French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are halfway to following their first Olympic title with their fifth world title.
The crowd favorites delivered a 92.73-point rhythm dance in Montpellier, France, on Friday, taking a 3.01-point lead into Saturday’s free dance.
They broke their world record score of 90.83 from the Olympics.
“It was magic,” Papadakis said. “It was even better than the Olympics.”
Americans are second and third, as expected. Olympic bronze medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are followed by Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Both recorded personal bests.
“The goal of tomorrow for myself is to not cry before or during the performance,” Hubbell said of what will be her and Donohue’s last competitive skate.
The U.S. is in position to win a world medal in dance for the seventh consecutive time and for the 17th time total in the last 17 years if both make the podium. The last gold was in 2013.
Papadakis and Cizeron, who won the Olympics by a record margin for dance, can move one title shy of the world championships record six by a single couple earned by Liudmila Pakhomova and Aleksander Gorshkov in the 1970s.
Nobody in this field has beaten the French in more than seven years. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, the Olympic silver medalists and only couple to beat the French since the 2018 Olympics, aren’t at worlds due to the Russian ban.
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