SHANGHAI - France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron took gold at the World Figure Skating Championships ice dance event in Shanghai Friday, the high point of a remarkable breakthrough season for the duo.
The pair gave a rousing performance to score 112.34 points in the final free dance, and finish with 184.28 overall, marking another milestone following their European Championships victory in January.
The win in Shanghai represents an incredible achievement for 19-year-old Papadakis and Cizeron, aged 20, who are the youngest world champions for 49 years.
They finished 13th in the World Championships last year - their first season in senior competition. The pair emerged as a force in ice dance at the Grand Prix Final in December, when they came third.
"We are still very young, and we feel like we want to go so much further now, not for the medals but for ourselves," said Cizeron.
"I think that is what we have always done. We want to improve. We want to get better at what we do and what we love to do.
"I think that is what makes us strong. We don't really run after medals. We just want to have fun and take a lot of pleasure." They finished fourth in Shanghai on Wednesday at the opening short programme but captivated the audience at Shanghai's Oriental Sports Centre with their finale.
To the music of Mozart's "Concerto No 23", Papadakis and Cizeron confidently swept through their programme, before bringing the crowd to their feet with a passionate choreographed spin.
Papadakis said the pair were "disappointed" with their performance on Wednesday, adding "it gave us a lot of strength - we wanted to fight!" "It is a big surprise to be here right now," she said following the win.
"Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be in the top ten." It was an emphatic display from the pair, who finished almost six points ahead of United States champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who took second place with a score of 106.87 and 181.34 overall.
Pre-tournament favourites Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada - who won at both the Grand Prix Final and Four Continents championships in Seoul last month - finished third with 106.74 points, and 179.42 overall.
"We gave everything that we could and that is our ultimate goal and what we trained for," Weaver said.
"Unfortunately the marks did not come out in our favour but we are not going to mark this season off as a loss. We had an incredible year.
"We have to be very happy with ourselves and are going to use this - as always - as a learning experience." Anna Capelliini and Luca Lanotte of Italy and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the US were fourth and fifth respectively in both the free dance and the final standings.