By Matteo Morelli
Vancouver welcomed the second Grand Prix competition of the season, Skate Canada International. This event was first held in 1973 and was added to the Grand Prix series when they started in 1995.
Bronze world medallists Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier came back to claim a fourth title in a row at their local Grand Prix, presenting their new programmes for this season. In second place, Great Britain’s Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson add another silver medal after the one earned at the same event last year, and in third place Lithuania’s Allison Reed & Saulius Ambrulevičius won their first Grand Prix medal.
Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier head into this new skating season with a focus on the World Championships that will be hosted in Montreal, Canada, next March. By winning this event, they ended on the Skate Canada podium for a seventh time and earned a fourth consecutive gold medal at the event.
The Canadian team debuted their new programmes, both focused on love in its different forms: their rhythm dance is based on music by The Lover Speaks and Robert Palmer, and their free dance is on the soundtrack of 1992 movie “Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights” composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The reigning bronze world medallist presented both segments of the competition with confidence, showcasing new original moves and showing that they are once again in the fight for gold this year.
“We are really starting to enjoy each moment”, Gilles said. “We step out on that ice and we believe in ourselves just a little bit more”.
Both Gilles and Poirier shared that they were happy with the way they debuted their programmes, and look forward to see them growing throughout the season.
Great Britain’s Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson started their season early this year and are putting a lot of work in to refine their programmes based on iconic “Sweet dreams” by Eurhythmics for their rhythm dance, and soundtrack from the movie “Rocky” for their free dance.
They are known for always wanting to present something that shows their personalities and entertains the audience, and this year’s programmes achieve that fully. They skate on their Rocky’s free dance with a proper impersonation of boxing fighters, with fighting costumes and boxing moves all over the programme.
“We know that everyone in the crowd loves Rocky hopefully as we do”, Fear shared. With this programme, they want to represent the themes of believing in yourself and overcoming adversity to find triumph.
In bronze medal position and celebrating their first ever Grand Prix medal are Allison Reed & Saulius Ambrulevičius, bringing Lithuania back on a Grand Prix ice dance podium since 2001, when Margarita Drobiazko & Povilas Vanagas won silver at NHK Trophy.
“Dreams do come true sometimes, so just believe in that”, Ambrulevičius said. “If someone starts to doubt themselves, I think we are the living proof that you can do whatever you want, so I am very proud of us.”
Their rhythm dance brings a rock feel with music by Guns n’ Roses, whilst their free dance presents a different vibe, starting with piano music by Son Lux to then change into “Children” by Tokio Myers.
Reed shared that she dislocated her shoulder a couple of months before this competition and the duo had to start the season a bit later, but she is fine now. With the European Championships hosted by Lithuania and in Ambrulevičius’ home town, they aim to put in all the hard work to impress at the continental event and hope to win a medal.
USA’s Oona & Gage Brown competed in back-to-back Grand Prix events, already improving themselves going from a seventh-place finish at Skate America to a fourth-place finish at Skate Canada and more than ten points added to their total score.
The Brown siblings were the first of three American teams in a row: in fifth place, Emilea Zingas & Vadym Kolesnik, who skated on Michael Jackson in their rhythm dance and on music from “The beauty and the beast” on their free; in sixth place, Eva Pate & Logan Bye, who this season have won Autumn Classic (part of the Challenger Series).
Canada’s Alicia Fabbri & Paul Ayer skated in front of their home audience marking a personal best for their rhythm dance and combined scores. Their rhythm dance presents rock music by AC/DC, and their free dance goes on a different type of vibe with Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone you loved”.
Germany’s Jennifer Janse Van Rensburg & Benjamin Steffan ended in eighth place, followed by Canada’s Molly Lanaghan & Dmitre Razgulajevs in ninth place, and China’s Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Liu in tenth place.
With Skate America and Skate Canada now completed, the qualification standings for the Grand Prix Final are:
- 15 points: Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (Canada) & Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA)
- 13 points: Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson (Great Britain) & Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha (Canada)
- 11 points: Evgeniia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud (France) & Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevičius (Lithuania)
- 9 points: Oona Brown and Gage Brown (USA) & Caroline Green and Michael Parsons (USA)
Next Grand Prix
Grand Prix de France will be taking place in Angers for the second year in a row. World silver medallists Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy will be competing in their first Grand Prix of the season. Joining the challenge for the hot spots on the podium from Canada’s Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen, France’s Evgeniia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud that lead into their second Grand Prix, and USA’s Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko. The new Spanish team of Olivia Smart and Tim Dieck have been allocated a second Grand Prix spot (after Skate America) to replace USA’s Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, who withdrew from the event due to Baker recovering from a concussion. We wish him a speedy recovery and are looking forward to seeing both back on the ice soon.
Grand Prix de France takes place from November 3rd to November 5th.