June 5, 2023
Canadians Gilles and Poirier win ice dance gold at Skate Canada International |  CBC sport

Canadians Gilles and Poirier win ice dance gold at Skate Canada International | CBC sport

Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were so burned out after an Olympic season of isolation and dodging against COVID-19 that their six-week summer break was not just a choice, it was a necessity.

“It was what we needed to be able to continue,” said Poirier. “I guess otherwise we would have just…”

“We wouldn’t have come back,” Gilles said.

Gilles and Poirier made their season debut after the longest downtime of their careers, winning gold at Skate Canada International, the third of their careers. And they said they’ve never felt stronger.

“Absolutely,” Gilles said. “We are rested, we are mentally healthy, everything is exactly where it needs to be. We learned a lot from last year’s very stressful season, we really made sure we were ready and happy and had faith in ourselves, which I think helped.”

CLOCK | Gilles, Poirier conquer Ice Dance Gold:

Gilles and Poirier win Skate Canada International gold in ice dancing

The Canadian duo of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier achieved a score of 215.70 and placed 1st in the ice dance competition.

Gilles received 128.47 points for their passionate program to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita,” music they had considered skating to since the partnership began in 2011, scoring a total of 215.70 for gold.

Great Britain’s Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson took silver (209.18), while Canada’s Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha took bronze (195.49).

CLOCK | Lajoie, Lagha take bronze:

Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha win Bronze in Skate Canada International Ice Dance

Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha took the podium in the ice dancing competition with 195.49 points.

Gilles of Toronto and Poirier of Unionville, Ontario had considered retiring over the summer. It wasn’t until mid-July that they decided to move on. They hadn’t finished any choreography, nor selected any music. They skipped the early B-Circuit competitions, not knowing if they would be ready for the Grand Prix season.

It certainly wasn’t on display on Saturday when the 30-year-old roused the crowd at the Paramount Fine Foods Center.

“I think we absolutely had a blast performing ‘Evita’ for the first time,” said Gilles. “That was a very special moment. That’s why we’re really proud of everything we’ve accomplished today.”

Their second Grand Prix of the season will be held in Espoo, Finland from November 25th to 27th. Skaters will be matched with two Grands Prix, and the top six in each discipline will compete in the finals in December.

Watanabe wins women’s competition

Japan’s Rinka Watanabe won gold in women’s singles on a tough day for Canada’s Madeline Schizas and Gabrielle Daleman on Saturday.

Skating to the soundtrack of the Japanese TV show Jin, Watanabe opened with a triple axel – a jump that still eludes most skaters – to win the women’s singles title with a 197.59. It was her Grand Prix debut, at either junior or senior level.

“I was pretty nervous but I think I did pretty well so I’m really happy to have done well and solidly today,” she said.

Watanabe, who lived and trained in Vancouver from 2017 until returning to Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to add two triple axels to her free program at her next event.

CLOCK | Watanabe runs to gold:

Japan’s Rinka Watanabe takes gold at Skate Canada International

The Japanese figure skater slid to first place on the figure skating podium in the women’s free program after a flawless program.

It was a disastrous day for Schizas and Daleman, who were 2-1 after Friday’s short program.

Schizas, a 19-year-old from Oakville, Ontario, and the reigning Canadian champion, dropped to seventh place with 180.59. The last time she was skating and falling to music from the West Side Story soundtrack, she fell once and did a couple of landings on two legs.

“I knew exactly that there was a door wide open for me when it came to skating. How so good,” said Schizas. “I knew I could have won that event if I hadn’t fallen on my face on a double jump there.

“I didn’t think it would be that difficult. I knew full well that the door was open.

WATCH l Schizas led after the women’s short program:

Ontario’s Madeline Schizas leads Skate Canada International

Reigning Canadian Champion Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ontario won the women’s short program with a score of 67.90 at Skate Canada International in Mississauga, Ontario.

Schizas spotted a plastic flower holder on the ice during her broadcast, likely from a flower thrown at a previous skater and missed by the young skaters picking up flowers and stuffed animals. She considered stopping her program to resume it.

“But if you pause your program, how does everyone feel about your program performance?” She said.

Instead, she picked it up afterwards and brought it to the judges’ table.

“I didn’t slip on it, I just saw it. I just ran past it four times,” Schizas said. “About about the third or fourth jump in the program, I was like, oh god, there’s something,” she said. “But I’m not going to stand here and blame some stupid piece of plastic for my bad skate. I could have skated anyway. I just need to learn to focus a little bit more.

“I think I learned how to skate at those events, I just didn’t learn how to compete.”

“I fought for everything. I didn’t give up’

Daleman, a 24-year-old from Newmarket, Ontario, and a two-time Olympian looked on the cusp of a fabulous comeback after several tough seasons, but she fell on her third jump, a triple flip, and the program continued to unravel from there. She fell again and almost a third time to finish 10th (171.61).

“I’m disappointed. The practice was great. The warm-up was great. I was definitely nervous going into the race,” said Daleman, the 2017 bronze medalist. “But it’s my second competition. I can’t wait for it will be perfect. But I fought for everything. I didn’t give up. I might as well have dropped the program, but the audience was absolutely amazing.”

Starr Andrews of the USA scored 191.26 and took the silver, while You Young of South Korea, who also landed a triple axel, took the bronze (190.15).

Uno at the top of the men’s podium; Brass is 4th

Japan’s reigning world champion Shoma Uno overtook compatriot Kao Miura to win gold in the men’s singles, while Keegan Messing of Canada finished fourth.

In the men’s free program to wrap up the night, Miura, the leader after the short program, broke a skate lace before warming up and jumped onto the ice with just 30 seconds to go. The 17-year-old crashed his quad Salchow and fell back to silver with a 265.29.

Uno scored 273.15 for gold while Matteo Rizzo of Italy took bronze (251.03).

WATCH l Uno conquers gold:

Japan’s Shoma Uno takes gold at Skate Canada International

Japan’s Shoma Uno wins the men’s title at Skate Canada International with a total score of 273.15.

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won Japan’s first-ever Grand Prix doubles title with 212.02 points and placed first in the short program and free skate.

American duo Emily Chan and Spencer Howe took silver (186.48), while Italy’s Sara Conti and Niccolo Macci took home bronze with 186.18.

Canadians Benjamin Mimar and Brooke McInstosh, sister of star swimmer Summer, narrowly missed the podium in their senior Grand Prix debut with a fourth place finish. Fellow Canadians Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Ethier finished seventh (152.09).

WATCH l Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara Win Pairs Title:

Japan’s Miura and Kihara win doubles title at Skate Canada International

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan win pair gold at Skate Canada International with a total score of 212.02.

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