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Marilyn inspires Romashina to third synchro gold

Gold medalist Russia's Svetlana Romashina (C) poses with other medalists at the synchronised swimming solo free final victory ceremony durin
Gold medalist Russia's Svetlana Romashina (C) poses with other medalists at the synchronised swimming solo free final victory ceremony durin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Svetlana Romashina's jaunty Marilyn Monroe-inspired free routine secured her third gold medal of the world championships and made it four out of four for synchronized swimming's dominant nation Russia on Wednesday.

Following her titles in technical solo and duet and Russia's success in the team technical, in which she did not compete, Romashina wowed spectators at the Palau Sant Jordi with an energetic and theatrical performance to earn 97.340 points.

Romashina wore an costume resembling a Monroe ensemble and performed to the song "I Wanna Be Loved By You" from the celebrated 1958 Billy Wilder romantic comedy "Some Like It Hot", in which the American film star played the vocalist and ukulele player Suger Kane.

China's Huang Xuechen was second on 95.720 points with a Phantom of the Opera-themed effort and local favorite Ona Carbonell of Spain took bronze with a homage to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics that earned her 94.290 points.

Previously overshadowed by her compatriot Natalia Ishchenko, who is taking a sabbatical, Romashina has moved seamlessly into her new role as the leading synchronized swimmer both for her country and in international competition.

A three-times Olympic champion, the 24-year-old said the idea for the Monroe routine had come from coach Tatiana Dachenko's daughter Elena.

"She has had this idea for the last two years but we didn't know which athlete would do it," Romashina told reporters, adding that she had been more nervous for the free event than in Saturday's technical program.

"I like the character so I was really happy to play this role," she said.

Romashina has a chance for a fourth gold of the championships in Thursday's free duet with partner Svetlana Kolesnichenko, with whom she won the technical duet on Sunday.

(Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, Editing by John Mehaffey)

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