Beijing, China (December 9, 2023) – Canadian figure skaters captured three medals on the final day of the 2023 ISU Grand Prix Final in Beijing, China on Saturday with Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier capturing bronze in senior ice dance, while Ava Kemp and Yohnatan Elizarov took silver, and Jazmine Desrochers and Kieran Thrasher took bronze in the junior pair competition.
Gilles of Toronto, Ont., and Poirier of Unionville, Ont., the reigning Grand Prix Final champions, came into the competition as strong favourites after recording wins at Skate Canada International and the Cup of China but had to settle for bronze (213.58) after Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the USA skated flawlessly to win gold (221.61), and the Italian couple of Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri also stepped up their routine to capture silver (215.51).
“We’re very happy. We really lost ourselves in the program and over time this program is really starting to grow with us, and we’re learning how to push it out at certain points. It’s taken some time to really figure out where to go with it, and the more we perform it, the easier it’s gotten, and the easier it’s become to reflect our stories and everything we’re trying to emote on the ice,” said Gilles following the performance.
Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen of Montreal, Que., finished the day in fifth with a total score of 195.57, but gained a lot of experience for the rest of the season.
“Sometimes it’s just a little harder than others. I had a really hard time adjusting to the schedule here in China, I’ve slept pretty bad every night, so I think fatigue got to me a little bit,” said Soerensen. “We changed the program quite a bit since Finland, so we’re really happy with the direction it’s going. It’s moving in the right direction, and it’s a program we love so much. It’s the kind of story that we really enjoy telling on the ice.”
Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Saint-Hubert, Que., who were competing in their first senior Grand Prix Final, finished sixth with a total score of 193.63.
Kemp and Elizarov of Winnipeg, Man., and Desrochers of Mississauga, Ont., and Thrasher of Amherstburg, Ont., both skated season’s best performances to secure their silver (168.83) and bronze (156.33) medals respectively in the junior pair competition. Martina Ariano Kent of Mount Royal, Que., and Charly Laliberté-Laurent of Boucherville, Que., finished the day in fourth (150.70).
The Georgian team of Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava continued their dominance from the short program to win gold with a total score of 202.11.
“I feel good about that program. It’s the first program we’ve ever done internationally with two throw triples, and it’s a really stressful competition, so we’re really happy that we managed to bring those out,” said Elizarov. “Every competition we’ve been getting season’s bests and that’s really what you want. It doesn’t really matter for placement as long as you’re improving yourselves.”
Desrochers and Thrasher, who have been skating together for less than a year, were delighted with their free skate performance that scored 101.42 to move them up from fourth position to take bronze.
“We’re really happy with that skate. Our goal, other than the points, was just to show everyone that we can do a good free program because in the past on the international stage, we haven’t shown people that, so that was another goal we’ve accomplished at this competition,” said Thrasher.
Next up for Canadian skaters is the 2024 Canadian National Skating Championships taking place in Calgary, Alta., from Jan 8-14, 2024.
For full results please click here.