France’s four-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron claimed their seventh Grand Prix series gold medal on Saturday at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) took the silver medal and the bronze went to Italy’s Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri.
Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron put on a show for an adoring home crowd © International Skating Union
It was smooth sailing for Papadakis/Cizeron in their avant-garde Free Dance to the poem ‘Find Me’ by Forest Black and to music by Olafur Arnalds. The five-time European Champions produced effortless-looking footwork, lifts and twizzles, collecting a level four for five elements. The French Champions scored 133.55 points for their Free Dance and racked up 222.24 points overall.
“We are very lucky to be competing in France for our first international competition, because we are at home. It was a really great competition. We’re looking forward to Japan (the NHK Trophy in Sapporo later this month) and to work on all the things that didn’t quite go the way we wanted, and to make it even better there,” Papadakis said.
Cizeron added: “This program is a little bit about death, but not in a really tragic way. It’s about two connected souls that want to find each other after life, after whatever they are going through. I think in this way it connects to everyone.”
Bates/Chock scored 124.15 points for their Free Dance and 204.84 points in total © International Skating Union
Chock/Bates entertained the crowd with their ‘Egyptian Snake Dance’, completing interesting lifts and intricate steps. The 2019 Four Continents Champions picked up a level four for the lifts, twizzles and their spin to earn 124.15 points for their Free Dance. Overall the Americans accumulated 204.84 points.
“We skated really well both short and free, and we are very pleased with the way the programs kind of open up and carry more speed throughout. I think doing two Challengers really was beneficial for us,” Bates said.
“Now we go to China on Monday for the Cup of China, so not much time to make any changes. The programs are in a good place and we’ll just build off the good skates this weekend and hopefully continue to improve.”
Guignard/Fabbri’s ‘space dance’ to ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘Life on Mars’ featured difficult lifts and intricate footwork. The 2019 European bronze medalists got a level four for all seven level elements and posted a personal best of 123.69 points, which added up to 203.34 points.
Marco Fabbri performed well despite a hand injury sustained in September © International Skating Union
“For the first time in my life I have to say that I’m super proud of what we did. We didn’t think we would have been here until one week ago. We couldn’t expect more from this competition,” said Fabbri, who injured tendons in his right hand in a practice accident in September. He expects to start to use his right hand again slowly within the next 10 days.
“There are obviously some things that need to be improved and some things that will be changed when I’ll be able to use my right hand again,” he said.
Overall, 59 skaters/couples representing 13 ISU members compete at Internationaux de France November 1-3. The top six qualifiers of the Grand Prix series in each discipline will proceed to the Final in Torino (ITA), December 5 to 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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Viewers will be able to watch the Series either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel as of season 2019/20. You will find the full list in the Where to watch news here.
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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.