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Piper Gilles (/ˈɡɪləs/; born January 16, 1992) is an American-Canadian ice dancer who currently represents Canada internationally. With Paul Poirier, she is a two-time Four Continents medalist (silver in 2014, bronze in 2019), 2019 Skate Canada International champion, and a seven-time Canadian national medalist. Gilles and Poirier competed for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Piper Gilles
Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier at the 2019 Four Continents Championships - Awarding ceremony.jpg
Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier at the 2019 Four Continents podium
Personal information
Country representedCanada
Former country(ies) representedUnited States
Born (1992-01-16) January 16, 1992 (age 27)
Rockford, Illinois
Height1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
PartnerPaul Poirier
Former partnerZachary Donohue, Timothy McKernan
CoachCarol Lane, Jon Lane, Juris Razgulajevs, Roy Bradshaw
Former coachPatti Gottwein, Christopher Dean, Rich Griffin
ChoreographerCarol Lane, Juris Razgulajevs, Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier
Former choreographerTom Dickson, Christopher Dean
Skating clubScarboro FSC
Former skating clubBroadmoor Skating Club
ISU personal best scores
Combined total209.01
2019 Skate Canada
Short dance82.58
2019 Skate Canada
Free dance126.43
2019 Skate Canada

Earlier in her career, Gilles competed for the United States with Timothy McKernan and Zachary Donohue, winning four medals altogether on the ISU Junior Grand Prix series.

Personal lifeEdit

Piper Gilles was born January 16, 1992, in Rockford, Illinois.[1] She attended Cheyenne Mountain High School.[2] Her mother and grandmother are Canadian.[3] She herself became a Canadian citizen on December 17, 2013.[4] Her older brother, Todd, competed in ice dancing and her twin sister, Alexe, in singles.[5]

The Gilles family household in Colorado routinely played host to other skaters training in the area during her childhood, including Adam Rippon, Liam Firus and Yukina Ota.[6]

She studied fashion design at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.[7][8][9]

CareerEdit

Early careerEdit

 
Gilles and Donohue at the 2010 World Junior Championships

Gilles began learning to skate in 1994.[10] She teamed up with Timothy McKernan in January 2003 after skating with him earlier on a temporary basis.[11] They began competing on the juvenile level in 2004, winning the bronze medal. In 2005, they became the intermediate dance champions. The duo won the junior pewter medal at the 2007 U.S. Championships and silver the following year at the 2008 U.S. Championships. They announced the end of their partnership on May 22, 2008.[12] The partnership ended due to Gilles having physically outgrown McKernan.[6]

Gilles teamed up with Zachary Donohue in the summer of 2008. They made their international debut at the 2008–2009 ISU Junior Grand Prix event in Ostrava, Czech Republic, which they won. At their second event, in Cape Town, South Africa, they won the silver medal. They won the bronze medal on the junior level at the 2009 U.S. Championships.

After repeating as national bronze medalists, Gilles/Donohue finished ninth at the 2010 World Junior Championships. Their split was announced in May 2010.[13] Reflecting on the end of the partnership years later, Gilles would say that she and Donohue were "very similar - very emotional and driven - but it didn’t work for us. And we tried, we tried so hard to make it work, and again, it just wasn’t the right partnership for either of us."[6]

With the likelihood of finding a new partner low, Gilles decided to pursue other avenues, moving to Los Angeles. She appeared in the band Simple Plan's music video for the song "Can't Keep My Hands off You", and was offered the role of Rapunzel in Disney on Ice's production of Tangled.[3][8]

2011–2012 season: Debut of Gilles/PoirierEdit

 
Gilles and Poirier at the 2012 Canadian Championships

Canadian ice dancer Paul Poirier contacted Gilles to arrange a tryout.[3][8] On July 27, 2011, the two confirmed they had teamed up to represent Canada.[14] They were unable to compete internationally in their first season due to Gilles needing a release from U.S. Figure Skating.[14] They decided to train under Carol Lane at the Scarboro Figure Skating Club at the Ice Galaxy in Scarborough, Ontario.[14][15] Their free dance was choreographed by Christopher Dean in Colorado Springs, Colorado in early June.[16]

Gilles/Poirier won the bronze medal at the 2012 Canadian Championships. Due to their ineligibility for international competition that season, fourth-place finishers Kharis Ralph / Asher Hill took the third world team spot that season.[17]

2012–2013 seasonEdit

In September 2012, Gilles and Poirier won gold at the U.S. Classic. They received two Grand Prix assignments, 2012 Skate Canada International and 2012 Trophée Éric Bompard.[18] They finished fourth and sixth at the two events and then won the silver medal at the 2013 Canadian Championships. They were fifth at the 2013 Four Continents Championships, winning a small bronze medal in the free dance. Appearing at their first World Championships, held in London, Ontario, they placed eighteenth.

2013–2014 season: Four Continents silverEdit

In May 2013, Poirier sustained a serious ankle injury, delaying the duo's preparation for the upcoming season.[4] Their assigned events for the 2013–14 Grand Prix season were the NHK Trophy, where they finished fifth, and the Rostelecom Cup, where they placed sixth.[19] Gilles became a Canadian citizen in December 2013,[4] making Gilles and Poirier eligible to participate in the Olympics.

Hampered by Poirier's injury, the duo finished fourth at the 2014 Canadian Championships and were not selected for the Canadian Olympic team. Years later, Gilles would admit that the result "was definitely disappointing, but it really made us who we are right now. We didn't want that big upset to change our goals in the future, and I think that made us stronger, more comfortable with each other, because we really had to lean on each other. So I think it made all of us closer and better as athletes, and more well-rounded."[20] In lieu of the Olympics, they were sent to the 2014 Four Continents Championship, where they won the silver medal, placing behind Gilles' former partner Donohue and his new partner Madison Hubbell. Poirier opined that "we're going to take this competition with us, because it taught us a lot about resilience and about being able to come back so quickly after nationals."[21]

2014–2015 season: First Grand Prix FinalEdit

Gilles/Poirier won silver at both of their Grand Prix events, the 2014 Skate Canada International and 2014 Trophée Éric Bompard.[22] These results qualified them for the 2014–15 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, where they placed fifth. At the 2015 Canadian Championships, they won the silver medal behind Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje. The two capped off their season with a sixth-place finish at the 2015 World Championships.

2015–2016 seasonEdit

Gilles/Poirier opened their season with a win at the 2015 Ondrej Nepela Trophy. They finished as second alternates for the Grand Prix Final after taking bronze at the 2015 Skate America and silver at the 2015 Trophée Éric Bompard. After repeating as national silver medalists at the 2016 Canadian Championships.[23]

They finished fifth at the 2016 Four Continents Championships, a result they considered disappointing, and which prompted significant revisions to their short dance program, which had initially been developed as a mix of music by The Beatles and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The revisions made the dance primarily set to Beatles music. At the 2016 World Championships in Boston, Gilles/Poirier debuted the new program iteration, finishing fifth in the short and making the final flight in the free dance for the first time in their partnership. Poirier called this "something new for us and something that we’ve wanted and it’s one of the things we really hoped we’d be able to do this year."[24] They finished eighth in the free dance, dropping to eighth overall.

Elements of the short dance choreography debuted in Boston were subsequently adopted by the ISU as a new pattern dance called the March, credited to Gilles, Poirier, their coach Carol Lane, and choreographer Juris Razgulajevs.[25]

2016–2017 seasonEdit

The 2016–17 season featured the return to competition of Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir, which affected the standings of the other Canadian ice dance teams.[20] Gilles/Poirier took bronze at the 2016 Skate Canada International, the 2016 Trophée de France, and the 2017 Canadian Championships. The two struggled with mistakes in their disco-themed short dance for much of the season, with a stumble at the French event and Gilles falling at the 2017 Four Continents Championships. Gilles described the results as "physically hard and definitely tough mentally."[26] They finished eighth at the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki.

2017–2018 season: Pyeongchang OlympicsEdit

Gilles/Poirier placed fourth at both of their Grand Prix assignments, the 2017 Skate America and 2017 Rostelecom Cup. Following this, the two opted to change their free dance program mid-season, discarding an initial film noir-themed routine for a James Bond program. Poirier explained that they felt the need for "a more accessible vehicle going into the Olympics and one that (fans) can more readily identify with."[27] Their scores dramatically improved with the new program, and they earned the silver medal at the 2018 Canadian championships, on the way to qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Gilles described this as "a breath of fresh air because we've worked our entire lives for that Olympic moment, qualifying for the games has always been my dream."[9] The duo placed eighth at their first Olympics, and ended the season with a sixth-place finish at the 2018 World Championships.

2018–2019 season: Four Continents bronzeEdit

For their free dance, Gilles/Poirier envisioned a tribute to the artist Vincent Van Gogh, and arranged for the British busker act Govardo to create a cover version of the Don McLean song "Vincent" that had the tempo changes necessary for an ice dance program.[28] "Vincent" would go on to be the team's most acclaimed program to date. Gilles would later reflect on the season and say: "We find that this program brings a different energy every time we compete it. That’s why so many people can connect with it. It can touch people in so many different emotional ways. Every time we perform it, we’re drawing a new feeling from it."[29]

 
Gilles and Poirier perform their acclaimed "Vincent" program at the 2018 Internationaux de France

Following Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje's decision not to skate the 2018–19 Grand Prix series, Gilles/Poirier became the top-ranked Canadian team competing there.[28] They won their first outing of the season, the Nebelhorn Trophy, having placed first in both segments. The band Govardo attended the event, meeting them for the first time.[30] At their first Grand Prix event, the 2018 Skate Canada International, Gilles fell during the rhythm dance, leaving them in sixth place. The two set a new personal best in the free dance, rebounding to capture the bronze medal.[31] They won a second bronze medal at the 2018 Internationaux de France, ending as second alternates for the Grand Prix Final.[32] Following this, it was announced that they had been added belatedly to the ice dance competition at the Golden Spin of Zagreb.[33] They won the event, which they described as a means of regaining "positive energy" after missing the Grand Prix Final.[29]

At the 2019 Canadian Championships, Gilles/Poirier placed second in the rhythm dance, behind Weaver/Poje due to lower scores on the Tango Romantica pattern.[34] They won the free dance, but finished second overall by 1.47 points.[35]

At the 2019 Four Continents Championships, Gilles/Poirier placed fourth in the rhythm dance, behind Hubbell/Donohue, Madison Chock / Evan Bates, and Weaver/Poje. They achieved their best results to date on the Tango Romantica pattern.[36] In the free dance, they placed second, passing Weaver/Poje in the free for the second event in a row, while Hubbell/Donohue had a major stationary lift error that dropped them to fourth in the free dance and fourth overall. Gilles/Poirier won the bronze medal overall, their first Four Continents podium since 2014.[37] They finished the season at the 2019 World Championships, where they placed seventh.[38]

2019–2020 seasonEdit

In designing their rhythm dance for the Broadway musical theme, the team settled on Mack and Mabel, famously used decades earlier by Torvill and Dean, though they sought to avoid closely paralleling the music used in their verison.[39] For the free dance, they sought a Canadian artist, as the 2020 World Championships were scheduled to be held in Montreal. Ultimately, they settled on Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now", familiar to both of them for its use in the film Love Actually.[40]

Gilles/Poirier began the season at the 2019 Autumn Classic, winning by over eighteen points over silver medalists Lilah Fear / Lewis Gibson.[41] For their first Grand Prix assignment, they competed at the 2019 Skate Canada International in Kelowna. They placed second in the rhythm dance, 0.63 points behind defending champions Hubbell/Donohue.[42] They won the free dance and took the gold medal overall by 2.70 points over Hubbell/Donohue, Gilles/Poirier's first Grand Prix gold medal, with Gilles saying they had "worked really hard for this moment."[43]

ProgramsEdit

With PoirierEdit

Season Rhythm dance Free dance Exhibition
2019–2020
[44]
2018–2019
[10][45]
  • Tango: Angelica's Tango
    by Piernicola Di Muro
    choreo. by Juris Razgulajevs, Carol Lane
Short dance
2017–2018
[46][47][48]

2016–2017
[50][48]
  • Blues: Oh What A Night For Dancing
    by Barry White, Vance Wilson
  • Disco: Disco Inferno
    by Leroy Green, Ron Kersey
  • Con Buena Onda
    by Daniel Lomuto, Ernesto Baffa, Hector M. Acre
2015–2016
[51][52][53]

Saudade:
  • She Said
    by Jorane
  • Neverland
    by Takenobu
    choreo. by Lane, Razgulajevs, Gilles, Poirier
2014–2015
[54]
2013–2014
[55][56]
  • Swing: Just One Dance
    by Caro Emerald
  • Quickstep: You Don't Leave Me
    by Caro Emerald
  • Sweet Dreams
  • Pure Imagination
2012–2013
[18][57]

  • Sweet Dreams
  • Pure Imagination
2011–2012

With DonohueEdit

Season Original dance Free dance
2009–2010
[2][58]

Alfred Hitchcock movies:
2008–2009
[2][59]

With McKernanEdit

Season Original dance Free dance
2007–2008
[60][61]
  • Cinderella
2006–2007
[11][61]
  • Bulgarian Baroque
    (from Dreamscape)

Competitive highlightsEdit

GP: Grand Prix; CS: Challenger Series; JGP: Junior Grand Prix

With Poirier for CanadaEdit

International[62]
Event 11–12 12–13 13–14 14–15 15–16 16–17 17–18 18–19 19–20
Olympics 8th
Worlds 18th 8th 6th 8th 8th 6th 7th
Four Continents 5th 2nd 4th 5th 6th 3rd
GP Final 5th
GP France 6th 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd
GP NHK Trophy 5th
GP Rostelecom Cup 6th 4th TBD
GP Skate America 3rd 4th
GP Skate Canada 4th 2nd 3rd 3rd 1st
CS Autumn Classic 2nd 3rd 1st
CS Golden Spin 1st
CS Nebelhorn 3rd 1st
CS Ondrej Nepela 1st
U.S. Classic 1st
National[1]
Canadian Champ. 3rd 2nd 4th 2nd 2nd 3rd 2nd 2nd
SC Challenge 1st 1st
TBD = Assigned; WD = Withdrew

With Donohue for the United StatesEdit

International[63]
Event 2008–09 2009–10
World Junior Champ. 9th
JGP Czech Republic 1st
JGP Germany 3rd
JGP Hungary 4th
JGP South Africa 2nd
National[2]
U.S. Championships 3rd J 3rd J
Midwestern Sectionals 2nd J
J = Junior level

With McKernan for the United StatesEdit

International[64]
Event 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08
JGP Austria 5th
JGP Mexico 3rd
JGP Taiwan 6th
JGP United Kingdom 4th
NACS Vancouver 1st J
NACS Pierrefonds 4th N
National[61]
U.S. Championships 7th N 4th J 2nd J
Midwestern Sectionals 2nd N 2nd J 2nd J
Southwestern Regionals 1st N
Levels: N = Novice; J = Junior

Detailed resultsEdit

(with Poirier)

Small medals for short and free programs awarded only at ISU Championships. At team events, medals awarded for team results only. Current ISU personal bests highlighted in bold.

2019–20 season
Date Event RD FD Total
November 15–17, 2019 2019 Rostelecom Cup
TBD

TBD

TBD
October 25–27, 2019 2019 Skate Canada International 2
82.58
1
126.43
1
209.01
September 12–14, 2019 2019 CS Autumn Classic International 1
79.61
1
122.88
1
202.49
2018–19 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 18–24, 2019 2019 World Championships 8
80.44
7
120.48
7
200.92
February 7–10, 2019 2019 Four Continents Championships 4
78.05
2
124.40
3
202.45
January 13–20, 2019 2019 Canadian Championships 2
83.08
1
129.23
2
212.31
December 5–8, 2018 2018 CS Golden Spin of Zagreb 1
79.80
1
121.47
1
201.27
November 23–25, 2018 2018 Internationaux de France 3
74.25
3
114.49
3
188.74
October 26–28, 2018 2018 Skate Canada International 6
66.95
3
120.02
3
186.97
September 26–29, 2018 2018 CS Nebelhorn Trophy 1
77.40
1
116.72
1
194.12
2017–18 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 19–25, 2018 2018 World Championships 6
74.51
6
111.59
6
186.10
February 19–20, 2018 2018 Winter Olympics 9
69.60
8
107.31
8
176.91
January 8–14, 2018 2018 Canadian Championships 2
78.37
3
113.71
2
192.08
November 24–26, 2017 2017 Skate America 5
64.07
4
102.47
4
166.54
October 27–29, 2017 2017 Rostelecom Cup 4
69.67
4
102.62
4
172.29
September 20–23, 2017 2017 CS Autumn Classic International 3
68.80
3
103.46
3
172.26
2016–17 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 29 – April 2, 2017 2017 World Championships 9
72.83
7
106.16
8
178.99
February 15–19, 2017 2017 Four Continents Championships 7
61.21
5
108.93
6
170.14
January 16–22, 2017 2017 Canadian Championships 1
78.15
1
111.74
1
189.89
November 11–13, 2016 2016 Trophée de France 4
64.74
3
106.04
3
170.78
October 28–30, 2016 2016 Skate Canada International 3
72.12
3
110.45
3
182.57
September 22–24, 2016 2016 CS Nebelhorn Trophy 3
70.32
3
106.52
3
176.84
2015–16 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 28 – April 3, 2016 2016 World Championships 5
70.70
8
102.37
8
173.07
February 16–21, 2016 2016 Four Continents Championships 5
63.92
5
98.27
5
162.19
January 18–24, 2016 2016 Canadian Championships 2
70.63
2
109.19
2
179.82
November 13–15, 2015 2015 Trophée Éric BompardC 2
63.94
N/A 2
63.94
October 23–25, 2015 2015 Skate America 3
61.33
3
96.25
3
157.58
October 1–3, 2015 2015 CS Ondrej Nepela Trophy 3
62.56
1
96.58
1
159.14
2014–15 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 23–29, 2015 2015 World Championships 7
65.90
6
99.32
6
165.22
February 9–15, 2015 2015 Four Continents Championships 4
63.45
4
98.80
4
162.25
January 19–25, 2015 2015 Canadian Championships 2
70.03
2
104.67
2
174.70
December 11–14, 2014 2014–15 Grand Prix Final 4
62.49
5
95.67
5
158.16
November 21–23, 2014 2014 Trophée Éric Bompard 2
61.90
2
95.68
2
157.58
October 31 – November 2, 2014 2014 Skate Canada International 4
57.35
2
95.25
2
152.60
October 15–16, 2014 2014 CS Skate Canada Autumn Classic 4
53.52
2
89.10
2
142.52
2013–14 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 24–30, 2014 2014 World Championships 10
59.42
7
94.44
8
153.86
January 20–26, 2014 2014 Four Continents Championships 1
62.38
2
91.33
2
153.71
January 9–15, 2014 2014 Canadian Championships 4
65.11
4
99.41
4
164.52
November 22–24, 2013 2013 Rostelecom Cup 6
51.14
6
83.52
6
134.66
November 8–10, 2013 2013 NHK Trophy 5
55.20
5
88.87
5
144.07
2012–13 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 11–17, 2013 2013 World Championships 15
58.61
18
81.41
18
140.02
February 6–11, 2013 2013 Four Continents Championships 5
60.20
3
97.63
5
157.83
January 13–20, 2013 2013 Canadian Championships 2
67.95
2
102.86
2
170.81
November 15–18, 2012 2012 Trophée Éric Bompard 6
51.99
6
83.87
6
135.86
October 26–28, 2012 2012 Skate Canada International 5
58.79
4
94.66
4
153.45
September 13–16, 2012 2012 U.S. International Classic 3
55.98
1
90.92
1
146.90
2011–12 season
Date Event SD FD Total
January 16–22, 2012 2012 Canadian Championships 3
68.41
3
111.61
3
180.02
November 30 – December 4, 2011 2012 Skate Canada Challenge 1
58.79
1
94.66
1
153.45

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External linksEdit