Rampant Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov reckon they're building major Olympic momentum after defending their ISU European Figure Skating Championship title in Tallinn.
Ice dance aces Sinitsina, 26, and Katsalapov, 30, cemented their status as the European pair to beat after claiming the title ahead of teammates Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin.
The reigning world champions racked up a score of 130.07 in the free dance as Italians Charlene Guignard Marco Fabbri grabbed the final spot on the podium ahead of fifth-place British pair Lewis Gibson and Lilah Fear.
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Beijing 2022 kicks off in exactly 20 days' time and Katsalapov, who toppled Stepanova and Bukin by 4.76 points overall, said: "We never gave up - so I can tell this competition before the Olympics is a huge motivation for us.
"It was very important. Things don't go easily but that's what makes the journey so interesting."
Sinitsina added: "We are so happy with how today went. The atmosphere on the rink was amazing, the support of the crowd was great.
"These European Championships will be in our hearts for a very long time and this medal means a lot."
Sinitsina and Katsalapov showcased stunning footwork in the Saturday showpiece to wow the judges and consolidate their European hegemony.
Guignard and Fabbri narrowly missed out on the silver medal by just under six points overall while elsewhere, Beijing-bound Gibson and Fear finished fifth with a free dance score of 116.04.
The Team GB stars delivered a rousing performance to The Lion King to outline their Olympic credentials and miss out on a podium spot by just 0.85 points.
In the evening's women's free programme, teenage sensation Kamila Valieva made it a Russian Saturday to savour as she was crowned European champion with a stunning display.
Valieva, just 15, led home an all-Russian podium as she beat compatriots Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova to lay down a significant Olympic marker ahead of next month.
The Russian superstar had broken the world record in Thursday's short programme and remains undefeated this season after a series of dazzling displays.
She continued that momentum in style on Saturday night as the Russians, so often a figure skating superpower on the European circuit, reigned supreme in Estonia.
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