Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, of Canada, perform their routine in the ice dance competition during the figure skating at the Winter Olympics on Feb. 14, in Beijing.Natacha Pisarenko/The Associated Press

Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier finished seventh in ice dance at the Beijing Games, in what was likely their final Olympic appearance.

A significant mishap on their lift had Gilles in tears after, and saw the reigning world bronze medalists score 204.78.

Skating to Govardo’s cover of The Beatles’ melodic The Long and Winding Road, Gilles, from Toronto, was lacking the force when she needed to take off on the lift, leaving Poirier, a native of Unionville, Ont., straining to pick her up.

When a distraught Gilles tried to explain the problem in a TV interview after the skate, Poirier told her: “You were amazing.”

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who were runners-up to Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, won gold with 226.98, earning a standing ovation from all the national teams watching in Capital Indoor Stadium.

Russia’s world champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov were second (220.51), while Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. won bronze (218.02).

Gilles and Poirier’s music reflects a rocky road to the Games. Poirier rebounded from a severely broken ankle in 2014, only to narrowly miss qualifying with Gilles for the 2014 Games. At the 2018 Olympics, Gilles’s mom Bonnie was in the late stages of brain cancer. She died later that year.

Canada’s Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen were ninth. Skating to Hans Zimmers’s Gladiator, the duo who previously competed for Denmark scored 192.35. While Beaudry is from Montreal, Soerensen is from Copenhagen, but she couldn’t get her Danish citizenship in time to compete at the 2018 Olympics, and Denmark released the two later that year so they’d be eligible to compete for Canada.

The free dance had plenty of drama, including Broadway and movie themes from The Lion King to Gladiator to Moulin Rouge, the music that Virtue and Moir skated to en route to gold four years ago. Italians Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabri skated to music from Atonement, with the sounds of an old typewriter to start the program. There was even some (mock) sword play in Spanish couple Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz’s skate to The Mask of Zorro.

Next up is the women’s singles short programs on Tuesday. Madeline Schizas, who turned 19 on Monday, is Canada’s lone entry.

Our Olympic team will be writing a daily newsletter to land in your inbox every morning during the Games. Sign up today to join us in keeping up with medals, events and other news.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe