Tag Archive for: Piper Gilles/ Paul Poirier

Gilles and Poirier Take Fifth Spot at ISU World Figure Skating Championships®

MONTPELLIER, France – Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto placed fifth in ice dancing Saturday to conclude the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Olympic champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took the gold with 229.82 points. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. were second at 222.39 and their compatriots Madison Chock and Evan Bates third at 216.83.

The top-five remained unchanged after Friday’s rhythm dance as Gilles and Poirier totalled 202.70.

‘’It was especially satisfying to end the season with a skate on our terms,’’ said Poirier. ‘’The Olympic free dance didn’t go the way we wanted for us. It was important do the last performance of the season the way we know we can do it.’’

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Montreal were ninth and Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., 11th.

Sorensen injured his back in training earlier in the week and it came back to haunt him near the end of the free dance.

‘’We started out well,’’ said Sorensen. ‘’All the things we’d been working on since the Olympics worked out great. But two thirds of the way in I couldn’t really find my legs, so I had trouble at the end. It’s unfortunate but it happens.’’

Lajoie and Lagha were 14th at the worlds last year and 13th at the Olympics.

‘’The most difficult thing was to keep the motivation after a disappointing rhythm dance,’’ said Lagha. ‘’We’ve always been a strong team mentally and I think we showed that tonight.’’

Olympic bronze medallist Shoma Uno led Japan to a 1-2 finish in men’s competition. Yuma Kajiyama, the silver medallist in Beijing, was second and Vincent Zhou of the U.S. was third.

Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., produced the ninth best free skate to surge from 18th after the short program to 12th overall. Canadian champion Keegan Messing was 14th.

‘’Compared to my performance at the Olympics this was night and day,’’ said Sadovsky. ‘’I’m really proud of how I handled the pressure here. I know there’ll be better moments to come.’’

Canada ends the competition with one bronze medal won by Vanessa James and Eric Radford in pairs on Thursday.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/wc2022/

Schizas 12th, Gilles and Poirier Fifth After Rhythm Dance at ISU World Figure Skating Championships®

MONTPELLIER, France – Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., took 12th spot in women’s competition Friday while Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto stand fifth after the rhythm dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships®

Olympic bronze medallist Kaori Sakamoto of Japan won the women’s gold with Loena Hendrickx of Belgium second and Alysa Liu of the U.S. third.

Schizas ranked 10th in both Thursday’s short program and the free skate, but she still dropped slightly in the standings.

‘’I’m happy with my skates,’’ said Schizas, 19th in her Olympic debut last month. ‘’This is the kind of scores and performances I’ve put out this year.’’

Canada iced three entries in ice dancing. After the rhythm dance, Gilles and Poirier stand fifth, Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Montreal eighth and Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., 13th.

Olympic champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France set a ‘’new record score’’ for the rhythm dance with 92.73. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. are second at 89.72 and their compatriots Madison Chock and Evan Bates third at 87.51.

‘’We are a little disappointed in the scores today,’’ said Gilles, who received 80.79 with her partner. ‘’We feel like we performed it almost at our best. We did make some changes since the Olympics and maybe not having those totally under our belt may have hurt us a bit.’’

Competition ends Saturday with the men’s free skate and the free dance.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/wc2022/

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.

http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/gpfra2021/

Gilles and Poirier Stand Second After Rhythm Dance at ISU Grand Prix

GRENOBLE, France – In what is their biggest test so far this season, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are in second place after the rhythm dance at the 2021 Internationaux de France, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The Toronto ice dancers, victorious at their first two international events this season including Skate Canada International in Vancouver last month, trail 2020 world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France first with 89.08 points.

Gilles and Poirier, the 2021 world championship bronze medallists, earned 81.35 with their skate to Elton John music while Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia are third at 79.89.

‘’We are on the mission here this year to qualify for the Grand Prix final,’’ said Poirier. ‘’The changes we made after Skate Canada International seemed to work. The scores are not where we want them to be, but we are looking forward to the free skate.’’

Meanwhile first-year partners Vanessa James of Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., produced their best short program this season to stand third in pairs with 71.84.

Russia is 1-2 with Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii first at 77.17 and Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev second at 73.02.

“We made a few changes because we had a problem with how it was laid out,’’ said Radford about the short program. ‘’It’s a little bit more seamless now. The results showed that it was the right choice.”

In the men’s short program, Yuma Kagiyama of Japan dominated the field with 100.64 points. Only 5.29 points separate second from seventh. Deniss Vasiljevs of Latvia is second at 89.76 and Jason Brown of the U.S. third at 89.39.

Canada’s Keegan Messing didn’t land his quad toe or tripe-triple combo cleanly and stands sixth at 85.03, still within striking distance of the podium.

‘’It was a tough go of it, my legs felt a little bit shaky out there,’’ said Messing, at his third international event this season and second Grand Prix. ‘’I fought for every point and focused on continuing the performance. All in all, I can walk away with my head held high and I’ll get them in the long.’’

Russians stand 1-2-3 after the women’s short program. World champion Anna Shcherbakova is first, Alena Kostornaia second and Kseniia Sinitsyna third. There are no Canadian entries.

Competition ends Saturday with all four free skates.

http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/gpfra2021/

Five Canadians Set to Participate in the Fifth ISU Grand Prix Event

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will have three entries for a total of five skaters competing at the 2021 Internationaux de France in Grenoble, France. Canada will have one entry in men, one entry in pairs and one entry in ice dance. This is the fifth event in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and the event takes place from November 19 to 21, 2021.    

Keegan Messing, 29, Girdwood, Alaska, USA will be the lone Canadian entry in men. Messing finished fourth at the 2021 Finlandia trophy and recently placed fifth at the 2021 Skate Canada International. He is coached by Ralph Burghart in Anchorage, Alaska, USA. 

National pairs team, Vanessa James, 34, Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford, 36, Balmertown, Ont., will be the only Canadian entry in pairs. They finished fourth at the 2021 Skate Canada International and garnered a silver medal at the 2021 Autumn Classic International. This is their first season competing together internationally. They are coached by Julie Marcotte in Montreal, Que. 

Ice dance team Piper Gilles, 29, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier 30, Unionville, Ont., will be the sole Canadian entry in ice dance. So far in 2021, they have placed first in both the 2021 Skate Canada International and 2021 Autumn Classic International. They are coached by Carol Lane, Juris Razgulajevs and Jon Lane in Scarborough, Ont.   

Dr. Shae Zukiwsky, Senior Director, Performance Excellence and Manon Perron, Skate Canada High Performance Advisor will be the team leaders at the event.  Dr. Lee Schofield of Toronto, Ont., and physiotherapist Mike McMurray of Oak Bluff, Man., will be the medical staff onsite. Cynthia Benson of Quispamsis, N.B., and Nicole LeBlanc-Richard., of Dieppe, N.B., will be the Canadian officials for the event.  

 

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT INTERNATIONAUX DE FRANCE 2021 – GRENOBLE, FRNACE 

MEN 

Keegan Messing (29) / Girdwood, Alaska, USA / Ice Palace FSC / Coached by Ralph Burghart 

PAIRS 

Vanessa James (34) and Eric Radford (36) / Scarborough, Ont., and Balmertown, Ont. / EPJM and C.P.A. Saint Leonard / Coached by Julie Marcotte 

ICE DANCE 

Piper Gilles (29) and Paul Poirier (30) / Toronto, Ont. / and Unionville, Ont. / Ice Dance Elite, Scarboro FSC / Coached by Carol Lane, Juris Razgulajevs, Jon Lane 

Gilles and Poirier Take the Road to Gold at Skate Canada International

VANCOUVER – The long and winding road led to gold for Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier as they won the ice dance competition on Saturday at Skate Canada International, the second stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

Skating to the Beatles classic, the Toronto duo enthralled the crowd at UBC totalling 210.97 points less than four points off their personal best set in a bronze medal performance at the world championships in March. Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy were second at 200.05 and Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz of Spain third at 192.83.

‘’The free dance was a little more shaky than our short program,’’ said Poirier. ‘’We have some nerves to work through, but this is really a big step forward moving through the rest of the Grand Prix season.’’

Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., were sixth and Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C. 10th.

‘’We didn’t get the score we wanted but that ovation from the crowd at the end that for me was really awesome,’’ said Lajoie.

In pairs, Canadians Vanessa James and Eric Radford came within less than two points from the podium finishing fourth with 187.92 points.

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China took the gold with 224.05, Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin of Russia were second at 193.08 and Ashley Cain -Gribble and Timothy Leduc of the U.S. climbed from sixth after the short to third with 189.90.

First year partners James and Radford were less than three points off their best score set earlier this month at the Finlandia Trophy.

‘’Aspects of our program grew and improved, aspects of certain elements that we focused on after Finlandia improved but certain other elements need improvement,’’ said Radford.

‘’This is a step up,’’ added James. ‘’A lot of the transition elements are better, but we are still working on getting that clean program.’’

Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were sixth and Lori-Anne Matte and Thierry Ferland of Levis, Que., were seventh.

In men’s competition, Nathan Chen of the U.S. was the only skater in the top group to deliver a clean program and he won the gold outright landing four quads and totalling 307.18 points. Jason Brown of the U.S. was second at 259.55 and Evgeni Semenenko of Russia moved from fifth to third with 256.01.

Canada’s Keegan Messing struggled in his free skate and dropped from third to fifth overall with 238.34. Conrad Orzel of Woodstock, Ont., couldn’t gain ground with the sixth best free skate and remained ninth and Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., was 12th.

‘’I was pretty disappointed I wasn’t able to give the performance I wanted to today,’’ said Messing, sixth at the world championships this past March. ‘’After my fall I felt a bit shaky but I tried to forget about it. I’m just going to put my best foot forward towards the next competition.’’

Orzel was determined to bounce back after a subpar short.

‘’I was disappointed about my short program, so it was great to come back in the long and do two quad toes in the free skate,’’ said Orzel, 21, in his season debut. ‘’Although there were some mistakes, I was happy with the general performance.’’

Russia swept the medals in women’s competition with Kamila Valieva first, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva second and Alena Kostornaia third.

Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., was eighth, Emily Bausback of Vancouver 11th and Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., 12th.

‘’I was really happy with my free program today,’’ said Schizas, 18, 13th at the 2021 worlds. ‘’My coaching team and I made a lot of changes since my last competition to make the second half of the program more successful and that reflected in my performance today.’’

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/gpcan2021/

Gilles and Poirier First After Rhythm Dance at Skate Canada International

VANCOUVER – Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto are in first place after Friday’s rhythm dance at Skate Canada International, the second stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

Skating to music by Elton John, Gilles and Poirier notched a personal best international score of 85.65 bettering the 83.92 set at the ISU Four Continents in early 2020. In their bright orange suits they wowed the crowd with a smooth program and were awarded level four marks for their sequential twizzles and rotational lift.

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy are second at 78.82 and Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz of Spain third at 76.97.

‘’We haven’t really been conscious of having a target on our back,’’ said Poirier, third with his partner at last spring’s world championships. ‘’Our focus is on the Olympics and getting a medal there. We are very aware of all the places we need to improve – we need to focus on the work we need to do on ourselves.’’

Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., are sixth and Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C. are 10th.

The Americans are 1-2 in men’s competition after the short. World champion Nathan Chen stands first with 106.72 and Jason Brown is second at 94.00. Canada’s Keegan Messing is third ahead of two Russians at 93.28.

Messing nailed his his quad toe triple toe combo to open his program, turned slightly on his triple Axel landing and executed a solid triple Lutz.

‘’It’s great to be back on the circuit but I forgot the pressure that comes with it,’’ said Messing, sixth at the world championships. ‘’I was very thankful to go out there and put down a clean skate.’’

Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., is ninth and Roman Sadovsky of Vaughn, Ont., is 10th.

In pairs, Canadians are within striking distance of the podium after the short program.

Two-time Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., are fourth at 66.43 just ahead of the new pairs team of Vanessa James of Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., in fifth at 65.02. Lori-Anne Matte and Thierry Ferland of Levis, Que., are seventh at 57.25.

‘’We were so excited to skate in front of a crowd,’’ said Moore-Towers. ‘’But we may have gotten a little bit too excited, and we got a little bit ahead of ourselves in parts of the program.’’

James and Radford, in their first season together, bring a lot of experience to the table but there is still an important adaptation period.

‘’We still need mileage and time in competition,’’ said James, who joined forces with Radford in April. ‘’Our practices are going very, very well. We’re learning a lot about how the other reacts in competition and what changes a little bit when we are under stress.’’

Olympic silver medallist Wenjing Sui and Cong Hang of China are first at 78.94, Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin of Russia are second at 69.46 and Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert of Germany third at 67.93.

Russia stands 1-2-3 in women’s competition after the short. Kamila Valieva is first, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva second and Alena Kostornaia third.

Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., is ninth, Emily Bausback of Vancouver 10th and Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., 11th.

‘’I’m very happy with my skate today it was one of my better ones,’’ said Bausback, 19, the reigning Canadian champion, who set a season’s best 59.53. ‘’Getting the energy from the crowd really helped me perform and I felt I made a connection with them.’’

Competition ends Saturday with the four free skates.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/gpcan2021/

Gilles and Poirier Open International Season with Victory at Autumn Classic International

PIERREFONDS, Que. – Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto opened their international season Saturday with a victory to conclude the Autumn Classic International figure skating competition.

The world championship bronze medallists earned 208.97 points for top spot with Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz of Spain second at 191.31 and Caroline Green and Michael Parsons of the U.S. third at 188.43.

‘’We’re very pleased with the way both programs went,’’ said Poirier. ‘’We didn’t try to force things or have that perfect skate. We just want to get everything sharper and we’re really excited to deliver such a strong showing and show that we keep improving.’’

Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., the 2019 world junior champions, totalled 181.74 for fourth.

‘’We’re really happy with the free dance and we didn’t hold back,’’ said Lagha. ‘’During the off season we really worked on our skating skills and made some needed changes to our programs.’’

Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver were fifth and Haley Sales of Kelowna, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C. took sixth.

In an all-Canadian men’s event, Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., took the gold with 207.31 points, Bennet Toman of Brampton, Ont., was second at 172.33 and Beres Clements of Gibson, B.C., third at 153.48.

After landing two quads in the short on Friday, Orzel couldn’t execute them cleanly in the free skate and he also fell on one of his triple Axels.

‘’There’s some good takeaways from this competition despite a really bad long,’’ said Orzel, 21, sixth at this event in 2019. ‘’There’s no way of sugar coating it, it was not what I had been showing in practice. But it helps me re-evaluate how I should prepare when I compete.’’

Besides Saturday’s four medals, Canada also won a silver in pairs with Vanessa James and Eric Radford on Friday.

Full results: https://results.skatecanada.ca/2021ACI/

Gilles & Poirier claim bronze medal, Canada adds two more top-eight finishes on final day in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Consider it mission accomplished for Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.

Arriving in Sweden with their sights clearly set on a podium finish at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the reigning Canadian ice dance champions delivered when it mattered most Saturday, and now they’ll return to Canada with bronze medals draped around their necks.

Gilles and Poirier performed a spellbinding free dance to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, scoring a personal best 130.98 score for a 214.35 total, also a personal best, to claim their first world championships medal.

Starting the day less than two points off the podium, Gilles and Poirier’s riveting skate lifted them into third spot, less than half a point behind silver medallists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. (214.71). Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (FSR) won gold with 221.17.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with what we did today,” said Gilles. “Having a crazy season, like everyone else…but I’m so proud that we pushed through. We didn’t let the uncertainty of everything get in the way. We just love to perform and skate, and I think that came out on the ice today.”

“I’m sort of at a loss for words,” added Poirier. “It’s been a very long time for us, this is our eighth world championships together, and being able to accomplish this just feels like a nice relief.”

“I’m sure once we’ve had time to process it as well, and be home with the rest of our team, as well as our family and friends, I think it will feel that much more real. What we’ve been able to accomplish today is the product of so many people’s effort, and we want to be able to celebrate that with them.”

Making their first international start since the fall of 2019, Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen of Montreal, Que. scored 119.01 in their free dance to place eighth with a 196.88 total.

Marjorie Lajoie (Boucherville, Que.) and Zachary Lagha (Saint-Hubert, Que.), the 2019 world junior champions, had an impressive senior world championships debut, finishing 14th at 180.71.

In the men’s competition, Keegan Messing racked up 176.75 points in his free program to finish sixth with a 270.26 total, a new personal best. The showing was Messing’s best in three appearances at the world championships and guaranteed Canada two men’s spots for next year’s Olympic Winter Games.

Messing was the lone member of the Canadian team with an international competition this season, dedicating his bronze medal at Skate America to his Canadian teammates in October.

As his free program ended Saturday, he pointed to his teammates in the stands, pumped his fist in the air several times and placed his hand over his heart. As he waited in the kiss and cry for his marks, Messing looked into the camera and spoke to his best friend and teammate, Nam Nguyen, back in Canada.

“We did it together. We did it. Love you, buddy,” he said.

“I feel absolutely incredible,” added Messing minutes later. “To be able to go out there and to put that kind of program out. I said before coming here that Nam and I were going to do this together, and together we did it. He was there with me, backstage, on the ice, and gave me the strength to push through this program. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Nathan Chen of the United States, in third spot after the short program, scored 222.03 in a flawless free program that featured five quads to win his third straight men’s world title with 320.88.

For Fournier Beaudry and Sørensen, it was a triumphant return to the international stage. Not only did the pandemic wipe out this past season, but they missed the entire 2020 campaign as Sørensen recovered from knee surgery.

“We just wanted to dance and give some hope to everybody,” said Fournier Beaudry. “We’re so proud to be here representing Canada.”

“We’re just really grateful and so happy to be part of this amazing team,” added Sørensen.

Team Canada left Sweden with a medal and three other top-eight showings. Earlier in the week, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro placed sixth in the pair event.

Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud were 12th in pair, while 2020 Canadian women’s bronze medallist Madeline Schizas placed 13th in her world championships debut. Emily Bausback, the 2020 Canadian women’s champion, missed qualifying for the women’s free program by less than two points.

To see final results, please visit the ISU website.

Gilles, Poirier ready to seize the moment in Stockholm


Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier feel this is their time.

The reigning Canadian ice dance champions head into this week’s ISU World Figure Skating Championships ready to make a run at the podium, 17 months after celebrating their first ISU Grand Prix title at the 2019 Skate Canada International in Kelowna, B.C.

A few months later, after seven podium finishes in eight years at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, Gilles and Poirier left nationals with gold medals draped around their necks for the first time.

Now, after a challenging 14-month hiatus from the international scene caused by the pandemic – including the cancellation of the 2020 world championships in Montreal – Gilles and Poirier can’t wait to press play and resume the next chapter of their story.

“I think right now, we kind of feel we’ve earned that spot to be the number one (Canadian) team,” Gilles told reporters shortly before leaving for Stockholm. “To be honest, it doesn’t feel much different. It does help knowing we’re going in as national champions. I think we’re more proud and more confident having that title.

“At this point, Paul and I know what we need to do. I think we just need to expect the unexpected and do our job.”

“We’re so excited after almost 14 months of not competing to finally get back out there,” added Poirier. “We’ve been very clear throughout all of last season and this season that our goal is to be on the world podium. We’ve done all the training required to do that.”

Gilles and Poirier, one of three Canadian ice dance teams at these world championships, have assumed a leadership role for the national team. With several Team Canada skaters making their worlds debut, including women’s competitors Madeline Schizas and Emily Bausback, the pair tandem of Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud as well as fellow ice dancers Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, Gilles and Poirier are excited to help guide their younger teammates through this first world championships experience.

“It’s an absolute honour to be even considered the leaders,” said Gilles. “I feel like even at events the past couple of years, we started to feel like we are moving into that leadership role a little bit. You know your journey and how you’ve got to this point, and it’s really cool to see the young ones come in and begin their journey and figure out their way.”

Gilles and Poirier know the importance of mentors. They came up during an unforgettable era in Canadian ice dancing, led by the legendary tandem of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and three-time Canadian champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.

The reigning Canadian champions have taken the torch and are grateful for the paths their predecessors blazed for them.

“I think it’s hard to know how exactly your career trajectory would have been different should some or other people not have been there, but I think in the end, I don’t think we would change the way that we approach our skating, the way that we approach our selection of our music, the way that we present ourselves, the artistic choices that we make,” said Poirier. “I think those are so quintessentially us.”

“We had some great role models,” added Gilles. “We’ve learned a lot from those guys (Virtue and Moir, Weaver and Andrew Poje). They’ve really been leaders for so long, it’s been nice to watch them and figure out how they’ve dealt with it and managed. Every athlete has their own journey. They were a part of ours.

“Now it’s our time.”

The 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships get underway Wednesday, March 24. For start orders and results, please visit the ISU website.

 

 

 

 

Athlete Spotlight: Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier

Piper Gilles

Q: What is the best advice that you were given?
Piper: Don’t change the person

Q: Who is your biggest motivation?
Piper: My Mom

Q: Who is your celebrity crush?
Piper: Chris Hemsworth

Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Piper: People who leave the tooth paste cap off

Q: What fictional character would you like to meet in real life?
Piper: Regina George

Paul Poirier

Q: What’s your go to song to get pumped up for training or a competition?
Paul: I don’t have a special pump-up song, but for our first two seasons I would send a link to the “Blitzkrieg Bop” to Piper before every competition.

Q: What is your favourite place in the world and why?
Paul: Libraries!

Q: What’s your favourite emoji?
Paul: 🤡

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Paul: When people expect everything to be done for them by others.

Q: What song would be the theme song for your life?
Paul: You Learn, by Alanis Morissette. Also the Annie’s Edges music that I’ve done stroking too way too many times.

Gilles and Poirier team up with European street musicians for “program for the people”

by Jennifer Baker

This competition season, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, two veteran Olympic competitive figure skaters, will be bringing something special to the ice with a free skate program in September. Calling it “a program for the people,” the free skate is a creation envisioned straight from their hearts.

To achieve that end, Gilles and Poirier have paired up with two European street musicians, Dom Sky and Jack Rose of the band Govardo, to provide music for their event.

The skating duo discovered Govardo after their coach clicked on a Facebook link of their acoustic cover of “Vincent,” a folk song about Vincent van Gogh originally written by Don McLean in the 1970’s.

“It was instantaneous”, said Piper.

Poirier recalled listening to the cover for the first time, saying, “We were on board right away. It was just a matter of getting in touch with Dom and Jack and seeing if they could adjust the piece to see if they could make it work with the rules of skating.”

So, they found the band’s contact information online, sent an email, had a few Skype sessions and created a dialogue of back-and-forth artistry. “Once we got the first version from them, we knew it was something really special and something we could work with.” said Poirier.

Expanding upon the rendition played in their Facebook video, Govardo went into the studio and began recording. This time, Sky and Rose blended their musicianship with the mechanics of figure skating, reconstructed their original interpretation of “Vincent” to fit the time limit required for competition and composing an instrumental section to provide different levels of intensity that would allow for a deeper exploration of the characters Gilles and Poirier were portraying on ice.

“It’s really special to have figure skaters take on and expand your storytelling,” said Sky. “It made our year.”

Govardo worked with seven versions of the song before coming up with what Gilles and Poirier plan on skating to in September.  “It was a collaborative process,” said Sky. “At one point, Piper and Paul’s coach sang a percussive idea into the phone, and then that turned into the drum beat we used on the track.”

“Vincent [van Gogh] was a revolutionary and pushed boundaries,” said Rose. “It was a nice nod to him and an inspiration for us to go deeper into our own art and push through our own boundaries in this collaboration. He was so misunderstood when he was alive, but now he is considered genius.”

The power of your art is that it outlives you. And when you feel like you’re alone, screaming out into an endless void of darkness, you will always find someone else hiding out in that same dark right along with you, listening.  That darkness is the canvas of a starry night.

Next month, this free-skate piece will tell that story.

While Gilles and Poirier will be dedicating their skating and artistry to their fans and the people, Govardo will continue touring Europe by following the sun—literally.  Check out both of their social media outlets for more information about each duo and upcoming events:

http://www.govardo.com/

https://skatecanada.ca/piper-gilles-paul-poirier/

NASA says humans are made of stardust—so that means you are, too. Now, go light up the sky.

Jennifer Baker is a writer, actor, and musician living in Los Angeles, California. She is always on the hunt for new and interesting stories to cover. Follow her journey by visiting jennifer-baker.com