Ice Network

Virtue, Moir triumph on major stage once again

Canadians earn second gold medal of season; French duo takes silver
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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who were first after the short dance, added another gold medal to their collection after receiving a two-day point total of 195.84, which was a new personal best. The Canadians -- who also claimed the top prize in front of their home fans at 2016 Skate Canada -- received 116.37 points for their Coeur de Pirate and Sam Smith free dance in what was once again another impressive display. -Getty Images

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir danced to victory with another rousing performance, as NHK Trophy concluded Sunday in Sapporo. The Canadian duo finished comfortably ahead of France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron and Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte.

Performing to "Pilgrims on a Long Journey" and "Latch," Virtue and Moir completed Level 4 lifts, spin and twizzles, and received a Level 3 for their circular and diagonal step sequences. The 2014 Olympic silver medalists scored a personal best of 116.37 points and totaled 195.84 points. The Canadians posted a new world record total score, surpassing Meryl Davis and Charlie White's record of 195.52 points achieved at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

"It feels great to be back; we're excited to build on this momentum as we head into the Grand Prix Final," Moir said. "Tessa and I always have been a team that doesn't really pay attention to the points. It is kind of great to hear that you got a world record score, but it doesn't really mean very much. For us, the focus is just on our skating and just being in the mix again."

Papadakis and Cizeron's dance to "Stillness," "Oddudua" and "Happiness Does Not Wait" was highlighted by beautiful lifts that merited a Level 4 grade, while their footwork received Level 3. The duo's twizzles came up short in the scoring department, garnering only Level 2. The two-time and reigning world champions earned 111.06 points and accumulated 186.66 total points to remain in second place.

"We didn't have our best performance today; we did a few mistakes, and we're not very happy with our performance," Papadakis noted. "But it's fine -- we learn, it can happen, and we'll get back home and work."

Cappellini and Lanotte produced five Level 4 elements in their dance to a medley of music by Charlie Chaplin, picking up 108.42 points. The 2014 European and world champions scored 180.42 points in total, earning themselves a place on the podium in Japan.

"We were able to skate full out, we didn't hold back at all, and we were able to skate the program as we are able to in practice," Cappellini said. "We were able to enjoy it and have many lovely moments with the crowd before we skated and during the performance."

With their showings in Sapporo, Virtue and Moir as well as Papadakis and Cizeron stamped their ticket for the upcoming Grand Prix Final, which will take place Dec. 8-11 in Marseille, France.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the United States completed their NHK Trophy experience with a fourth-place finish, while Russia's Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov rounded out the top five.