Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue topped the Rhythm Dance leaderboard on day one in Kelowna © International Skating Union
Two-time World Ice Dance medalists Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) edged Canada’s home favorites Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier for the lead in the Rhythm Dance as the Skate Canada International opened on Friday in Kelowna (CAN). Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA) are currently ranked third.
Performing to “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and “Let’s Be Bad”, Hubbell/Donohue picked up a level four for the straight line lift and level three for the pattern dance part and the midline step sequence. The U.S. Champions scored 83.21 points.
“We were actually pleased to end our Grand Prix (series) for the Rhythm Dance already,” Hubbell said. “We had this experience (of back-to-back Grand Prix events) last season and we kind of knew how to approach it. But, we also were able to stay with friends and really take a couple of days of full mental and physical rest in Vancouver before arriving here. We feel ready and prepared for this competition,” she continued.
Home favorites Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier head into Saturday in second place © International Skating Union
Gilles/Poirier turned in a lively dance to March, Foxtrot and Quickstep from “Mack and Mabel”, collecting a level four for the twizzles and the lift to set a personal best of 82.58 points.
“The two of us are both very proud of what we did today. We’ve trained really hard on the Short Dance (Rhythm Dance) to make a statement. Our first program on the Grand Prix series is usually a tough one, so it was nice to have the home crowd behind us. We felt their energy and we’re excited for tomorrow,” Gilles commented.
Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker danced their way to third on the leaderboard © International Skating Union
Hawayek/Baker’s Bee Gee medley was highlighted by fast twizzles and a curve lift that merited a level four. The 2018 Four Continents Champions earned 79.52 points.
“Every time we come to Skate Canada, the crowd doesn’t disappoint us and they give us this extra boost of energy,” Hawayek noted. “We’re happy with the improvements we’ve made since our senior B events this fall and we’re looking forward to continue that in the free dance tomorrow,” she added.
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Standings Ice Dance
Overall, 60 skaters/couples representing 14 ISU members are competing at the Skate Canada International from October 25 - 27. The top 6 qualifiers of the Grand Prix series in each discipline will proceed to the Final in Torino (ITA) from December 5 - 8, 2019. Full entry lists, results, the General Announcement of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series are available on isu.org.
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ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2019/20
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series started in 1995 (previously known as the ISU Champions Series) and consists of six international senior invitational events and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. The skaters are seeded and invited to the six Grand Prix of Figure Skating events based on the results of the previous ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Competitors collect points in their ISU Grand Prix events towards the qualification for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Only the top six Skaters / Couples in each discipline can qualify for the Final.