The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating makes its fourth stop in Paris, France, for Trophée de France, which returns to Paris after being held the previous two years in Bordeaux. It is one of the original six events to comprise the ISU Champions Series, but was first held back in 1987 in Paris, which has served as the host most often. During it’s nearly 30 years in existence, the competition has also been called Grand Prix International de Paris and Trophée Lalique, though it is best known as Trophée Éric Bompard, named after Éric Bompard company, the event’s sponsor from 2004-2015.
In 2015, competition was cancelled after the first day due to the November 13th attacks in Paris. Results from the short programs were announced as final.
2016 World Champions Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France will make their international debut this season in Paris, having only competed once this season – at French Masters – a domestic event. Though the team missed the Grand Prix series last season due to concussion (Papadakis), they retained their European and World titles and do not appear to have had any major setbacks this season. Their short dance is set to blues and swing including “Bittersweet” performed by Club des Belugas and “Diga Diga Doo” performed by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, while their free dance “Stillness” by Nest, “Oddudua” by Aldo Lopez Gavilan and “Happiness Does Not Wait” by Olafur Arnalds.
They are joined on Team France by Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac and Lorenza Alessandrini & Pierre Souquet who are both making their Grand Prix debuts.
It will be a fierce battle for silver!
Canada’s Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier set all new personal best scores at Skate Canada in Mississauga just two weeks ago and could improve upon those performances in France. Their free dance score of 110.45 is ranked fourth behind Both programs showcase different styles as well as the team’s personality.
Madison Hubbell & Zach Donohue of the United States have continued to show improvement since relocating to Montreal in 2015. After finishing third in the short dance, they narrowly defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev in the free dance to take the silver medal at Skate America in October. The team’s free dance has been scoring well this season, but the short dance has been a slower start, though they are one of the teams that captures the hip hop vibe well. The program has started to gain traction and their scores have improved with each outing.
Fifth at their first Grand Prix (Skate America), Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin have lost ground compared to prior seasons where they finished on the podium on the Grand Prix series. Although a medal in Paris is possible, it would likely be due to capitalizing on mistakes by Gilles & Poirier or Hubbell & Donohue. Israel’s Isabella Tobias & Ilia Tkachenko, who finished ahead of the Russians in the free dance at Skate America, will also be competing this week.
Ukraine’s Alexandra Nazarova & Maxim Nikitin were injured for most of last season, but already have a bronze from Cup of Nice.
Cortney Mansour & Michal Ceska of the Czech Republic will debut on the Grand Prix series at Trophée de France. Viktoria Kavaliova & Yurii Bieliaiev of Belarus are competing in back-to-back events after finishing 10th at Rostelecom Cup last week.
The event kicks off with the short dance on Friday, with the free dance contested on Saturday.