In 10th Worlds appearance, Chock/Bates claim first-ever ice dance title

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For Madison Chock and Evan Batesthe 10th time was a charm.

A decade after the American ice dance duo made its debut at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in 2013 they have been crowned world champions, their 226.01 score enough for gold despite a mid-program fall by Chock.

It’s the fourth world medal for the team, who held their lead from the rhythm dance to top fellow veteran squads Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy (219.85) and Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (217.88), who finished with silver and bronze, respectively.

Chock, 30, and Bates, 33, are just the second American team to win a dance world title, following in the footsteps of Sochi 2014 Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie Whitewho captured gold in 2011 and 2013.

“We’re elated,” a breathless Chock said to the Saitama Super Arena crowd, calling her fall a “boop.” While the team lost one point for the mishap and took a dent in their Program Components, their overall technical marks were far superior on the day.

Added Bates: “We’ve been pursuing this goal for so many years and it just happened 10 seconds ago. It’s really hard to put this moment into words and what it means to us. This ice dance field is so competitive; we’ve known these teams for so long. We’re just so happy.”

It was a season of podium jockeying in ice dance, with Gilles and Poirier winning the Grand Prix Final as Guignard/Fabbri captured Europeans and Chock/Bates won at Four Continents.

The Canadians were sidetracked by an appendicitis for Gilles, who had surgery in late December and set the team out for some three months. It’s a second medal for them (bronze, 2021), while the Italians capture their first.

Ice dance free dance: Takahashi shines in home Worlds return

Great Britain’s Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson slipped in for fourth place (214.73), edging out Montreal-based training mates Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen of Canada (214.04)

Earlier, home fans roared for Muramoto Kana and her partner, the great Daisuke Takahashithe Vancouver 2010 bronze medallist and 2010 world champion in singles. Takahashi returned home for a 10th Worlds – and second in dance.

They finished 11th, just shy of their pre-event Top 10 placement goal.

Takahashi last competed at a World Championships in front of a home crowd in 2007 in Tokyo, when he won the silver medal – his first of three world medals.

“We’re just really happy, plain and simple,” Takahashi told Japanese reporters. “A clean performance, and we were in the world of Phantom of the Opera. … We hadn’t felt like this in a long time. A home Worlds, there was a lot of pressure. But we’re over the moon for being able to produce a performance like that.”

For the podium teams, their medals were rewards for a lifetime in work. In fact, all three teams consist of two partners over the age of 30 for the first time in Worlds history. All three teams were at Worlds in 2013, when both the Americans and Canadian teams made their debut. The Italians debuted in 2011.

“It’s an incredible reward for so much work, so many ups and downs,” Fabbri said of their maiden world medal. “It feels really great.”

Added Gilles – in light of their missed time due to her injury: “We didn’t know what to expect this week,” she said. “It was so rewarding for it to happen like this.”

Ice dance podium: What comes next?

With reigning Olympic champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France in limbo as to what comes next – and Russian skaters remaining on the sidelines due to an International Skating Union (ISU) decision – the top three teams were staying in the moment. For now.

“We haven’t made an official decision,” was the line from Bates about his and Chock’s future – in particular for next season. The other two teams echoed as much, with Gilles and Poirier having been outspoken about staying in the moment this year.

Guignard/Fabbri, too, wouldn’t venture much into the future, even with Milan Cortina 2026 set for their home country of Italy. “We’re not thinking about the Olympics yet,” Fabbri said.

Fear/Gibson and Fournier-Beaudry/Sørensen had career finishes in fourth and fifth, respectively, the Britsh bringing the crowd alive with their Lady Gaga medley.

Caroline Green and Michael Parsons of the U.S. were sixth, while Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius of Lithuania and the brother-sister duo of Natalie Taschlerova and Filip Taschler of the Czech Republic completed the top eight.

There was also triumph in the discipline away from the free dance: Estonia’s Solene Mazingue competed in the rhythm dance with her partner Marko Gaidajenko five months after a fall in practice caused a major head injury and required immediate emergency surgery.

“I just want to give everyone hope, even if it’s a small injury… a problem in your life. Anything is possible. If you have a goal, you can make it for sure,” she told