Mar 29, 2014, 3:28 AM EDT
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.
“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.
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
Apr 28, 2015, 1:41 PM EDT
“My mission in life has never seemed clearer.”
Apr 28, 2015, 10:02 AM EDT
The IOC will also provide assistance to the Himalayan nation.
Apr 28, 2015, 9:42 AM EDT
The U.S. has one more preliminary game left before the medal round.
Apr 27, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT
The U.S. can move closer to clinching a semifinal berth.
Apr 27, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
The five-time Olympic medalist also discussed getting to know Mark Spitz in a Q&A.
Apr 27, 2015, 12:28 PM EDT
Austrian Alpine skiers with eight combined Olympic medals also got hitched.
Apr 27, 2015, 9:17 AM EDT
The U.S. is back on the ice on Monday night on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Apr 27, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT
The 2026 Olympics could be particularly meaningful for ski jumping’s old man.
Apr 27, 2015, 8:29 AM EDT
Lee captured silver medals at the last two Olympics but was stripped of a World Championships medal.
Apr 26, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT
The U.S. beat Russia in the Sochi Paralympic final.
Apr 26, 2015, 7:55 AM EDT
Also, Paula Radcliffe was interviewed by the BBC in the middle of her marathon farewell.
Apr 25, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT
The U.S.’ first opponent marks a rematch of the Sochi gold-medal game.
Apr 25, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT
Only two men have ever run faster this early in the season.
Apr 25, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT
ISAF official says demands will be made.
Apr 25, 2015, 8:53 AM EDT
Jenner explained how he felt different while winning the decathlon at the Montreal 1976 Olympics.
Apr 24, 2015, 3:51 PM EDT
Several Olympic champions are in the fields at the two meets.
Apr 24, 2015, 3:50 PM EDT
Phelps has followed Bowman to an NCAA stop before.
Apr 24, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT
Biles is in the middle of a four-month break from competition.
Apr 24, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT
Sweeney and Team USA begin World Championship play Sunday.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:26 AM EDT
NBC’s figure skating analysts will be visible daily during Kentucky Derby week.
- Missy Franklin on her dream relay, unusual autographs, ‘the worm’ 0
- Tanith Belbin, Charlie White get married 2
- Bruce Jenner: I’m a woman; Olympians react 5
- Michael Phelps to move to Arizona with coach Bob Bowman 0
- Simone Biles discusses Martha Karolyi’s team selfie, U.S. teammates, more 0
- Usain Bolt: Tyson Gay’s reduced ban ‘the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard’ 0
- Doug E. Doug reflects on ‘Cool Runnings’ 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)