American ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates hailed their own “grit” as they finally claimed their first world title at the figure skating world championships in Japan on Saturday, after recovering from a fall in their free dance.
Chock and Bates took gold in the 10th world championships of their career, beating Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri and Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier in Saitama, north of Tokyo.
Chock said the experience the pair had picked up over their long careers helped them shrug off her tumble midway through their routine.
“I know that we wouldn’t be sitting here today without many of those challenges that we’ve faced, not just this season but throughout all the many seasons of our career,” she said.
“We have really persevered and shown a lot of grit. I think maybe our performance today was a little reflection of that.”
Chock and Bates, who last year got engaged to be married, finished with 226.01 points overall, ahead of Guignard and Fabbri’s 219.85, and Gilles and Poirier’s 217.88.
France’s reigning Olympic and world ice dance champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are sitting out the competition, and Russian skaters have again been banned because of the war in Ukraine.
Chock said that her fall was “so fast, so unexpected”, but the pair kept their cool to see out the win.
“It was a blip in what felt like a really special performance between the two of us,” she said.
“I was really enjoying every second of being out on the ice with Evan.”
Chock and Bates had previously won one silver and two bronze medals at the world championships.
Bates thanked their coaches for handing them “a lifeline” after a disappointing showing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
“Five years ago, we could have easily been done,” he said.
“They just gave us a renaissance in our careers and we’re so grateful to them.”
Britain’s Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson finished fourth on 214.73