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LONDON, England, August 7. RUSSIA claimed duet free Olympic gold as Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina put together a superior performance at the 2012 London Olympics.
Ishchenko and Romashina won the gold medal with a score of 98.900 and an overwhelming overall 197.100. The duo performed with a style different from their usual, with a more dramatic interpretation and sharper figures. The Russian routine reflected the production Petrouchka choreographed by Mikhail Fokine, also featuring dolls coming to life and performing similar leg and feet movements and shapes. The double flip in the routine's opening was a show of their explosive power.
Andrea Fuentes Fache and Ona Carbonell Ballestero swam to a Tango tune, engaging in many mirrored movements and connected elements at a fast pace. They finished with 96.900 (overall 192.900), replicating the silver medal they won in Beijing 2008. In the technical and free preliminaries, they were third and the result came as a surprise to the swimmers themselves as they struggled to believe it and double checked with their coach before celebrating on the deck.
China's Huang Xuechen and Liu Ou, after undergoing long and exhausting training sessions with coach Masayo Imura of Japan, improved their skills dramatically in the past four years. They moved from a fourth place in Beijing to a bronze medal at London 2012 with 96.770 and overall 192.870, only 0.030 behind Spain.
Canada's Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon and Elise Marcotte scored Canada's highest mark at an international meet since 1992, with 94.620 and overall 189.120. They finished fourth, an improvement from the sixth place at Beijing 2008. Canada, a former powerhouse, is edging closer to the podium after 10 years of lingering low in the sport ranking since the Vilagos twins, Penny and Vicky, won silver at Barcelona 1992.
Japan's Yukiko Inui and Chisa Kobayashi's low score of 93.540 (overall 186.740), cost Japan a place on the podium for the first time since synchronized swimming was introduced in the Olympics in 1984. The Ukranian duo Daria Iushko and Kseniya Sydorenko finished fifth with 92.670 and overall 184.870, but they showed solid sculls and powerful legwork, making them swimmers to watch in future competitions.
Great Britain's Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici were the audience favorites, and were buoyed by the support of the crowd despite a score of 89.170 and overall 177.270, placing them ninth.
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