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Canadians Stellato Dudek and Deschamps win gold at the World Figure Skating Championships

Canadians Stellato Dudek and Deschamps win gold at the World Figure Skating Championships

Canadians Diana Stellato Dudek and Maxime Deschamps won gold in the doubles competition Thursday night at the World Figure Skating Championships.

The two-time national champions posted a personal best score of 221.56 after skating “Interview with a Vampire” in the free program.

They took first place in the short program on Wednesday to give themselves 3.95 points and followed it up with a personal best of 144.08 in the free program to beat defending champions Reiko Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan.

Miura and Kihara had the best score in the free program but took silver (217.88). Germans Minerva Fabian Haase and Nikita Volodin won the bronze medal (210.40).

Stellato Dudek of Chicago and Deschamps of Quebec received a standing ovation from the Bell Center audience before they finished the program. Fans raised Canadian flags and “Go Deanna & Max” signs to support the duo in their hometown.

They are the first Canadian duo to win gold since Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford won back-to-back world titles in 2015 and 2016.

“This for me is a dream come true,” Stellato Dodek said.

At 40, Stellato Dudek has become the oldest female figure skater to win a world title.

“Can I have a quote next to the book of records? It would be as if 40 is the new 20,” said Stellato Dudek. “That's what I would say. This wasn't something I planned to do when I got back into skating, but I knew that if I achieved my dreams, it would definitely happen because I'm the biggest around.

“But I mean it's something I carry with pride. I'm very proud of it. I hope a lot of athletes stay longer. I hope it encourages people not to stop before they reach their potential.”

It is also her first medal at senior worlds. A silver medalist at the 2000 World Junior Championships, she retired at 17 due to a chronic hip injury, but revived her career 16 years later as a pairs skater. In 2019, she moved to Montreal and joined Deschamps.

“I find it unbelievable what she accomplished today. We had a lot of pressure, a lot of nerves. For us, this was the most pressure we've ever had, so to see what she's accomplished at this age is unbelievable,” Deschamps said.

Although she is an American, Stellato Dudek is confident she will gain Canadian citizenship and represent her new home country at the 2026 Olympics.

Earlier in the day, Japan's Shoma Uno, the two-time defending champion, took first place in the men's short program with a score of 107.72.

Japan's Yuma Kagiyama – the 2022 Olympics silver medalist – came in second place (106.35), ahead of American Ilya Malinin (105.97).

“I could have done much better, some little things here and there I could have done much better,” Malinin said. “But overall I'm happy with my result.”

Malinin, a bronze medalist at last year's world championships, said the past few weeks had been a “really tough challenge” because he had not been feeling well. When asked if it was an injury or illness, he said, “Both,” but did not specify further.

“I was worried even if I couldn't come to worlds,” he said. “It's definitely been tough. Some days I'll have to miss training. We spoke last week and I decided I wanted to leave, and I'm going to do my best no matter how I feel.

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Jason Brown, who won a bronze medal with the US team at the 2014 Winter Olympics, placed fourth (93.87). Camden Pulkkinen of New York was 17th (78.85).

The free program is set for Saturday evening.

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