Scottish ice dance team smashes personal best at Skate Canada Grand Prix to scoop silver

Scottish ice dancer Lewis Gibson and his partner Lilah Fear smashed their personal best in their first Grand Prix of the season to scoop the silver medal.

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Britain skate their free dance at the ISU Grand Prix Skate Canada International figure skating event in Mississauga, Ontario.
Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Britain skate their free dance at the ISU Grand Prix Skate Canada International figure skating event in Mississauga, Ontario.

Gibson, from Prestwick and partner Fear posted a personal best of 125.38 points which added up to 209.18 points overall, at Skate Canada – one of six events in the International Figure Skating Union’s Grand Prix series.

The British team couple, who won the Nebelhorn Trophy earlier in September and who have won two bronze medals in the ISU Grand Prix series in previous years, are next set to compete at the first ever Grand Prix to take place in the UK next month.

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The ice dance gold medal at Skate Canada was won by Canadian team Piper Gillies and Paul Poirier, who scored 215.7 overall, after a strong performance in the rhythm dance on Saturday left them lying in first place. Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, also skating for Canada, won the bronze.

A podium finish at the MHK John Wilson Trophy - which will also see Dundee skater Natasha McKay compete in the womens’ category, alongside training mates Anastasia Vaipan-Law and Luke Digby in pairs – would be likely to see Gibson and Fear earn enough points to win a place in the prestigious Grand Prix final in Italy in December.

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The British ice dance team, who competed in the Winter Olympics last year and train in Canada at the Ice Academy of Montreal, performed to “Born This Way” and “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga.

“We both had so much fun performing today,” Gibson said.

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He told The Scotsman: “We’re so pleased with our performances here in Canada and to win our first Grand Prix silver medal is such a great feeling and setting us up very well heading into our next Grand Prix in the UK.”

Fear added: “For us this season, we are really motivated by the message of ‘Born This Way’, which I think speaks for itself and also by Lady Gaga as an artist, because we got to watch her live and she is so confident, she knows who she is and she's so inclusive to everyone that was there to see her.

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“For us, that really resonated and inspired us and it's a message that we really want to get across in our skating and in our performance.”

In other categories, Japan had a successful event as women’s skater Rinka Watanabe soared from sixth place after the Short Program to take gold in the first ISU Grand Prix event of her career. In a dramatic session which saw the whole podium overhauled, Starr Andrews of the USA climbed from fifth to second while Young You of Korea moved up one spot to earn the bronze.

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In men’s, World Champion Shoma Uno jumped to gold, overtaking teammate Kao Miura for a Japanese 1-2 finish, while reigning World silver medallists Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara – also of Japan – won the first ISU Grand Prix gold medal in the Pairs category for their country.

The UK will host the Grand Prix for the first time from 10 to 13 November after two of the usual Grand Prix competitions – held in Russia and China – were reallocated due to the war in Ukraine and Covid restrictions respectively.

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