(Reuters) – Canada’s Deanna Stellato-Dudek became the oldest athlete to win a figure skating Grand Prix competition, at the age of 39, when she took first place with Maxime Deschamps in the pairs event in Angers, France, on Saturday.

Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps topped the podium with an overall score of 185.84 in the Grand Prix de France and qualified for the GP final in Turin on Dec. 8-11.

“This is the experience that we need to gain to be the type of team we want to be. We’re very excited to qualify for the final and very proud of our fight in the long program,” Stellato-Dudek told reporters.

Stellato-Dudek, the 2000 world junior silver medallist, came back from a 16-year break six years ago after a string of hip injuries and a fractured ankle forced her to quit figure skating at the age of 17.

While on a team-building retreat as part of her job at a plastic surgery office, she realised she was not ready to quit the sport for good and retrieved her dusty skates from her parents’ basement to revive the dream of an Olympic medal win.

(Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk; editing by Clare Fallon)





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