Gilles and Poirier Win Silver Medal at ISU Grand Prix

GRENOBLE, France – Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto won the silver medal on Saturday in ice dancing to conclude the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The top three from Friday’s rhythm dance remain unchanged. The 2020 world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took the gold with 221.25 points, Gilles and Poirier followed at 203.16 and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia were third at 200.29.

‘’This week was a success,’’ said Poirier. ‘’We didn’t have our strongest rhythm dance, but we felt like the free was really a great improvement. Our scores were lower this week so we are going to have to really listen to the feedback and see what we can to do raised them.’’

Along with their victory at Skate Canada International last month in Vancouver, Gilles and Poirier can book their ticket for the Grand Prix Final December 9-12 in Osaka, Japan.

‘’Qualifying for the Grand Prix final was very satisfying because that will be an important event for us leading up to the Olympic Games,’’ added Poirier. ‘’It gives us a lot of motivation.’’

In pairs, Canadians Vanessa James and Eric Radford took fourth spot, just over five points from the podium with 196.34, their best score since they formed a new partnership in April and in their four international events this season.

Russia was 1-2 with Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii first at 216.96 and Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev second at 205.15. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the U.S. were third at 201.69.

Third after the short, James and Radford needed to reset at the start of their long when the wrong music started playing. Unbothered, they delivered a scintillating program until near the end when a lift attempt was aborted.

Yuma Kagiyama of Japan maintained his lead in the men’s event to win gold with 286.41. His compatriot Shun Sato was second at 264.99 and Jason Brown of the U.S. was third at 264.20.

Canada’s Keegan Messing maintained his sixth place producing a season best free skate to finish with 253.06. He touched his hand down on his first quad, then successfully landed the second in combination and also landed two triple Axels, also with one in combination.

He is pleased with his progress after a slow start to the season.

‘’It was a fairly good event for me,’’ said Messing, sixth at the world championships last season. ‘’After Skate Canada my coach and I took a hard look at the long program and decided to switch things around a little bit… and you know what, I think we have a system that will work for the rest of the season.’’

World champion Anna Shcherbakova led Russia to a 1-2 finish with Alena Kostornaia second. Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi prevented a Russian medal sweep moving from sixth after the short for the bronze. There were no Canadian entries.

The next stop on the circuit is this upcoming Friday and Saturday in Sochi, Russia.

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