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Canada’s Gilles and Poirier win ice dance gold at Grand Prix Final

The two performed to Madonna’s ‘Evita’
Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier compete during the Ice Dance Free Dance at the figure skating Grand Prix finals at the Palavela ice arena, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni

Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier made sure their first trip onto the medal podium at a Grand Prix Final was memorable. They won gold.

The world bronze medallists, who held a half-point sliver of a lead over Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates after the rhythm dance on Friday night, pulled away with their free dance on Saturday.

Skating to music from Madonna’s “Evita,” they scored 129.71 for the free dance and 215.64 overall.

“We felt great today from start to finish,” Gilles said. “I said to Paul after we finished, ‘I felt that was the most present we have felt all season.’

“We didn’t compete against any of the times we did it before, we just let it skate today and I think it topped the other programs because we just fell in love with the moment and the feeling and it was wonderful.”

Chock and Bates won silver with 211.94 while Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy claimed the bronze (206.84).

Gilles and Poirier, who’d never finished higher than fifth — in 2014 and ‘19 — followed in the footsteps of compatriots Shae-Lynn Bourne and Viktor Kraatz, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, and two-time Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as Grand Prix Final champs.

The 30-year-old Gilles, and Poirier, 31, also won both of their Grand Prix assignments this season — Skate Canada International and Grand Prix Finland.

After contemplating retirement following the Olympics, the duo made it a point to regain their jubilation for the sport.

‘’Our goal for this season is really to recapture our joy of skating,’’ Poirier said. ‘’It was really stressful during the Olympics. Yes, we want to win and be the best in the world but more than that we want to feel really proud of the work we’ve done and enjoy every performance.

The Grand Prix Final features the top six skaters or teams in each of the four disciplines after the Grand Prix circuit.

Canadians Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont, meanwhile, won ice dance gold in the junior Grand Prix Final on Saturday, scoring 167.26.

Hannah Lim and Ye Quan of South Korea took silver (162.53) and Katerina Mrazkova and Daniel Mrazek of Czechia were third (161.54).

‘’That’s why we are here,’’ Beaumont said. ‘’Having two clean skates which we are super proud of, especially here in the Final. The (upcoming) world juniors are in Calgary so we are aiming for the gold there as well.’’

Bashynska and Beaumont, the world junior bronze medallists, also won their three Junior Grand Prix events this season.

The Canadian Press

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