Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada celebrate their role in helping Team Canada win gold at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Yet Papadakis and her partner, Guillaume Cizeron, still came in second place with a final score of 81.93, behind Canada's Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue's score of 83.67. Every movement was synchronized, every element raw and emotional, and the only question left at the end was whether it would be enough.
The Shibutanis trailed teammates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue by two-hundredths of a point after the short dance, and their near-season-best free dance allowed them to make up the difference. "We'll probably make an announcement in the coming days, but for us we just want to enjoy this right now and let the dust settle and figure out what's next".
Skating to "The Seasons" by Russian composer Alexander Glazunov, the two had an early bobble on a lift when Virtue's blade hit a rut in the ice.
With the fear of exposure not an issue, Papadakis and Cizeron logged a tremendous 123.35 to give them 205.28 overall, their personal best.
The latest drugs scandal hit just after one of the high points of the Games - the gold medal-winning performance of Virtue and Moir to clinch victory in the ice dance.
"It was fantastic to finally have that Olympic moment because four years ago in Sochi we left with a lot of experience, but still yearning to have that really special moment on Olympic ice that we've grown up watching".
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Hours before they took stepped on the ice Tuesday, fans took to Twitter lamenting a career that, for them, was ending too soon.
"We're grateful for the legends that came before us, they really paved the way".
Virtue and Moir will now go down in history with the most medals all-time in Olympic figure skating with five.
"They're a once-in-a-generation talent, " said Patrice Lauzon, who along with his wife, Marie-France Dubreuil, coaches the Canadians and French at their school in Montreal.
In bronze, nearly 13 points behind, came American brother and sister act Maia and Alex Shibutani.
"Amazing. It was a special moment to come out last", said Virtue.
"I could never skate with someone else, the whole reason I wanted to be here again is to be close to Tess again and share those moments".
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"If it is the end we are extremely pleased with that", said Moir. And they've made sensuality practically a required element in the sometimes stuffy world of ice dance.
Papadakis and Cizeron were the new rivals on the scene, bringing a fresh, contemporary style that had won the judges over.
They finished it off exactly how they had imagined.
The French couple, whose wardrobe malfunction in the short dance made them a trending topic worldwide, drew the penultimate starting number for Tuesday's free dance.
Their score of 123.35 points was exactly what they needed to make a case for gold and it was the ideal response to the previous day, when the clasp behind Papadakis' neck on the halter-top portion of her costume came undone and her breast was exposed live on worldwide television.
Humphries will try to get into medal contention with brakeman Phylicia George with their final two runs Wednesday at 6:40 a.m. ET.
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