Canadian ice dance pairs take gold, silver at Cup of China

Two Canadian pairs finished atop the ice dance podium on Saturday at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating: Cup of China.

Sitting in second after Friday’s rhythm dance, Piper Gilles, of Toronto, and Paul Poirier, of Unionville, Ont., needed a big round in the free dance on Saturday to overtake Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Saint-Hubert, Que., and the pair delivered.

Gilles and Poirier earned 126.79 points in the free dance to bring their total to 207.83, edging Lajoie and Lagha for gold by just 1.81 points.

The American pair of Caroline Green and Michael Parsons took bronze with a score of 189.33.

The win marks the second of the season for Gilles and Poirier after also securing a win on home soil in October at Skate Canada in Vancouver.

It also marks the fifth straight Grand Prix victory for Gilles, 31, and Poirier, 32, which includes last season’s final in Turin, Italy.

Lajoie and Lagha delivered the second best score in the free dance on Saturday at 124.00, but it was only enough for their second silver medal of the 2023/24 Grand Prix season, with the 23-year-old pair also finishing second at Skate America in October.

The Quebec duo won two bronze medals on the 2022/23 circuit.

Later on Saturday, Canadian pairs team Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps will look to secure their second straight Grand Prix victory after also winning Skate Canada.

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Stellato-Dudek, the 40-year-old born in Chicago, and Deschamps, a 31-year-old from Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., entered the day with the lead after scoring 70.39 points during the free dance on Friday.

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