Ice dancers Gilles, Poirier 'put best foot forward' to earn world bronze

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier show off their bronze medals following Saturday's ice dance event at the world figure skating championships in Saitama, Japan. (Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)
Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier show off their bronze medals following Saturday's ice dance event at the world figure skating championships in Saitama, Japan. (Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier captured bronze at the world figure skating championships on Saturday in Saitama, Japan.

Gilles, of Toronto, and Poirier, of Unionville, Ont., were third after the rhythm dance and scored a total of 217.88 points following the free dance.

"We just wanted to put our best foot forward and enjoy every last step of this program," said Gilles, the current Grand Prix Final champion and 2021 world bronze medallist alongside Poirier. "We've enjoyed doing it every time we've gone out there, so performing it on the stage after being gone for a few months was so rewarding."

Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States won gold for their first ice dance title.

First after the rhythm dance, Chock and Bates finished first in the free dance at Saitama Super Arena with 134.07 points for a total of 226.1.

Reigning European champions Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy were second with 219.85 points.

WATCH | Gilles, Poirier win bronze in ice dance at worlds:

Chock fell once but it was not on a required element.

"We had to dig very, very deep many times, but I know we would not be sitting here without all this experience," Chock said, adding the fall came as a shock to her. "I just caught my heel on the ice and it was so surprising."

WATCH | Figure skating worlds recap:

Chock and Bates, the three-time Four Continents champions, have been together for 12 years.

They won the silver medal at the 2015 world championships in Shanghai, bronze in Boston in 2016 and bronze last year in Montpellier.

They have also competed at six Grand Prix Finals, winning four medals — all silver.

WATCH | U.S. ice dance duo Chock, Bates top worlds podium:

"We've been pursuing this goal for so many years," Bates said. "It was exciting and stressful all at the same time. I know that the ice dance field is very competitive. We've competed against all these teams for so many years.

"We really wanted to focus on ourselves, and skate our best, and highlight all the work that we've put this year into these programs."

Japan's Uno defends world title on home ice

Shoma Uno prevailed in a quad showdown in the free skate on Saturday to become the first Japanese man to defend his title at the figure skating world championships.

Uno, skating to selection of music that included Bach, attempted five quadruple jumps at Saitama Super Arena. He landed all of them except the quad salchow which he under-rotated for a total of 301.14 points.

South Korean skater Cha Jun-hwan was second with 296.03 points followed by American teenager Ilia Malinin, who became the first skater to land a quadruple axel at the world championships and finished with 288.44 points.

"The free skate was far from perfect but I put everything into it," Uno said. "Every jump felt precarious but I was able to get a good result."

WATCH | Uno defends men's world title on home ice:

Uno capped an impressive performance by the hosts that saw Japanese skaters take gold in three out of four disciplines for the first time in history. Kaori Sakamoto won the women's title while Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the pairs gold.

"The past two weeks have been very tough because I wasn't in peak condition, and I caused a lot of concern to everyone around me," Uno said. "But I was able to pay them back and show my gratitude with my performance today."

Cha, third after the short program, moved up to second with a powerful routine that featured a quad salchow and a quad toeloop.

Cha landed all his jumps cleanly except for a triple flip on his way to becoming the first South Korean man to win a medal at the world championships.

"It's an honour to be the first male skater as a Korean skater to get a [world] medal," Cha said.

Malinin attempted six quadruple jumps. He landed his opening quad axel but under-rotated a quad lutz which was part of a combination and was deducted points on a quad flip and a quad lutz.

It was Malinin's first medal at the world championships. He finished ninth in his 2022 debut in Montpellier, France.

"I was nervous at the beginning so I was glad to pull it off," Malinin said. "I'm just very shocked by how much I have progressed this season."

Coached by his parents who represented Uzbekistan, the 18-year-old Malinin is the only skater to land a quadruple axel, widely considered the hardest jump in figure skating, in competition.

Russia's dominant skating team has been excluded from the world championships for the second straight year because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Canadian champion Keegan Messing finished seventh with 265.16 in the final world championship performance of his career.

Live coverage of the entire event is available on, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

The 2024 world championships will take place in Montreal.