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City news, 17.02.2006 17:58

Flawless Plushenko wins gold

Evgeny Plushenko The overwhelming favorite, a silver medallist four years ago, outclassed world champion Stephane Lambiel by a huge margin of 27.12 points to become the fifth consecutive Russian or Soviet man to win the crown.

After skating an almost perfect program, Plushenko did not punch the air in victory or roar with pleasure but sagged his shoulders in exhaustion as the tension poured off.

As hordes of fans yelled "Rus-si-a", he made the sign of the cross on his chest, kissed his wedding ring and touched the ice and kissed his hand in respect to the arena where that elusive gold was won.

Plushenko brought a roaring crowd to their feet with a display full of drama and daring skills.

The first competitor among the medal contenders to take to the ice, Plushenko nailed 12 jumps, including seven in combination, to surpass Lambiel with a personal best total of 258.33.

He began with a quadruple-triple-double jump combination before flying through the rest of his Godfather routine to surpass Lambiel.

Plushenko looked supremely relaxed as he watched the remaining competitors skate through their programs and when the final scores were in just smiled contentedly, waving at the camera, shaking hands with his coach and hugging his team mates.

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