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2022 Olympic Winter Games

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA)


Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron Take Home Gold Medal

(15 Feb. 2022)  The free dance of the Olympic Games had a very high level. There were around ten world class performances out of the 20 teams who had qualified for the Free Dance and who showed the beauty of this sport. Ten teams of the 20 came from the Ice Academy of Montreal, nine of them finishing among the top 13. Never in the history of ice dance has one skating school been so successful. Their main coaches are Patrice Lauzon, Marie-France Dubreuil, Romain Haguenauer and Pascal Denis, but they have five or six more coaches in addition.

Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron from France confirmed their supremacy in the free dance to the music piece “Elegie“ by French classical composer Gabriel Faure and won the gold medal with a new world record of 226.98 points, four years after winning unlucky silver in 2018. It was a perfect modern ballet performance to classical music. There are several reasons for their supremacy: They have a certain magic on the ice. Sport and art mix in a unique way. Their harmony is more perfect and their way of making every elements looking easy is unique. Especially Cizeron is more flexible than any other male ice dancer. Some observers call them “The Torvill & Dean of the 21st Century“. They always say their performance is more important for them than their technical levels. Therefore they don’t care much if they do not have the highest levels as long as they still win. This time only four of the seven level elements had a level 4, but two step sequences and one lift only a level 3. The three choreo elements do not get any levels, only GOEs.  

Their GOEs for the ten elements were 55 times +5 and 45 times +4, but not a single time lower than +4: The twizzles were awarded +5 by all nine judges, their curve lift also got nine GOEs of +5 and their choreo lift at the end (one of three non-level elements) had eight +5. Their components had an average of 9.9 with 26 (out of possible 45 times) 10.0. 20 years after Marina Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat in Salt Lake City, another French team won an Olympic gold medal in ice dance. Cizeron said, “We never were so stressed, but each second of the program felt perfect. Above all we wanted to have a good experience here, to have joy and have the Olympic moments that we have been dreaming of. The silver four years ago made us to want the gold medal more than anything else. I think we’ve never worked that hard for a specific goal throughout our career. This year we gathered the courage actually to want to win. That was a pretty important shift.”

Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov from Russia won the silver medal with 220.51 points. They train in the Moscow school of Alexander Zhulin, skated with ease and danced to the “Piano Concerto No.2“ and to “Variations on a theme of Paganini“, both by Sergei Rakhmaninov. They had level 4 for five elements and level 3 for the midline step sequence and the one foot step sequence. Their components were around 9.7 with seven perfect 10.0.

Katsalapov had won an individual bronze medal with Elena Ilinykh and a team gold medal for Russia in 2014. He commented, “It was for sure the best free dance of the season. We went out fearless, we attacked our program. Obviously, we came here to fight for the highest placement, but it was a fair competition and we are pleased with our result. This time it is silver, next time maybe gold.”

The U.S. team of Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue won the bronze medal with 218.02 points. They danced to “Drowning“ by Anne Sila in a powerful way and had a level 4 for both parts of the combination lift which was a bit too long and got a deduction of one point. But this deduction did not change the result. The top two teams had two short lifts of 7 seconds maximum instead of a combination lift of 12 seconds. Hubbell & Donohue had three more level 4 elements and two step sequences with level 3. GOEs of +4 dominated for the elements. Their components were around 9.7, including nine 10.0 from five different judges. They had told the media already months ago that this will be their last season of competition.

Hubbell explained, “We are pleased with the performance, We didn’t feel like we left anything undone. We’re extremely proud, grateful and really excited to stand on the medal stand tonight. It's such a privilege to be here. That's something that we've worked on a lot. When I finished, I just was grateful for being here. Once we've skated, that's not our job. So it was just a moment I think for both of us to say goodbye to Olympic ice, and thank this journey that's created the people that we are today.“

Madison Chock & Evan Bates placed fourth with 214.77 points. Their story is a meeting between him as an astronaut and her as an alien who get along with each other very well. The political message is that people of different origin and race can live together peacefully.  They had five level 4 and two level 3 elements and their GOEs were mainly +3 and +4. The components had an average of 9.7 with six 10.0, five of them for composition. Chock said, “It was so exhilarating to perform today and to finish our Olympic experience off with that performance. And I'm just really proud of Evan and how we trusted ourselves and did the work.”

Charlčne Guignard & Marco Fabbri from Italy, who train in the Milan ice dance school of Barbara Fusar Poli, moved up two places and finished on fifth position, earning 207.05 total points. Their music was “Atonement“ by Dario Marinelli and “Song of the Little Sparrow“ by Abel Korzeniowski. They performed five level 4 and two level 3 elements, mainly GOEs of +3  and components of around 9.2. Fabbri said, “We could have done some things a little bit better, but we’re still very proud about our performance.“ Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin train in Moscow under Alexander Svinin and finished sixth with 205.07 points. They danced mainly to the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack of composer Nino Rota, had a small slip on the choreographic steps and components of around 9.3.

Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier from the Toronto area came seventh with 204.78 points and had components of around 9.2. They danced to Paul McCartney’s “Long and Winding Road“ in which they describe their long career together. The Spanish team of Olivia Smart & Adrian Diaz, also training in Montreal, placed eighth with 199.11 points, dancing to the soundtrack of "The Mask of Zorro“. Canadians Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorensen came ninth with 192.35 points, dancing to the soundtrack of “Gladiator“. They were ahead of the British team of Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson with 191.64 points who used the soundtrack of “Lion King“. The third U.S. couple of Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker placed 11th with 189.74 points, interpreting two piano pieces of Frederic Chopin.

Behind the Chinese team of Shiyeu Wang & Xinyu Liu (184.42 points), the third Canadian couple of Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha finished 13th, dancing to the soundtrack of “Rio“. The third Russian team of Diana Davis (daughter of famous coach Eteri Tutberidze) ended up 14th with 179.82 points. They train with Igor Shpilband in the Detroit area and interpreted the soundtrack of “Moulin Rouge.“