Figure Skating·Preview

Skate America: Young Canadians want to leave their mark

The Skate America competition will see several young Canadians looking to leave their mark at the start of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating season. The Milwaukee event also kicks off CBC Sports' broadcast and live stream coverage, beginning with the pairs short program on Friday (CBCSports.ca, 4 p.m. ET).

Event kicks off Grand Prix figure skating season

Canadian Alaine Chartrand has some lofty goals for the upcoming figure skating season. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

The Skate America competition will see several young Canadians looking to leave their mark at the start of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating season. 

The event begins on Friday in Milwaukee with the pairs short program and will be live streamed on CBCSports.ca at 4 p.m. ET.

The Canadian contingent includes Alaine Chartrand in the ladies event, the pairs team of Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau, along with the ice dance duo of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.

Chartrand, 19, is no stranger to the national spotlight. She won a bronze medal at the Rostelecom Cup in Russia last season, was a national silver medallist, and placed 11th at the world championships in Shanghai. Her efforts in China helped secure two spots for Canada's women at the 2016 world championships next March in Boston.

The Brockville, Ont., native has set some lofty goals for the 2015-16 season.

"If I could place top five in the world, I mean that would be incredible," she told CBC Sports. "That would be reaching my full potential, I think. I'm going to be more comfortable with the size of the crowds, the stakes, I mean I did the world championships so I feel like I can handle anything now. I feel like I'm a better skater, I'm just improving every day."

Seguin, 18, and Bilodeau, 22, hope to build on their promising partnership from last season. Seguin and Bilodeau, both from Montreal, captured the gold medal at the junior Grand Prix Final before a strong eighth-place performance at the world championships.

Bilodeau believes the couple will be able to enjoy this season more without the heavy expectation of reaching the podium.

"This year, even if it's senior Grand Prix we don't have the pressure of the gold medal," he told CBC Sports. "Last year in junior it was okay, we're thinking about our performance but we're still like, 'OK, we can be first.' Now this year it's only a year where we will learn so we don't have pressure for the podium or whatever else, we just have fun skating."

Torontonians Gilles and Poirier, both 23, enter their fifth season together. The ice dance team showed significant improvement last season as they earned silver medals at the Skate Canada and Trophée Éric Bompard Grand Prix events.

The international field includes: Olympic bronze medallist Gracie Gold (U.S.), 2015 world pairs silver medallists Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (China) and Olympic bronze medallist Denis Ten (Kazakhstan).

Skate America on CBC

Friday

  • Pairs short program (CBCSports.ca, 4 p.m. ET)
  • Women's short program (CBCSports.ca, 6 p.m. ET)
  • Ice Dance short program (CBCSports.ca, 9 p.m. ET)
  • Men's short program (CBCSports.ca, 10:10 p.m. ET)

Saturday

  • Pairs free program (CBCSports.ca, 2:20 p.m. ET)
  • Women's free program (CBC TV, CBCSports.ca, 4 p.m. ET)

Sunday

  • Men's and pairs free programs (CBC TV, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET)
  • Skate America gala (CBC TV, CBCSports.ca, 11:30 p.m. ET)

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