Virtue, Moir win ice dance at NHK to qualify for GP Final

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada set a record score to win the ice dance event at the NHK Trophy on Sunday and qualify for the figure skating Grand Prix Final.

The Canadians, first after the short program, finished with a combined total of 195.84 points, slightly edging the previous high of 195.52 set by Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the 2014 Olympics.

''Tessa and I always have been a team that doesn't really pay attention to the points,'' Moir said. ''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.''

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France were second with 186.66 points, followed by Anna Cappellini and Luna Lanotte of Italy with 180.42.

Virtue and Moir completed level 4 lifts, spins and twizzles and got a level 3 for their circular and diagonal step sequences.

In their return to competition this season, Virtue and Moir won the Autumn Classic in September and Skate Canada in October.

''It feels great to be back, we're excited to build on this momentum as we head into Grand Prix Final'', Virtue said.

Papadakis and Cizeron also qualified for the GP Final. The other teams to qualify are; Maia and Alex Shibutani, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States; Ekatrina Bobrova and Dimitri Soloviev of Russia.

The Grand Prix Final, which runs from Dec. 8-11 in Marseille, France, features the top six qualifiers in each discipline from the International Skating Union's Grand Prix series.

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