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Russian duo retain synchronized swimming gold
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18:52, August 20, 2008


Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia won the gold medal in the synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Aquatic Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008.


Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia compete in the final of the duet free routine of the synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Aquatic Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia won the gold medal. (Xinhua Photo)


Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia compete in the final of the duet free routine of the synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Aquatic Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia won the gold medal. (Xinhua Photo)

Russian synchronized swimming pair Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova retained the Olympic duet title with a near-perfect performance at the Water Cube here on Wednesday.

The Russian pair scissor-kicked their way to a lively piece of Norwegian play music in the free routine final, scoring eight full 10 marks and two 9.9 points. They carried a top score of 49.334 points from Monday's technical routine to total 99.251 points.

Spanish veteran Gemma Mengual and Andrea Fuentes won the silver with 98.334 points, and Japanese duo Saho Harada and Emiko Suzuki took the bronze with 97.167 points. Chinese twins Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen finished fourth with 96.334 points.


Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia compete in the final of the duet free routine of the synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Aquatic Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia won the gold medal. (Xinhua Photo)

The two Anastasias, who paired up since 1998, have taken home gold at every international competitions since 2002. With a second Olympic gold medal, they reinforced their leading position in the sport.

"It was more difficult to stay on the top than getting to the top," Ermakova told reporters at a press conference, "in the past four years, we worked, worked and never let up for a moment, never slacked for a moment, and the gold medal is a crowning moment of all the hard work we have had."

Her partner Davydova also shared the arduous road to their second Olympics. "When you have the status as an Olympic champion, it sounded as if you have no more goals to strive for. But in our training, we never forgot our so called rivals and we had to give it all not only physically, but also mentally, so that we could prove ourselves again," Davydova said.


Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia compete in the final of the duet free routine of the synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Aquatic Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia won the gold medal. (Xinhua Photo)

The Olympians also came out to defend the worthiness of their beloved sport when others discount it as an effortless dancing performance rather than a competition.

"All my muscles were numb now," said Davydova, "and we trained very hard in a very sporty way."

"In Athens, we were asked to give blood samples in the doping tests. When I told the testers I was a synchronized swimmer. He asked why I had to take a dope test when I barely sweated," said Ermakova, recounting her experience.

"Those who don't understand the difficulty of our sport should put under water and do exactly what we do. It's one of the hardest sports," she said.

The two Anastasias announced their stance as other medal winners nodded in agreement.


Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia compete in the final of the duet free routine of the synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Aquatic Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova of Russia won the gold medal. (Xinhua Photo)

After three days of competitions, China's Jiang twins, who were expected to medal in the duet competition, failed after making an error towards the end. "Of course there were regrets. We had aimed to win a medal," their coach Masayo Imura said.

"I think they only gave about 93 percent of their performance level," she said, "and coming into the final as the fourth also made it difficult for them to catch up with the stronger performers."

"Now we will make more efforts in the team competition to get a medal," she added.
Source: Xinhua

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1 China 44 14 19 77
2 USA 26 26 27 79
3 Great Britain 16 10 9 35
4 Russia 11 14 18 43
5 Australia 11 12 12 35
6 Germany 11 8 9 28
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