R Gangneung, Feb 15 (AFP) Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot conjured up a magical world-record free dance to win Olympic pairs figure skating gold today — and promptly burst into floods of tears.

The German duos sensational four-and-a-half-minute routine just denied Chinas world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the hot favourites who were pipped to the title by less than a point after Sui took a tumble.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada took bronze.

Savchenkos dream of an elusive first gold at her fifth Winter Games had looked dashed after an unfortunate error by her French-born partner Massot in yesterday’s short programme.

His double instead of a triple salchow left him distraught and them trailing their Chinese rivals in fourth.

But 24 hours later Massot righted that wrong, matching his decorated ice companion step for step, their dance to “La Terre vue du ciel” by Armand Amar holding the crowd at the Gangneung Arena in thrall.

At the end of their performance they lay in each others arms on the ice, before Massot bowed to his partner and they made their way to the “kiss and cry” corner where the tears flowed when their score of 159.09 points flashed up, beating the world record they set of 157.25 at the Grand Prix Final in December.

That gave them a combined total of 235.90.

They had to then sit and watch as first Duhamel and Radford, team event gold medallists, then Sui and Han try but fail to deny them their moment of glory.

Sui and Han finished agonisingly adrift on 235.47 with the Canadians on 230.15.

At the rink prize ceremony Massot lifted his ice queen onto the top of the podium, to the roar of the crowd.

Ukrainian-born Savchenko represented her country of birth in her first Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.

She then teamed up with Robin Szolkowy to represent Germany for the last three Games, coming away with bronze from Vancouver and Sochi, and the not inconsiderable feat of five world titles.

With Szolkowy leaving the stage she turned to Massot, who moved to Germany and received German citizenship last November.

A move that has paid off handsomely. ( AFP) APA 15021320

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.