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Sports

Record-setting French skaters settle for silver

media Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France perform on Tuesday REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

French skating duo Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron were pushed into second place by less than a point by Canadian duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Tuesday.

The French and Canadian pairs have been moving in parallel since before the Games began, training under the same coach, Romain Haguenauer, in Montreal.

Virtue and Moir led after Monday’s short programme after an embarrassing defect in Papadakis’s wardrobe cost the French pair crucial points early on.

Papadakis and Cizeron looked poised to come back on Tuesday after setting a new free dance world record of 123.35 points in the best performance of their career.

But 12 minutes later, Virtue and Moir scored 122.40, which took their total to an overall world record of 206.07, a microscopic 0.79 over the French pair’s 205.28 points.

No regrets

If the French pair was understandably disappointed, they also expressed no regrets about what they achieved.

“I’m very happy about what we did today,” Papadakis said. “We put on a great performance, and we’re very satisfied.”

The Canadians also gave a nod to their rivals.

“It’s a really intense competition,” Moir said of his and Virtue’s gold. “We have such respect, especially for Gabriella and Guillaume, so we’re pretty happy with how things turned out, that’s for sure.”

It was the first Olympic Games for Papadakis, 22, and Cizeron, 23, and the third for 28-year-old Virtue and 30-year-old Moir, who signalled they were unsure whether they would return at Beijing in 2022.

It was also a record fifth medal for the Canadians, who won gold at the Vancouver 2010 Games, two silvers in Sochi in 2014, and another gold in last week’s team event in Pyeongchang.

“We’re going to celebrate with some champagne,” Virtue said.

American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani won the bronze, almost 13 points behind.

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