French ice dancers to skip Europeans because of virus risk

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron will not skate for a sixth European Championship title next week because they are wary of the coronavirus disrupting their Olympic preparations, the French ice sports federation said Thursday.

Papadakis and Cizeron are skipping the Jan. 10-16 event in Estonia “to protect themselves from COVID in view of the Olympic Games in Beijing, their ultimate goal,” the federation wrote on Twitter.

Papadakis and Cizeron won five consecutive European titles from 2015-19 and are also four-time world champions and Olympic silver medalists. They lost to Russian ice dancers Victoria Katsalapov and Nikita Katsalapov for the 2020 European title but haven’t competed against them since.

Papadakis and Cizeron are not the only competitors skipping Olympic tune-ups with one eye on Beijing. Japan is not sending any of its Olympic team to the Four Continents Championships this month, also in Estonia, and has instead entered lower-ranked skaters from its recent national championships.

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