Tag Archive for: Élisabeth Paradis

Weaver and Poje win bronze at ISU Four Continents

TAIPEI CITY – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the bronze medal Friday in ice dancing at the ISU Four Continents Championships while Patrick Chan of Toronto stands fifth after the men’s short program.

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje

In ice dancing, the Americans finished 1-2. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani took the gold with 181.62 points and Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the world championship silver medallists, followed at 174.64.

Weaver and Poje, the defending champions, followed at 173.85.

“We didn’t have our strongest skate,” said Weaver. “We fought through, we didn’t let it discourage us. Most days things come together for us but some days it doesn’t. Today was one of those. We’re still happy to go home with a bronze medal and we know we are capable of being the best.”

Poje says the result just fires them up even more for the next month’s world championships in Boston.

“We are going to use this as a learning experience,” he said. “We are going to make sure we get out the little stumbles and bumps out of the program. We plan to go into Boston full of confidence and full of energy.”

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were fifth and Elisabeth Paradis of Loretteville, Que., and François-Xavier Ouellette of Laval, Que.,were sixth.

In the men’s short program, Boyang Jin of China stands first at 98.45 with Shoma Uno of Japan second at 92.99 and Han Yan of China third at 89.57. Takahito Mura of Japan is fourth at 89.08 followed by Chan at 86.22, a season’s best in international competition.

‘’I haven’t felt comfortable in training all week,’’ said Chan, who sat out last season. ‘’Considering that, I’m really happy with the skate, staying on feet, playing it smart and not making major mistakes. Staying in the final group for the free skate was also important.’’

Chan, a three-time world champion, says he is following his game plan.

‘’This season I want to take my time, be methodical. So far every competition it has been getting better,’’ he said.

Liam Firus of North Vancouver is 14th and Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., 20th.

Competition continues Saturday with the free skates in pairs and women’s competition.

Full results: ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Meet the Senior Ice Dancers


Kaitlyn and Andrew were riding a perfect season last year before settling for bronze at the ISU World Championships. The two-time world medallists and defending Canadian champions have been members of the national team for a decade. In fact, Halifax holds a special place in the hearts – they made their debut in Canada at the 2007 Canadian championships in the Maritime city, finishing third behind Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon (gold) and Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir (silver).

DID YOU KNOW: Kaitlyn and Andrew are both taking classes at the University of Waterloo – Kaitlyn is studying public relations and media, and Poje is focused on biomedical science.


Since teaming together in 2011, Gilles and Poirier have established themselves as one of Canada’s top ice dance tandems. The three-time Canadian medallists display a high level of artistry in their programs and despite facing injury issues in recent seasons, remain energetic crowd pleasers thanks to their creative lifts and extraordinary performance ability. Away from the rink, Piper is immersed in the fashion world, and does much of the outfit design for their programs. One day, she hopes to launch her own line of sports clothing.

FUN FACT: Piper was an extra in a Simple Plan music video; Paul, meanwhile, admits he is “really bad” at parking cars.


The three-time Canadian bronze medallists have new coaches, who just happen to be their skating idols: Olympians and two-time world silver medallists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. Earlier this year, Paul and Islam, who represented Canada at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic games, placed second at the Nebelhorn Trophy and will be looking for their fourth podium finish since 2011 at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

FUN FACT: Alexandra is a big fan of the show Gilmore Girls, and figure she has watched the entire series at least five times; if Mitch is watching TV, he is usually tuned in to Mad Men.


Teaming up in 2010, this personable tandem are making their way up the Canadian ice dance ranks, highlighted by a bronze-medal finish at 2015 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. And they are likely only to get better as they continue to train under former Olympians and two-time ice dance world silver medallists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

FUN FACT: Elisabeth plays the tenor saxophone in her spare time while François likes to do some heavy lifting by renovating houses.

Élisabeth Paradis and François-Xavier Ouellette dancing into their own spotlight

If there is one lesson that ice dancers Élisabeth Paradis and François-Xavier Ouellette have learned in the past few months, it is that every day that they step on the ice, they must push themselves to be better, no matter what.

No matter the disappointments. No matter the heady competition out there beyond the walls of their training centre. No matter the chances they missed. No matter that before this year, nobody had really heard of them. In the end, it hasn’t mattered at all.

Now their performances – and their story – are bringing people to tears. Their free dance? They skate to Ginette Reno’s “Un peu plus haut,” an uplifting song that coach/choreographer Marie-France Dubreuil heard at the 2010 Olympics. Right then, she knew it would make a great free dance. But it’s taken one or two years for Paradis and Ouellette to be able to handle this music. “This year, we thought we were good enough,” Paradis said.

When they performed it at Skate Canada International in Kelowna, B.C., people stood, having witnessed a brush of pink and grey moving joyfully from one pretty position to the next. The 2010 Olympic champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were watching, too, on the sidelines. “Oh my god,” Virtue said. “It was an incredible program. That must have been my favourite of the night. It really made an impact.”

“’Un peu plus haut’ is really almost like our story,” Paradis said. “The couple is aiming for more and trying to reach higher and higher.”

Virtue and Moir had already seen Paradis and Ouellette at the national training camp in September. “We really liked them at the camp, too,” Moir said.

The fact that they were even at the camp was a miracle, a break. They weren’t actually on the national team, having finished eighth at the previous Canadian championship and seventh the year before that. Yet after finishing fifth at Cup of Nice a year ago, with good scores, Skate Canada invited them to the camp.

They were beaming, just to be there, at the camp. Cup of Nice had been their first international competition, because they never had any Junior Grand Prix assignments. They were always on the cusp. “We were in junior two years and they were some really strong years, with all the novice teams from B.C. moving up to juniors, and so we didn’t get our chance,” Paradis said. They are now both 22 years old.

They were busily training at the rink, when their friends and training mates, Sara Hurtado and Adrian Diaz (of Spain) called them to tell them that they had been given the Skate Canada International, same as them. They thought it was a joke. But it wasn’t. “We were really grateful to Skate Canada to give us that chance, like they trust that we are going to do a good job,” Paradis said.  They had been hoping to get a Grand Prix next season.

Only about a week and a half before Skate America, they found out they were going to Chicago, too, after the Reeds had pulled out with an injury. They had just returned from Nebelhorn Trophy where they had been fifth. “Good thing we didn’t take any time off,” Paradis said.

Eighth after the short dance, with nerves making their legs feel like spaghetti, Paradis and Ouellette surprised everybody by finishing fourth in the free skate and fourth overall at their first Grand Prix.

“Skate America was our first experience at a grand prix,” Ouellette said. “It was new and exciting. We had a lot of fun there, just doing the practices, just enjoying the moment. I think both of us were a little bit nervous before the short dance, so we were very happy that we stayed on our feet. But we were well prepared.”

They were more relaxed in the free. They knew what level they would face, because they train with strong teams in Quebec.

The national championships prepared them for the experience at Skate Canada International. “It was so nice just to get on the warm-up and everybody was cheering, whoa!” Paradis said. “And Canadian flags were everywhere. It’s really cool. “

Paradis and Ouellette began to skate together four years ago, when both previous partners decided to quit. Ouellette had been working with former ice dancer Pascal Denis, who took the young skater with him when he moved to work at Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon’s school in Montreal. Paradis used to train in Quebec City, so she had to make a move to Montreal to skate with Ouellette.

“It was a really easy decision for me, because Xavier was the best skater I could think of in the province of Quebec,” Paradis said. They were among the first students at Dubreuil and Lauzon’s school, which has steadily filled up with a cast of strong international skaters. “We are a big family and it’s really fun,” Ouellette said.

“She teaches us to become real champions,” Paradis said, speaking of Dubreuil. “Because that’s what they were, a lot more than just on the ice.”

Buoyed by confidence, their performances of the free dance are markedly different between Nebelhorn Trophy and Skate Canada International. In Kelowna, they painted a beautiful tableau. Their goal is to learn from every competition, to improve every day. That mindset has brought them this far.

“One year from now was our first international,” Paradis said. “Now we are doing our second grand prix. It was not so easy when we were junior, getting nothing. We came from the bottom but we kept working hard. We are not substitutes anymore.”