Russian Svetlana Romashina earns record sixth Olympic artistic swimming gold, with win in duet

TOKYO -- Russian swimmer Svetlana Romashina claimed her record sixth Olympic gold medal in artistic swimming, teaming with Svetlana Kolesnichenko to win the duet Wednesday night.

The Russian Olympic Committee team was a heavy favorites in a sport Russians have dominated for more than two decades. Their last Olympic loss in what was then known as synchronized swimming came at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Romashina had been tied with fellow Russian swimmers Anastasia Davydova and Natalia Ishchenko with five golds medals apiece.

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Now, Romashina is in a class by herself.

Swimming last out of 12 finalists to the music "Spiders," the Russian pair came out in nude-colored suits with black arthropods splashed across the front.

They mimicked the crawling bugs on deck before diving in for a dramatic performance punctuated with fierce leg kicks.

The ROC pair received marks of 98.8000 for their free routine to finish with a score of 195.9079. Romashina broke into a big smile when the "1" went up beside her name for the sixth time.

The silver went to China's Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan at 192.4499, while Ukraine's Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk beat out Japan for the bronze with 189.4620.

Ukraine won its first Olympic medal in artistic swimming.

This was the first Summer Games with the sport's new name.

After the 2016 Rio Games, world governing body FINA rebranded it to artistic swimming in hopes of giving a more accurate portrayal of what the sport is about and improving its appeal with potential sponsors and television partners.

It would probably help to have a more competitive field.

The Russians never seem to lose, and that's unlikely to change in Tokyo. They are also huge favorites in the team event, which would give them another sweep of the Olympic golds.

Romashina, who is 31, has won every event she has competed in at the Olympics, world championships and European championships.