No Canadians qualify for Grand Prix Final in Vancouver as Gilles and Poirier fall short
Ice dance duo squeezed out by Russia's Sinitsina, Katsalapov
Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, Canada's last remaining hope to secure a spot at the Grand Prix Final, narrowly missed with their third-place finish on Saturday in Grenoble, France.
A silver-medal performance by the Canadians, who scored 188.74 points overall, would have triggered a tiebreaker with two other Russian teams.
Watch Gilles and Poirier's free dance performance:
However, the French pair of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron was untouchable, winning Saturday's free dance after taking the rhythm dance on Friday, for a total of 216.78.
But the three-time world champions and Olympic silver medallists will not be at the final, having withdrawn from their other event in the Grand Prix series due to an injury suffered by Cizeron.
⛸ These are the six Ice Dance couples that will compete in Vancouver at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.<br><br>🔗 <a href="https://t.co/U0J0S7dqhq">https://t.co/U0J0S7dqhq</a> <br><br>#⃣ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GPFigure?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GPFigure</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FigureSkating?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FigureSkating</a> <a href="https://t.co/oniBhBaOrh">pic.twitter.com/oniBhBaOrh</a>—@ISU_Figure
Watch Papadakis' and Cizeron's dominant free dance:
Russian couple Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov will be in the Dec. 6-9 final in Vancouver, having secured their spot with second place on the strength of 200.38 points.
Chen outclasses men's field
In men's action Saturday, world champion Nathan Chen secured a spot in next month's final with a pulsating free skate.
Oozing confidence despite an untidy short program on Friday, the American skater outclassed the field in the free skate, scoring 184.64 for an event-winning total of 271.58.
Watch Chen rule the field in the free skate:
Victory ensured him a spot in the final, reserved for the top six skaters or pairs in each discipline from the Grand Prix series of six events.
Chen also won the series' first event, Skate America, in October.
Brown, Samarin fail to advance
The 19-year-old's free skate in the French Alpine city of Grenoble featured three tough quad jumps.
Fellow American Jason Brown was second overall, placing third in the free skate with a more pedestrian routine that lacked quads. Brown also avoided quads in winning the short program on Friday. His overall score was 256.33.
Third overall, with a score of 247.09, was Alexander Samarin of Russia.
Neither Brown nor Samarin finished among the series' top six.
The other qualifiers are Yuzuru Hanyu, and Shoma Uno of Japan, Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic, Sergei Voronov of Russia, and Junhwan Cha of Korea.
Kihira books ticket to ladies' final
On the women's side, 16-year-old Rika Kihira was a convincing winner, with a free skate packed with triple jumps and grace. The Japanese skater booked her finals berth with an overall score of 205.92. Kihira also won this month in the Japanese leg, the NHK Trophy.
Mai Mihara of Japan was second overall, not enough to make the final, with an overall score of 202.81. American skater Bradie Tennell's good free skate bumped her up to third, with an overall 197.78.
Also missing out on the final was a very out of sorts Evgenia Medvedeva. The former two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist from Russia had an error-strewn free skate and finished fourth overall with 192.81.
Satoko Miyahara and Kaori Sakamoto of Japan also qualified for Vancouver as did Alina Zagitova, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Sofia Samodurova of Russia.
Watch Rika Kihira's performance in the ladies' free:
James, Cipres win pairs
In pairs, Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France won the free skate for overall victory, securing their ticket for the final.
Watch as French pair wins on home ice:
Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea of the United States were second, ahead of the third-placed Russian pair of Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii.
⛸ Updated qualified Pairs for ISU Grand Prix Final.<br><br>🔗 <a href="https://t.co/U0J0S7dqhq">https://t.co/U0J0S7dqhq</a> <br><br>#⃣ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GPFigure?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GPFigure</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FigureSkating?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FigureSkating</a> <a href="https://t.co/ohfHdsiU10">pic.twitter.com/ohfHdsiU10</a>—@ISU_Figure
With files from CBC Sports