Skip to main content


Canada's Stellato-Dudek, Deschamps capture gold in pairs at world figure skating championships

Deanna Stellato-Dudek Maxime Deschamps Deanna Stellato-Dudek Maxime Deschamps - The Canadian Press

MONTREAL (AP) — Canada’s Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps captured gold in the pairs competition Thursday night at the world figure skating championships.

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

They placed first in the short program on Wednesday to give themselves a 3.95-point cushion and followed it up with a personal-best 144.08 in the free program to dethrone defending champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan.

Miura and Kihara had the best score in the free program but finished with silver (217.88). Germany’s Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nikita Volodin took bronze (210.40).

Stellato-Dudek of Chicago and Deschamps of Quebec received a standing ovation from the Bell Centre crowd before they even finished the program. Fans held up Canadian flags and “Go Deanna & Max” signs to support the hometown duo.

They’re the first Canadian pair to win gold since Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won back-to-back world titles in 2015 and 2016.

“This, for me, is really a dream come true,” Stellato-Dudek said.

The 40-year-old Stellato-Dudek became the oldest woman figure skater to win a world title.

“Can I get like a quote beside the record book? It’d be like, ’40 is the new 20,’” Stellato-Dudek said. “That’s what I’d like to say. It’s not something that I ever set out to do when I came back to skating but I knew that if I were to accomplish my dreams, it would inevitably occur because I’m the oldest everywhere.

“But I mean, It’s something I carry with pride. I’m very proud of it. I hope a lot of athletes stay around a lot longer. I hope it encourages people to not stop before they’ve reached their potential.”

It’s also her first medal at a senior worlds. A singles silver medalist at the 2000 world junior championship, 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 forces with Deschamps.

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

Though American, Stellato-Dudek is confident she’ll receive Canadian citizenship and represent her new home at the 2026 Olympics.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s Shoma Uno, the two-time defending champion, placed first in the men’s short program with a 107.72 score.

Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama — the 2022 Olympic silver medalist — was second (106.35) ahead of American Ilia Malinin (105.97).

“I could have performed a lot better, and a few minor things here and there I could have really done them a lot better,” Malinin said. “But overall I’m just happy with my score.”

Malinin, a bronze medallist at last year’s world championship, said the last few weeks have been a “really tough challenge” because he hasn’t felt well. Asked if it was an injury or illness, he said “both,” but wouldn’t specify further.

“I was even worried about if I wasn’t able to come to worlds,” he said. “It was definitely really hard. Some days I’d have to miss practice. Last week we had a talk and I just decided I want to go, I’m going to try my best no matter how I feel.”

Jason Brown, who won the bronze medal with the American team at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, placed fourth (93.87). Camden Pulkinen of New York was 17th (78.85).

The free program is set for Saturday evening.


AP sports: