Canadian figure skaters Gilles, Poirer win Grand Prix silver

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GRENOBLE, France (CP) — Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto claimed ice dance silver Saturday in Grand Prix figure skating.

Four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took gold with 221.25 points ahead of the Canadians with 203.16.

Russians Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia finished third with 200.29.

‘’This week was a success,’’ Poirier said. ‘’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.’’

Combined with their win in last month's Skate Canada International in Vancouver, Gilles and Poirier booked their ticket to the Grand Prix final Dec. 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,’’ Poirier said. ‘’It gives us a lot of motivation.’’

Canadian pair Vanessa James and Eric Radford posted their best score since partnering in April, but 196.34 was short of the podium for fourth place.

Russian duos took gold and silver 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.

James and Radford ranked third after the short program.

The Canadians had to reset at the start of their long program when the wrong music played.

Japan's Yuma Kagiyama won men's singles ahead of countryman Shun Sato in second.

Jason Brown of the U.S. was third.

Canada’s Keegan Messing, who placed sixth, landed two triple Axels but touched the ice with his hand on his opening quadruple jump in his free skate.

‘’After Skate Canada my coach and I took a hard look at the long program and decided to switch things around a little bit… I think we have a system that will work for the rest of the season," Messing said.

Russia also went one-two in women's singles with reigning world champion Anna Shcherbakova taking gold and Alena Kostornaia silver.

Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi prevented a Russian medal sweep jumping from sixth after the short program to the bronze medal. No Canadian women competed.

The next Grand Prix is Friday and Saturday in Sochi, Russia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2021.

The Associated Press

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