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Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje, world ice dance medalists, step away from competition

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Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, three-time world ice dance medalists, are stepping away from competition indefinitely.

The couple will “evaluate their future plans and will provide an update on their career later this season,” according to Skate Canada.

Weaver, 30, and Poje, 32, placed seventh at the 2014 Olympics and 2018 Olympics. They also earned world championships medals in 2014 (silver), 2015 (bronze) and 2018 (bronze) as well as back-to-back Grand Prix Final titles in 2014 and 2015.

They have competed on the top senior international level since 2007 but have largely been in the shadow of fellow Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 and 2018 Olympic champions who are also on an indefinite break from competition (possibly never to compete again).

Weaver and Poje placed fifth at worlds this past spring after skipping last fall’s Grand Prix season.

The world’s top ice dance couples are French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (four-time world champions), Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov and Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

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Madison Chock, Evan Bates take ice dance silver at World Championships

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Madison Chock and Evan Bates could not become the second U.S. ice dance couple to win a World Championship, dropping from first after the short dance to take silver following the free dance in Shanghai on Friday.

“I had a bobble on my twizzle, but after that, I was like, ‘Nope, I want this too badly, and I’m going to fight my tail off to get it,'” Chock said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Chock and Bates finished 2.94 points behind French gold medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron. The French couple jumped from fourth in the short dance, overcoming a 2.53-point deficit to the Americans.

“It’s a big surprise,” Papadakis said. “I have no words.”

Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje earned the bronze (full results here).

Papadakis, 19, and Cizeron, 20, captured their biggest crown in their second season as senior skaters and became the youngest World champions in ice dance in 40 years.

They previously earned silver at the 2013 World Junior Championships and gold at the most recent European Championships in January. They were 13th at their senior-level World Championships debut last March.

“The summer before this season, our goal was to be in the top 10,” Cizeron said.

This season marked a major shake-up in ice dance, with the last two Olympic champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, sitting out. It’s unknown if or when they will return to competition.

Chock and Bates hoped to join Davis and White as the only U.S. ice dance couples to win World titles. They took silver in three straight international events — the Grand Prix Final in December, the Four Continents Championships in February and now the World Championships.

That’s remarkably strong consistency for a couple that finished eighth at the Sochi Olympics and fifth at the World Championships last March. Their goal this season was to earn a medal at Worlds.

“This is unchartered territory for us, and it’s harder than it looks,” Bates said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Chock and Bates’ silvers will likely be the only medals won by Americans at these World Championships. The top U.S. pair finished seventh. The top U.S. woman was in seventh after the short program. A U.S. man has not won a medal at Worlds since 2009.

Final Results
Gold: Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) — 184.28
Silver: Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 181.34
Bronze: Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) — 179.42
4. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) — 177.50
5. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 172.03
10. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) — 156.56

U.S. women struggle in short program; Russian soars

Yuzuru Hanyu repeats as Grand Prix Final champion (video)

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Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu added a second straight Grand Prix Final to his growing gold medal collection on Saturday, winning the second biggest international competition of the season.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and World champion, totaled 288.16 points to win by a whopping 34.26 over Spain’s Javier Fernandez. Russian Sergey Voronov won bronze.

Hanyu, 20, scored a personal-best 194.08 in the free skate — 19.36 better than anyone else — landing two quadruple jumps and falling on a triple jump. Hanyu won last year’s Grand Prix Final with 293.25 total points.

His winning margin in Barcelona was the second-highest in men’s Grand Prix Final history, behind Yevgeny Plushenko in 2004.

He became the second man to repeat as Grand Prix Final champion in the event’s 20-year history, joining Plushenko and Patrick Chan.

Only Chan has scored higher point totals overall and in a free skate.

Hanyu recovered after suffering a head injury in a warm-up collison at Cup of China on Nov. 8 and sneaking into the Grand Prix Final in the sixth and final qualifying spot by .15 of a point in the last Grand Prix series event two weeks ago.

He is now favored to become the first Japanese man to win multiple World Championships in Shanghai in March. Though his mission may be complicated if Olympic silver medalist and three-time World champion Chan returns later this season.

Fernandez, the reigning World bronze medalist, landed two quadruple jumps in his free skate to secure silver after a disastrous fifth-place short program. That’s his best showing in three trips to the Grand Prix Final. He and Hanyu share a coach in two-time Olympic silver medalist Brian Orser.

Voronov, 27, was making his Grand Prix Final debut after five World Championships appearances, where he never placed better than seventh. He captured Russia’s first men’s Grand Prix Final medal since Plushenko won in 2004.

Japan’s Tatsuki Machida, the reigning World silver medalist, fell three times in his free skate Saturday and plummeted from second place in the short program to finish last of six skaters.

Earlier in ice dance, Canadian World silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje held on to win by 14.05 points over U.S. Olympians Madison Chock and Evan Bates. U.S. Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the previous five Grand Prix Finals but are sitting out this season.

“A year ago if you told us we’d be second at the Grand Prix Final, we would definitely both be ecstatic about that,” said Bates, who finished eighth in Sochi with Chock and was making his Grand Prix Final debut.

Men
Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 288.16
Silver: Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 253.9
Bronze: Sergey Voronov (RUS) — 244.53
4. Maksim Kovtun (RUS) — 242.27
5. Takahito Mura (JPN) — 235.37
6. Tatsuki Machida (JPN) — 216.13

Ice Dance
Gold: Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) — 181.14
Silver: Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 167.09
Bronze: Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) — 162.39
4. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 158.94
5. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) — 158.16
6. Yelena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) — 156.46

Ashley Wagner denies historic Russian sweep