U.S. pair of Madison Chock, Evan Bates win first world ice dance title

SAITAMA, Japan -- Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States won their first ice dance title at the figure skating world championships on Saturday.

First after the rhythm dance, Chock and Bates finished first in the free dance at Saitama Super Arena with 134.07 points for a total of 226.1.

Reigning European champions Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy were second with 219.85 points while Grand Prix Final Champions Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada were third with 217.88.

"We've been pursuing this goal for so many years," Bates said. "It was exciting and stressful all at the same time. I know that the ice dance field is so competitive. We've competed against all these teams for so many years. We really just wanted to focus on ourselves and skate our best."

Chock and Bates, the three-time Four Continents champions , have been together for 12 years.

They won the silver medal at the 2015 world championships in Beijing, bronze in Boston in 2016 and bronze last year in Montpellier, France.

They have also competed at six Grand Prix Finals, winning four medals -- all silver.