Anna Cappellini, Luca Lanotte

Cappellini and Lanotte hold on for surprise ice dance title

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Even without the top two teams in the world, the ice dance competition at the World Figure Skating Championships brimmed with drama.

Saturday afternoon it concluded with the the three podium spots separated by just 0.06 points, Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte edging out Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada (second) and France’s Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat (third) by the smallest of fractions for gold.

Top-ranked duos Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skipped the World Championships after winning gold and silver, respectively, at the Sochi Olympics, but that didn’t seem to matter to the Saitama, Japan, audience, which was enraptured with a genuine fight to the finish.

Cappellini and Lanotte, Italy’s first world champions in ice dance since Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio won in 2001, were fourth in the free dance, but held on for the gold thanks to their lead after the short dance.

More: Hanyu roars back for men’s title | Savchenko/Szolkowy win in pairs

“We really have no words. We’re in complete shock,” Cappellini told the crowd after their win. “It was such a long season and we were really at the end of our energy. I was already happy with the way that we performed.”

Yelena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, bronze medalists in Sochi, won the free dance, though their efforts left them in fourth after a poor short program had them in fifth place coming into Saturday.

Ilinykh/Katsalapov skated with extra fire on the ice Saturday as rumors swirled around Worlds that they would disband as a team after the competition, allegations they denied.

Katsalapov let out an impassioned yell as they finished their darkened portrayal of “Swan Lake,” which was instrumental in their podium finish at the Olympics last month.

More: Final ice dance standings, scores

The U.S. had plenty to be proud of, though this marks the first time since 2008 that no American ice dancers landed on the podium.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates were fifth overall and brother-sister duo Maia and Alex Shibutani finished sixth, moving up from eighth- and ninth-place efforts at the Olympics.

It was a second Worlds bronze for Pechalat/Bourzat in three years, the French veterans who at 30 and 33, respectively, are said to be skating at their final competition. It was their 11th World Championships.

Weaver/Poje skated last Saturday afternoon, their Latin medley filled with flair and passion. When their score flashed on the screen they had to double check their opponents’ efforts, Poje confirming their silver-medal status.

“Second,” he said in the Kiss and Cry. “Second.”

Cappellini broke down in tears when the score for her and Lanotte was shown, their short dance providing the cushion they needed to hold onto the world title. This is their first world championship medal of any kind, coming on the heels of their first-ever European Championships title in January. They were sixth in Sochi.

“This was an amazing week for us,” Lanotte said. “Just amazing.”

Ice dance overall standings
1. Anna CAPPELLINI/Luca LANOTTE ITA 175.43
2. Kaitlyn WEAVER/Andrew POJE CAN 175.41
3. Nathalie PECHALAT/Fabian BOURZAT FRA 175.37
4. Yelena ILINYKH/Nikita KATSALAPOV RUS 174.38
5. Madison CHOCK/Evan BATES USA 167.59
6. Maia SHIBUTANI/Alex SHIBUTANI USA 158.57
17. Alexandra ALDRIDGE/Daniel EATON USA 137.37

Couple with 10 Olympic gold medals gets married

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  (L-R) British cyclists Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, David Beckham and Romeo Beckham during the Beach Volleyball on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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Great Britain track cyclists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott were married on Saturday, according to their social media. Together the couple has won 10 Olympic gold medals, including five at the 2016 Rio Games.

Trott referred to her wedding day as “the happiest day of my life” on Instagram.

“With all my family and close friends I married my best friend,” she wrote. “We had the most amazing day and I’m so pleased to finally be able call Jason my husband.”

The couple’s romance became public at the 2012 Olympics, when they were photographed kissing in the stands behind David Beckham at the women’s beach volleyball finals, according to Sky News. By December 2014, they were engaged. They plan on returning to training after the honeymoon.

Kenny owns seven Olympic medals, including six golds. He has helped Great Britain win team sprint gold medals at every Olympics since 2008.

Trott won gold medals in team pursuit and omnium in Rio, after claiming gold medals in the same events in London. She became the first British woman with four career Olympic gold medals.

Instead of asking for gifts, the couple set up a JustGiving page to raise money for Dementia UK. You can donate here.

MORE: Great Britain cyclist Kenny wins third Rio

Blind Paralympic champion Brad Snyder throws ceremonial first pitch (video)

Brad Snyder
Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles
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Brad Snyder, who took home three swimming gold medals from the Rio Paralympic Games, threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on Sunday.

Snyder, who lost his vision while serving in the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan by stepping on an improvised explosive device, is a native of Baltimore.

He pitched alongside fellow Paralympic swimmer McKenzie Coan, who also claimed three gold medals in Rio.

The Orioles honored two more Paralympians, track and field sisters Hannah and Tatyana McFadden, before Saturday’s game.

Tatyana won six medals in Rio, which tied her with swimmer Jessica Long for the most for a U.S. athlete.

MORE: Katie Ledecky helps Bryce Harper celebrate NL East title (video)