Russia edge closer to team gold

SOCHI, Russia Sat Feb 8, 2014 7:48pm GMT

1 of 5. Ksenia Stolbova (bottom) and Fedor Klimov of Russia compete during the figure skating team pairs free skating at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, February 8, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov showed the depth of talent in Russian figure skating as they brought the hollering fans to their feet with a spectacular free skate to move the hosts within touching distance of the inaugural Olympic team title.

The couple were substitutes for Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, with the world and European champions trying to preserve their energies for the individual pairs competition, and Stolbova and Klimov did not disappoint.

From the moment they nailed a sky-high throw triple flip, the crowd were delirious as the duo whizzed around the ice, showcasing their gravity-defying lifts and nifty footwork to the soundtrack of 'The Addams Family'.

Their score of 135.09 was more than five points ahead of nearest rivals Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Canada.

Going into the final day of the team event, Russia lead with 47 points. Canada (41), the U.S. (34) Italy (31) and Japan (30) complete the top five with three segments of the competition remaining.

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ed Osmond)