OTTAWA, ON: In a citizenship ceremony today in Scarborough, Ont., ice dancer Piper Gilles became a Canadian citizen. This will allow Gilles, who skates with partner Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., to be eligible to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“We are pleased that Piper’s citizenship has been approved,” said Dan Thompson, CEO, Skate Canada. “This sets up an exciting battle in ice dance at the upcoming 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, as we have three Olympic placements for eligible teams, and this adds one more team into the very strong ice dance field competing for those spots.”
“I am very pleased to welcome Piper Gilles as one of our newest Canadian citizens,” said Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “As a new citizen, Piper will have the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, alongside her partner, Paul Poirier. On behalf of all Canadians, I welcome Piper to Canada and wish her and Paul the best of luck.”
“I have felt like a Canadian citizen for some time and I am extremely excited that it is now official,” said Gilles. “I’ve dreamed about competing in the Olympics my whole life and hope to be in Sochi next year. There is no bigger stage than the Olympics and it would be an honour to represent Canada in front of the entire world.”
Born in Illinois, Gilles moved to Canada in 2011 to train with her Canadian partner, Paul Poirier. Her mother, Bonnie Gilles, is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States.
Gilles and Poirier were silver medalists at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. The 2014 championships will take place in Ottawa from January 9-15 and will feature approximately 250 of Canada’s best figure skaters in the senior, junior and novice categories.
The championships will act as the final step in the 2014 Olympic qualification process. At the conclusion of the senior events on Sunday, January 12, Skate Canada will nominate the 17 member Olympic figure skating team to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) for selection to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Tickets for the 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships are available online at www.capitaltickets.ca, by phone at 1.877.788.FANS (3267) or 613.599.FANS (3267), or in person at the Canadian Tire Centre box office.