Figure skating: French ice dance duo set record with golden performance

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Boston—France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron created magic on Thursday with a mesmerizing free skate to seal their second ice dance world title at the 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
The fans at Boston’s TD Garden erupted in cheers as they rose to their feet in appreciation of the couple’s performance.
The defending world champions also dazzled the judges who rewarded them with a whopping 118.17 points, the most ever awarded for a free dance performance.
Their winning points total of 194.46 was the second highest ever.
“We are just speechless now,” Cizeron said.
“We didn’t feel too much pressure after the short dance. Half of the job was already done. We had really good energy and a good feeling out there on the ice tonight.” Papadakis added, “We didn’t expect these high scores at all. We were really able to give our very best tonight.
“It took us a moment at the end of our programme to realize what we had achieved and I still can’t believe it.
“I just want to catch this moment and enjoy it.”
With their free dance complete, Papadakis and Cizeron were able to sit back and see what the final competitors of the night would do.
Siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States also had the audience in thrall as they sailed through their routine set to Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
Fifth-ranked at the worlds last year, the Shibutanis have gathered momentum at every competition this season, but on this night it wasn’t quite enough to overtake the French.
The Shibutanis settled for silver, posting 113.73 for the free dance and 188.43 overall.
Their US teammates Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the 2015 world silver medallists rode the dramatic waves of Rachmaninov concertos into bronze medal position, scoring 113.31 for a total of 185.77 points.—AFP

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