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James just misses out on podium

Vanessa James and her partner, Morgan Cipres, came up just shy of a second successive podium display at the European Figure Skating Championships in Moscow this week.

Bermudian James and Cipres, who compete for France, were edged out of third place by 0.01 points at the Megasport Sport Palace as hosts Russia swept the pairs podium at the championships for the fifteenth time.

Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov retained their title, with compatriots Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov earning the silver medal and Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert the bronze.

James landed a quadruple throw Salchow, but cut short a toeloop while two lifts were shaky in the free skate discipline.

“We're disappointed,” James told the Reuters newsagency. “We knew we had a shot at the podium, but we weren't there today. We made too many mistakes.”

James and Cipres became the first French pair to win a European medal in 14 years with a bronze in the Czech Republic last year.

The duo made a solid start to this year's championships, having led after the short programme, with an impressive performance that featured a triple twist, side-by-side triple Salchow and a throw triple flip.

They earned a level four for their death spiral, step sequence, lift and pair combination spin to produce a new season's best of 75.52 points.

“We are very happy with the skate,” James told the International Skating Union website.

“We were a little bit nervous. We've been doing great practices and great programmes, but last year was our first medal [at Europeans].

“We have the Olympics in three weeks and those things have us a little stressed out.

“The programme was a little hesitant, not the most liberated, but it was a clean programme and we're very proud of it.

“It was the best possible start for the Europeans.”

James and Cipres have competed together since 2010, during which time they have also racked up five French national titles and won medals in the Grand Prix and Challenger Series events.

Before becoming a French citizen, James, who is also the cousin of Bermudian tennis player Tyler Smith, was the 2006 British national champion in singles and in 2007 won the silver medal.

She switched to pairs skating in 2007 and teamed up with Yannick Bonheur to compete for France. After the Vancouver Olympics, the pair decided to split.

James's twin sister, Melyssa, is also a figure skater.

Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres finished a whisker away from the podium (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

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Published January 20, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated January 20, 2018 at 8:14 am)

James just misses out on podium

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