Fourth place in Grand Prix final sets Scottish skater on promising path for European championships

Scottish ice dancer Lewis Gibson has finished in fourth place in the prestigious Grand Prix final with partner Lilah Fear after a close-run free dance final.

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson were the first British couple on 13 years to qualify for the Grand Prix final.
Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson were the first British couple on 13 years to qualify for the Grand Prix final.

The couple moved up a place from their fifth place rhythm dance standing with a score of 120.5 in the free dance and an overall score of 200.90, almost nine points short of their personal best this season.

The event, in Turin, Italy, was won by Canadian veterans Piper Gillies and Paul Poirier, who scored 215.61, with Madison Chock and Evan Bates from the US in silver with 211.94 and Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri from Italy in third with 206.84. A disastrous mistake from Canadian couple Nikolai Sorensen and Laurence Fournier-Beaudry, who fell on the curve lift, sent them into sixth place from fourth after the rhythm dance.

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Today’s result puts the British couple in a promising position for a podium finish at this season’s European Figure Skating Championships early next year.

Fear and Gibson, from Prestwick, are the first British ice dancers to make the Grand Prix final since Edinburgh skaters Sinead and John Kerr qualified in 2009, also placing fourth at the event.

Fear said: "We had the best time, we really enjoyed ourselves yesterday but wanted to be a bit more bold and unapologetic today.”

The final comes just a week after Gibson and Fear scooped their fifth national title at the British Figure Skating Championships in Sheffield.

Fear said: “It’s just one really cool experience after another. We had nationals last week and to go back to Sheffield again really set us up well for this week. This is just a big highlight for us.”

British Junior ice dance pair Phebe Bekker and James Hernandez also competed in the Junior Grand Prix Final today, finishing in fourth place. The junior competition was won by a Canadian couple, Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont.

Fear added: “It's really fun to have Phebe and James here, it's really heartwarming having two British teams."

Gibson said getting to the final felt “like a prize”.

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He said: "It's so fantastic, it's so amazing that there's still history to be made coming from Great Britain.”

Bekker and Hernandez, who are coached in the US by former British champions Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland, admitted they were disappointed with their free dance score, where they were awarded 92.39 points. They finished the rhythm dance in the silver medal position, but came fourth in the free skate.

Bekker said: “It’s such an emotion coming off, thinking you did such a great skate and the scores aren't in our hands. It’s a bit conflicting and a bit of a disappointment not getting the medal.”

The Grand Prix series is made up of six fixed events in the figure skating calendar. Skaters are assigned a maximum of two Grand Prix placements and are given a score based on their results, with the top six winning a place in the final.

A Grand Prix was assigned to the UK for the first time this year after competitions usually held in China and Russia were relocated due to the war in Ukraine and Covid travel restrictions respectively. Other events have taken place in Japan, France, Canada, Finland and the US.



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