by Anne Calder | Photos by Robin Ritoss

SIBLING SIMILARITIES

The new partnerships of Kana Muramoto & Chris Reed and Yura Min & Alexander Gamelin placed seventh and eight in the ice dance competition.

As it turns out, Reed and Gamelin have a lot in common.

They both skated with their sisters until after the 2015 season.

Cathy & Chris Reed began competing for Japan (their mother’s birth country) in 2006 after winning the U.S. Novice Championship. Cathy retired at the conclusion of the 2015 season and is now working as a coach and choreographer in Japan.   

Twins Danielle & Alexander Gamelin danced together for 15 years until they both retired in 2015. Alexander started going to school, while Danielle explored other interests.

“My sister and I had to retire because of financial issues among other things,” Gamelin explained.   

The similarities continue. Both Reed and Gamelin were born in the U.S., found new partners in 2015, skate for Asian countries and train in Michigan.

Chris Reed partnered with Kana Muramota in 2015 and continues to represent Japan.  They train with Marina Zoueva’s group in Canton, Michigan and have high hopes for the future.

“We definitely need to continue working to show we are not just a new team, but we are a proud member of team Japan,” Reed said.

In April 2015, just two months after retiring, Gamelin received a call from a former training mate.

“Yura (Min) was retired and back in California,” Gamelin said.  “One day she just called me and said, ‘why don’t we skate together?’ We were good friends and (had) trained together.  As long as we have fun and enjoy ourselves, everything goes well.”

The team competes for Min’s home country of South Korea and trains in Novi, Michigan with Igor Shpilband.

A BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER

On the spur of the moment, Elizabeth Paradis & Francois-Xavier Ouellette (CAN) choreographed a new ending to their program after a costume malfunction interrupted the free dance. While it is not uncommon for a singles skater to modify their program during the performance,  it is nearly unheard of for a dance team to make such changes.  

“My top is attached with a clip and a button, and I suddenly felt that the clip was gone, and I only had the button to hold the costume,” Paradis explained.  “I was worried because I knew the whole top would come off.”

The team stopped and skated to the referee, who instructed them to continue.

“We had to improvise. We missed the spin because of the interruption.  During the diagonal sequence we talked to each other and decided to put it right at the end,” Paradis revealed.

The team scored a personal best 86.70 points.

HOLD THE MUSIC, JOE!

The music started before the names of Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier (CAN) were announced.

“You have to put these things behind you,” Poirier said.  “We laughed a little bit, and we got right back into competition mode. That’s all you can do. These things do happen.  I think an important part of being a good competitor is to ignore those things and get your job done.”

“With this competition we’ve learned to expect the unexpected,” Gilles said.  “We went for our practices, and the short dance played when we started the free dance.”

WHO WAS IN TAIPEI CITY A DECADE AGO?

In 2006, a Junior Grand Prix event was held in the Taipei Arena. Several of the 2016 Four Continents competitors were there:  Evan Bates (with Emily Samuelson); Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje; Paul Poirer (with Vanessa Crone); and, Piper Gilles (with Tim Mckernan).

What do you remember Evan Bates?
“I remember being at this venue, and it had just been built. It was my first time in Asia. I was very excited and dealing with jetlag.  I remember going to Taipei 101 and having a team dinner.”

Bates continued, “I remember familiar faces that are here this week – Piper [Gilles] and Paul [Poirier]. It’s funny because as time goes on, nothing changes much.  We’re all still skating, and it’s great to be back.”

What do you remember Kaitlyn Weaver?
“It was our very first competition. It was very memorable and exciting. Like Evan, it was our first time in Asia, our first time in a huge, beautiful venue.”

Weaver paused. “We were the bronze medalists at that event also, so we’re consistent. It was an amazing event, and we’re happy to be back.  We’re still here, and we’re like other people. We’re grown up and matured. We’re having fun and doing what we love.”

What do you remember Piper Gilles?
“This is where we met. He was fifth and I was sixth. It is a fond little memory for us to come back here ten years later.”