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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/

Canadian ice dancers fourth at Youth Olympic Games

Photo : Jon Buckle

LILLEHAMMER, Norway – Ice dancers Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Greenfield Park, Que., earned Canada’s third fourth place finish in figure skating on Tuesday at the Youth Olympic Games.

Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov of Russia won the gold medal with 141.88 points. Chloe Lewis and Logan Bye of the U.S. were second at 136.37 and Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin of Russia third at 134.62.

Lajoie and Lagha, in their fifth season together, followed at 125.87.

“It was a super fun competition,” said Lajoie, 15. “Everything was really solid for us today. I was particularly pleased with our twizzles.  But overall it went very well.”

This season they placed seventh at their first international assignment, ISU Junior Grand Prix in Spain. Earlier this year they won the silver medal at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in junior ice dance. Lajoie and Lagha train in Montreal with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer and Pascal Denis.

“We didn’t get the scores we wanted but what’s most important is the public and ourselves were satisfied with the performance,” said Lagha, 16. “This is our first season as juniors so we didn’t really set any precise goals except to get better at each competition.”

On Monday, Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont.,was fourth in men’s competition while Justine Brasseur of Brossard, Que., and Mathieu Ostiguy of Granby, Que., were fourth in pairs.

Full results: Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games