I think compared to the competition they were deserving of their places. It's not as though they were awarded the Grand Prix! Bondareva put in a couple of lovely performances in Round 1 + 2 but her Round 3 was really quite athletic and lacked artistry. Skorik put in good but not great performances in Round 1 + 2 and her Round 3 was much improved. I enjoy watching Skorik- I can't take my eyes off of her and think she is absolutely beautiful, but she's inherently unstable due to her hyper-flexible structure. She's obviously worked hard on this in recent years but it still troubles her. It would probably improve with the addition of some muscle mass but what dancer carries more than the absolute minimum muscle mass? She does have something special- the video is now gone from Youtube, but in her 2 swans variation in the rehearsal for the 3D telecast she looked much better than Odette- she just needs to come out of her shell on stage. When she's on, she's just gorgeous.
I have a newfound appreciation of Timur following this competition. People will whinge that he won gold because he's from a wealthy family and can benefit the Mariinsky, blah blah blah whinge whinge whinge, and so on. But, he was lovely- he looks so happy to be out there- he's super consistent, he puts in clean, precise, solid performances every time and I just love to watch him jump. He covers so much stage. He's a tall guy too, look at the length of those legs in grand jete! He doesn't look as good in partnering as he does in his solos- just lacks a little something that makes you want to watch him, but he was deserving of his place compared to the other males.
I can understand die-hard Mariinsky fans having a whinge about this pair. You can clearly see the artistic and stylistic difference between dancers who trained at VBA vs. those who didn't. But this wasn't a Mariinsky competition, and they performed well in each round and obviously performed very well compared to the other couples. Congratulations to them!