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Gabriella Papadakis, Guillaume Cizeron to miss world championships

Gabriella Papadakis, Guillaume Cizeron

Winners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France perform in the pairs Ice Dance Rhythm Dance event of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships at the Steiermark hall in Graz, Austria, on January 23, 2020. (Photo by BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by BARBARA GINDL/APA/AFP via Getty Images)

APA/AFP via Getty Images

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron will not defend their ice dance title at March’s world figure skating championships, with the French federation citing an inability to properly prepare amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A press release in French cited psychological wear and tear, the couple not competing for the last year and pandemic-related protocols including quarantine. Papadakis and Cizeron are the first medal-contending skaters to withdraw from worlds.

Papadakis said they revised goals and are focused on next season, climaxing with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Papadakis and Cizeron, who both contracted the virus in July and recovered, are four-time world champions and 2018 Olympic silver medalists behind now-retired Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

The French couple last competed at the January 2020 European Championships, meaning they could go more than 18 months between events if they do not compete again until next season.

Papadakis and Cizeron, who live and train in Quebec, have lost just once to a couple other than Virtue and Moir in the last six years -- to Russians Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov at those European Championships.

After the French and Russians, Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates are the only other active dance couples who own world championships medals.

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