Papadakis/Cizeron claim fifth worlds gold on home ice, Uno crowned in men's event

MONTPELLIER, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Beijing Olympic champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron put out another dominant performance to win a fifth world championships ice dance title here on Saturday in front of thousands of local supporters.

France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron perform during the ice dance free dance skating event at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier on March 26, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Coming into the free dance with a huge lead from the rhythm dance, the French duo skated to "Elegie" by Gabriel Faure and finished the program with a world record mark of 137.09 points, totaling 229.82 to break the combined record for the 13th time.

Papadakis and Cizeron had just refreshed the record at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing last month and improved that once again in only 40 days.

"After a season like this, after winning the Games, being here at home in France with our team, our coaches, there's so much history, so many people. I think the emotions we had on the ice today, it does not compare to anything. It was magical," Cizeron said. "I think we try to make the most of every moment with all the skaters that are here, we try to make the most of every memory, with every person, every moment."

The Sud de France arena was almost at full capacity on the night and the pair went onto the ice with huge applause and roaring cheers around them. The passion of the local audience boosted their confidence, which enabled the pair to finish each step, each movement in a dreamlike way.

"It was a magical moment, we knew there would be a lot of people but we didn't expect that, so it was really emotional, so much that I don't know how to focus, but it was beautiful too. I'm just so grateful and we're so lucky to have been surrounded by our closest friends here on the podium. I think that's very rare and it's what makes it worth it - gold medals, and the event, and the work. I think friendship, in the end, is what stays," Papadakis said.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue took the silver with 222.39 points, ahead of fellow Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates who finished third with 216.83.

Earlier in the afternoon, two-time Olympic medalist Shoma Uno of Japan claimed his first world title after winning two silver medals in the five previous attempts.

Gold medalist Japan's Shoma Uno poses during the medal ceremony after the men's Free Skating event at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, south of France, on March 26, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

The 24-year-old hit a new personal best of 312.48 points to secure the gold in the absence of two injured stars - his Japanese compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu and current Olympic champion Nathan Chen of the United States.

Yuma Kagiyama, the silver medalist at Beijing 2022, scored 297.60 points to take the second place while American Vincent Zhou ranked third with 277.38.

Uno's victory means Japanese skaters have pocketed both men's and women's titles at this year's worlds as Kaori Sakamoto sealed the victory in women's competition on Friday.

Gold medalist Japan's Kaori Sakamoto (C), Silver medalist Belgium's Loena Hendrickx (L) and Bronze medalist US Alysa Liu (R) pose on the podium during the medal ceremony after the women's free skating event at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, southern France, on March 25, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Except for the medals in ice dance and men's event, U.S. skaters had also bagged a gold in the pairs and a bronze in women's competition.

The exhibition gala of the worlds takes place on Sunday afternoon.