Canadian Pair and Ice Dance Teams Golden again at Cup of China

Chongqing, China (November 11, 2023) – It was a golden weekend for Canadian ice dance skaters Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier and pair skaters Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps who both won gold again at the ISU Grand Prix Cup of China that wrapped up Saturday in Chongqing, China. Both teams also won gold at Skate Canada International in early November.

Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha also captured silver in the ice dance competition. All three teams have now qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final which will take place in Beijing, China in early December.

Gilles of Toronto, Ont., and Poirier of Unionville, Ont., were sitting in second behind Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Lagha of Saint-Hubert, Que., after the rhythm dance on Friday, but rebounded on Saturday with a strong free dance to score 126.79 points for a total of 207.83 points to win the gold.

“It was an interesting week here,” said Gilles. “The rhythm dance didn’t go as planned which was costly, but I think what we were really going for was stronger energy and a stronger performance – I think I got a little carried away with that and mistakes happened, but I think we’re really proud of what we did overall. There is still more we can do technically to prepare for Beijing but we’re really happy.”

Lajoie and Lagha set new personal best scores for both their rhythm and free skates to total 206.02 points – winning their second silver medal on the ISU Grand Prix circuit this season. Caroline Green and Michael Parsons of the USA took the bronze with a total score of 189.33.

“It was a great week for us,” said Lajoie. “The rhythm dance was pretty amazing, we were very, very happy. The free dance was a bit more challenging but we’re happy with how we handled it. Overall, it was a very good week for us.”

Stellato-Dudek of Chicago, USA and Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., battled through fatigue to win their third straight gold medal of the season in the pair competition with a total score of 201.48. Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini of Italy captured silver (191.00), while Cheng Peng and Lei Wang of China took bronze (178.06).

“It’s been a long three weeks, and everything was a fight today. This week was to test our mental and physical strength since I knew it was going to be difficult, and it was,” laughed Stellato-Dudek following the competition.

Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., finished fifth in the women’s competition with a total score of 179.58. Hana Yoshida and Rinka Watanabe of Japan had a battle for gold with Yoshida taking the win after she set a new personal best score in the free skate to take the win by just 0.75 points. Her final total score was 203.97 to Watanabe’s 203.22. Loena Hendrickx of Belgium was in the lead after the short program but fell to third after her free program to end the day with a total score of 201.49.

Next up for Canadian skaters on the ISU Grand Prix circuit is the Grand Prix Espoo taking place in Espoo, Finland from November 17-19, 2023.

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