The ice dancing portion of the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships came to an exciting conclusion March 31 as Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France successfully defended their title before fans at Boston's TD Garden.

Papadakis, Cizeron set a new World Record

Papadakis and Cizeron's free dance mark of 118.17 broke the world record previously set (116.63) by American ice dance stars Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia and gave the young duo their second World title in as many years.


Their gold medal-worthy combined score of 194.46 bettered that of silver medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani (188.43) by more than six points. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who competed alongside Davis, White, and the Shubitanis in Sochi, earned the bronze with a 185.77.

For the second consecutive year, Italy's Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, who won the world title in 2014, finished just off the podium in fourth place (182.72).


Last year's bronze medalists, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada, placed fifth (182.01). The third American pair in the mix, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, placed an impressive sixth (176.81), demonstrating the strength and depth of the US ice dance contingent.

Continued success for Maia and Alex Shibutani

The silver medal signals the continuation of an incredible season for the Shibutanis, who last won a world medal --the bronze-- in 2011.

The 2015-16 skating season has seen the pair win their first US national title over long-time rivals Chock and Bates, in addition to gold medals at the NHK Trophy and the Four Continents Championships in Taipei. Audiences have been particularly taken with their emotional "Fix You" free dance.

Earlier in the day in Boston, reigning US national champion Gracie Gold bested a field of tough competitors to finish first in the ladies' short program.

Former US champion Ashley Wagner also fared well, placing fourth behind Gold and a pair of talented young Russian skaters: Anna Pogorilaya and Evgenia Medvedeva. 

The 2016 World Figure Skating Championships continue April 1 at 1:15 PM Eastern with the pairs short program.

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