There were challengers, but none better than Russia's world champion team of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov on the first day of pairs competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In an effort to narrow the gap against their rivals, former four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany debuted a crowd-pleasing "Pink Panther" program.
Volosozhar and Trankov showed why they're the team to beat with a new world record performance that scored 84.17 points and wowed the rowdy crowd at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
A second Russian team, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, sat in third place after the short program, with 75.21 points.
It was a so-so day for the American teams. U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir finished the day in ninth place, while Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay were 14th.
The top 16 teams will return to the ice on Wednesday for their free skates, which will determine the Olympic medals.