Paul Poirier and Piper Gilles win Skate Canada gold in Kelowna


Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (David W. Carmichael, Wikimedia Commons)

Piper Gilles of Toronto, Ontario and Paul Poirier of Ottawa, Ontario won a gold medal for Canada in ice dancing at the 2019 Skate Canada in Kelowna, British Columbia on Saturday. It was one of three medals won by Canadian athletes, as Nam Nguyen of Ottawa, Ontario won the silver medal in men’s singles and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ontario and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ontario won silver in the pairs competition.

In ice dancing, Gillies and Poirier won their first career gold medal in a figure skating Grand Prix event. They posted a score of 209.01 points and reached the podium by 14.24 points over fourth place finishers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the United States, who had 194.77 points. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States won the silver medal with 206.31 points. Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Great Britain won the bronze medal with 195.35 points.

In men’s singles, Nguyen performed an excellent long program to Beatles music. He posted a second place score of 262.77 points, and reached the podium by 22.96 points over fourth place finisher Camden Pulkinen of the United States, who had 244.78 points. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan dominated the competition with his quadruple jumps in winning gold with a score of 322.59 points. Keiji Tanaka of Japan won the bronze medal with 250.02 points.

In pairs, Moore-Towers and Marinaro posted a second place score of 208.49 points and reached the podium by 8.92 points over fourth place Americans Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who had 199.57 points. Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii of Russia won the gold medal with 216.71 points and Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov won the bronze medal with 202.29 points.

Skate Canada was the second Grand Prix event of the 2019 figure skating season. The medals for Gillies, Poirier, Nguyen, Moore-Towers and Marinaro will give them confidence as they prepare for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Moore-Towers is an Olympic silver medalist as she was part of the Canadian team that placed second in the team competition at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. 

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