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MILAN, ITALY — You’re going to need a bigger scrapbook to hold all those world records; is what I thought to myself as I passed coach Marie-France Dubreuil in the mixed zone at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships here on Friday.
Her students, two-time world champions and 2018 Olympic ice dance silver medallists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, posted a new world record score in the short dance (83.73) to break the mark of 83.67 set by Canada’s Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the 2018 Winter Games.
“It was very important for them to get their newest record here at the world championships as a boost for their confidence,” said Dubreuil.
Paul Martini, my CBC colleague and 1984 world pair champion, offered his own view of today’s ice dance world,
“I like the fact that this sport now pays the price or gets the reward based on errors and excellence, respectively, that the other disciplines have enjoyed,” said Martini.
“The skaters scour the results as they come off the ice. They know what they’re looking and hoping for, and when they get it, they feel great.”
In talking to the skaters, Martini’s view of today’s ice dancers and how the sport is being judged has been molded.
“They don’t have the mentality like dancers of old. I get a solid degree of feedback from them that they believe in the system. In the good old days there was more of a ‘wait your turn’ scenario. It’s great to see that this discipline seems to have reaped the greatest rewards from the judging system,” he said.
This Olympic season is a particularly long one, and, getting to the end can be a bit of a challenge.
Dubreuil commented: “They [Papadakis and Cizeron] are tired. We are all tired but coming to worlds is like getting a second wind and we have been able to push through.”
Added Martini: “Some skaters went home after the Olympics and dissected their score’s report card to identify the areas where they could score more points.”
I wouldn’t have thought that Papadakis and Cizeron could have gained more points and yet they did. Having seen this program so many times over the season I wasn’t expecting to see any differences and yet I did.
I thought Papadakis and Cizeron speed and unison throughout and their performance quality was outstanding. Goosebump time.
“They got the chance to skate the [short dance] here in Milan that they didn’t get to do at the Olympic Games in [February]. This is very satisfying. They can now close this season’s short dance story,” said Dubreuil.
The stage is set for Papadakis and Cizeron to claim their third world title on Saturday. The question remains whether they will break another world record while doing it.
You can watch the ice dance free program live on CBCSports.ca beginning at 10:20 a.m. ET on Saturday.