1932 after a stunning display in Minsk.

The duo rounded struck gold in Belarus as they built on their overnight lead of nearly three points over defending champions, Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morosov.

James and Cipres amassed 225.66 in total as they claimed the title, with Tarasova and Morosov having to settle for silver and fellow Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii bagging bronze.

And the victory left the France skaters truly overwhelmed, as well as hungry for more success in the years to come.

"It is a dream come true. We've dreamt of that forever. I am so happy and proud, I can't even find words to express how much," James said.

Video - WATCH - The run that made Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres European Champions

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Cipres added: "We sacrificed so much and did so many efforts. It was a dream when we were children to be here one day.

"It's a moment of joy that I really want to share with the whole team, the federation, my family and my friends. We finally made history and we're so proud.

"We'll keep going to hopefully win more titles," Cipres said. Meanwhile, Mikhail Kolyada leads the charge after a dazzling short programme display sent him top of the men's standings at the halfway stage.

The 23-year-old Russian leapfrogged compatriot Alexander Samarin into first place with an overall score of 46.44 to take a 4.42-point lead over his younger teammate.

Video - Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii take third in Minsk

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Despite the positive start to the competition, the two-time European bronze medallist believes he still has to improve if he is to secure a first European title.

"It was a good performance, not without small mistakes, but I'm pleased with what I put out. It is definitely easier to skate when you're healthy," he said.

Reigning six-time European champion Javier Fernández is down in third place as he aims to match Russian Evgeni Plushenko's seven European titles.

Austria's Karl Schäfer leads the all-time men's singles record with eight successive titles secured between 1929 and 1936.

Meanwhile, Italy's Daniel Grassl sits in ninth-spot on his first European Championships appearance.

The 16-year-old made history by becoming the first European to land a quad loop in competition.

He said: "The triple loop was my first triple. My coach said why not try it with the quads and I tried."

Sportsbeat 2019

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