French ice dancers pipped for gold after bouncing back from wardrobe malfunction

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir practicing their free dance

They say it helps them focus.

Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ice Dance free dance competition final - Gangneung, South Korea - February 20, 2018 - Gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, silver medallists Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis of France and bronze medallists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the USA celebrate on the podium during the victory ceremony. Every movement was synchronized, every element raw and emotional, and the only question left at the end was whether it would be enough.

"Amazing. It was a special moment to come out last", Virtue said following their win. We skated with each other in mind the whole way and we skated with our hearts.

The French duo, the first ice dancers to break the 200 points barrier a year ago, produced a best ever combined score at the European Championships in Moscow last month, suggesting an epic free dance battle is in store at the Ungangrened Ice Arena on Tuesday.

With the fear of exposure not an issue, Papadakis and Cizeron logged a tremendous 123.35 to give them 205.28 overall, their personal best.

Virtue and Moir also won Olympic gold in ice dancing at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and gold in the team competition at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Virtue and Moir also won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

But the pull to skate for one more gold was too hard to resist and they came out of retirement to compete in Pyeongchang four years later.

It was a wake-up call for the pair, who knew they would have to be better in the upcoming ice dance event.

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I am thrilled with this competition. We are so grateful to our team for having prepared us for this.

Their medal total broke a tie with Russia's Evgeni Plushenko and Sweden's Gillis Grafstrom for the most in Olympic figure skating, and their golden haul matched the record shared by Grafstrom, Sonja Henie of Norway and Irina Rodnina of the Soviet Union.

"They're a once-in-a-generation talent, " said Patrice Lauzon, who along with his wife, Marie-France Dubreuil, coaches the Canadians and French at their school in Montreal. They had 18.38 more points than the American duo of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue who finished in fourth place with a score of 187.69 points.

"He's extremely passionate, has such great empathy for others", Virtue said. Those are moments we will never forget. Then, they contributed two programs to the team event. "As Canadians, we were born on the ice".

At 206.07 points, they were only 0.79 points ahead of Papadakis and Cizeron.

Papadakis and Cizeron were the new rivals on the scene, bringing a fresh, contemporary style that had won the judges over.

The duo will allow their achievement to seep in before they tell the world their next steps.

The French couple drew the penultimate starting number for Tuesday's free dance. They were seventh after the short program.

Their score of 123.35 points was exactly what they needed to make a case for gold and it was the ideal response to the previous day, when the clasp behind Papadakis' neck on the halter-top portion of her costume came undone and her breast was exposed live on worldwide television. "We did four performances on Olympic ice we can be so proud of, and we got two Olympic medals (including the team)".

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