Road To The Olympic Games

Figure Skating

Toronto's Gilles, Poirier collect ice dance silver at Grand Prix of Russia

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier narrowly missed reaching the top of the podium Saturday, picking up an ice dance silver medal at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, while fellow Canadian Nam Nguyen finished fifth in the men's event.

Fellow Canadian Nam Nguyen finishes off podium in 5th in men's skate

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier turned in a silver-medal performance in Saturday's free dance program at the Grand Prix of Russia, finishing second to Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier narrowly missed reaching the top of the podium Saturday, picking up an ice dance silver medal at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.

They finished second in the free program with 125.08 points, just behind the gold-medal duo of Victoria Sinitisina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia (126.06), who scored 212.15 overall to 207.64 for the Canadians.

WATCH | Russians edge Canadians:

Toronto's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier collected silver in Russia narrowly finishing out of top spot. 7:41

"We were extremely happy with how we skated today," said Gilles. "Coming from an NHL-sized rink to Olympic size feels different. We have nines in our components in both programs, so we're moving in the direction that we want to."

Both tandems secured their spot for the Grand Prix final next month in Turin, Italy, at the fifth stop on the circuit.

Gilles and Poirier recently captured their first Grand Prix title at Skate Canada in October.

WATCH | Gilles and Poirier's free dance performance:

Victoria Sinitisina and Nikita Katsalapov scored 212.15 overall to take gold in front of their home crowd in Russia. 7:34

Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha of Quebec, considered by some to be Canada's best hope for a successor to the incomparable Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, placed seventh.

Canada's Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha placed seventh overall after Saturday's free dance at the Grand Prix of Russia. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)
Back in March, they scored a personal-best 176.10 points to win Canada's second-ever ice dancing gold medal at the world junior figure skating championships.

CBC Sports figure skating analyst Pj Kwong says Lajoie and Lagha possess the three most important ingredients for greatness — skill, chemistry and a fresh look and feel.

Samarin leads Russian men's medal sweep

Alexander Samarin secured Grand Prix victory as Russian figure skaters swept the podium for the first time since 1998.

Dmitri Aliev won silver and Makar Ignatov picked up the bronze on his first Grand Prix appearance.

Canada's Nam Nguyen, 21, who sat sixth after the short program, placed fifth.

Saturday's results also gave Samarin and Aliev slots at the Grand Prix final in Turin in December.

WATCH | Alexander Samarin stands atop Russian-filled podium:

Samarin opened with a quadruple lutz-triple toe loop and turned his next two quad tries into triples on his way to gold. 8:06

Samarin opened with a solid quadruple lutz-triple toe loop and turned his next two quad tries into triples. His total points for the short and free skates were 264.65.

Aliev landed a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and ended the free skate on 259.88.

Ignatov hit two quads, neither in combination, and totalled 252.87 points, 0.6 ahead of Japan's Shoma Uno.

Nguyen, skating to a Beatles medley, opened with a quad Salchow-triple toe combination en route to a clean program, though some jumps weren't as polished as he would have liked.

"It was a bit of a struggle," admitted this year's silver medallist at Skate Canada International. "This week  has been a little challenging just because I miss the home atmosphere like at Skate Canada. But I just kept my head down and focused on doing my job."

Russian, 15, captures women's event

Alexandra Trusova landed three quads on Saturday to win the Rostelecom Cup, continuing Russian women's dominance of this year's Grand Prix series where they have taken gold in all five preliminary events.

Trusova, 15, was behind compatriot Evgenia Medvedeva after the short program, but her quads in the free skate put her well clear at the end with 234.47 points.

WATCH | Teen Trusova tops Olympic silver medallist Medvedeva:

Alexandra Trusova landed three quads on Saturday to win the Rostelecom Cup. 7:53

Olympic silver medallist Medvedeva thrilled the crowd with a return to form after a disappointing spell but didn't try a quad.

Trusova had aimed for four quads but fell on her opening Salchow and fell again later in the second part of a triple lutz-triple loop.

The win qualifies her for the Grand Prix final. Mariah Bell of the United States was third, her second Grand Prix bronze of the season.

Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii won the pairs competition with their second Grand Prix gold of the season and qualified for the final. Their final score of 229.48 was nearly 13 points ahead of Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia.

WATCH | Russian pair win 2nd Grand Prix gold of season:

Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii put up a dominant performance at the 2019 Rostelecom Cup. 8:12

German pair Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert took the bronze medal after finishing fourth in both the short and free programs.

Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont., were sixth.

"It wasn't the long program we were hoping for," said Walsh, who scored 168.96 points with her partner. "We have a ton of work to do for nationals [in January]."

Next stop on the circuit is the NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan, on Nov. 22-23.

With files from The Associated Press

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