Road To The Olympic Games

Figure Skating

No Canadians qualify for Grand Prix Final in Vancouver as Gilles and Poirier fall short

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.

Ice dance duo squeezed out by Russia's Sinitsina, Katsalapov

Canada's Piper Gilles, right, and Paul Poirier, left, failed to secure a berth in next month's Grand Prix final at Vancouver, finishing third at the Grand Prix of France on Saturday in Grenoble, France. (Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images)

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:

Canadian ice dance duo Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier finished in third place at the ISU Grand Prix of France, but needed to finish second to qualify for the season-ending Grand Prix Final. 8:29

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But the three-time world champions and Olympic silver medallists will not be at the final, having withdrawn from their other event in the Grand Prix series due to an injury suffered by Cizeron.

Watch Papadakis' and Cizeron's dominant free dance:

The reigning Grand Prix and three-time world champion ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won the gold medal at the ISU Grand Prix of France. 8:02

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:

The American jumped from 3rd place after the short program into 1st to win his 5th straight Grand Prix title, taking home the gold at the ISU Grand Prix of France. 7:37

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:

The 16-year-old wrapped up her 2nd Grand Prix victory of the season Saturday at the France Grand Prix, automatically qualifying for the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver. 7:45

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: 

Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres skated to pairs gold at the ISU Grand Prix of France. 8:56

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.

With files from CBC Sports

Broadcast Partners


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.