Danielle Earl/Skate Canada
Team Canada will have a mix of veteran competitors and rising talent forming its baker’s dozen of figure skaters for Beijing 2022.
The group includes three ice dance couples, two entries each in pairs and men’s singles, and one women’s singles competitor. The team was announced following the conclusion of the 2022 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, but international performances and results from the past two seasons were also strongly considered during the team selection process.
Leading the way will be the reigning world bronze medallists in ice dance, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier. Partners since 2011, they had their breakthrough performance in their eighth appearance at the world championships. It was a great show of their resilience as they reached the world podium in their first live competition in 13 months. This fall, they won gold at Skate Canada International and silver at the Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the most recent wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. They head to Beijing fresh off of winning their second national title.
“For us, this is really a moment of honor,” said Poirier. “We had the pleasure of representing Canada at the last Olympic Winter Games so to qualify for another Olympics is really something special. We’re vying for the podium, so we’re excited to bring our best skating to the Olympics.”
“We’re extremely proud to represent Canada at the Olympic Games. Being on the world stage and sharing the joy of the sport that we and so many other people love so much, is just an absolute honour,” added Gilles.
Fournier Beaudry and Soerensen finished eighth at the 2021 World Championships and won a pair of Grand Prix bronze medals this fall. They will be making their Olympic debuts in Beijing after deciding in 2018 to represent Canada. They had previously competed for Soerensen’s home country of Denmark, but Fournier Beaudry’s lack of Danish citizenship prevented them from competing at PyeongChang 2018. They have trained in Montreal since forming their partnership in 2012 and Soerensen was granted Canadian citizenship this past summer.
Lajoie and Lagha continue to be on the rise since winning the world junior title in 2019. They competed in their first senior world championships in 2021.
Moore-Towers and Marinaro are headed to their second Olympic Games as a pair. After struggling throughout the fall Grand Prix season, they delivered what they’re capable of when it mattered most to win their third straight national title. Moore-Towers and Marinaro had matched a career-high with their sixth-place finish at the 2021 World Championships. Moore-Towers contributed to Canada’s team silver medal at Sochi 2014 with her former partner, Dylan Moscovitch.
James and Radford made headlines in April 2021 when they announced they would be coming out of retirement to form a new partnership with the goal of competing at Beijing 2022. Both had enjoyed success in their past partnerships, which for Radford included a team gold and a pairs bronze at PyeongChang 2018 with Meagan Duhamel. In their first season together, James and Radford finished fourth in both of their Grand Prix events this fall.
Messing made his Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018. He went to the 2021 World Championships with the pressure of being Canada’s lone male entry and posted a career-high sixth-place finish, which gave Canada one Olympic spot for sure and the opportunity to qualify a second man.
The man selected to secure that second spot was Sadovsky, who got the necessary result at the Nebelhorn Trophy in September. Sadovsky was the national champion in 2020, reaching the top of the podium in his seventh trip to the Canadian championships. He had debuted at the senior nationals as a 14-year-old back in 2014.
The lone Canadian competing in women’s singles will be Madeline Schizas, who just won her first national title. She’ll celebrate her 19th birthday the day before she competes in the women’s short program in Beijing. Schizas impressed during her world championship debut in 2021, placing ninth in the short program and 13th overall. She attended her first Grand Prix events this fall and posted a sixth-place finish in a tough field at the Rostelecom Cup in Russia.
“Going to the Olympic Winter Games is just such a dream,” said Schizas, who will make her Olympic debut. “I watched the 2010 Games in Vancouver, I watched Joannie Rochette there, and since then it’s just been such a dream of mine and I’m so happy that I was able to accomplish being named to the team.”
Canada is one of the 10 countries that has qualified to compete in the team event, in which one man, one woman, one pair and one ice dance couple are entered, though there can be substitutions in up to two of those disciplines between the short programs and the free skates.
Canada has won 29 medals all-time in Olympic figure skating competition. Four of those were won at PyeongChang 2018, capping off an incredible decade often called a golden age of figure skating for this country.
Figure skating at Beijing 2022 will begin on the morning of February 4, ahead of the Opening Ceremony. There will be three days of competition in the team event, with the medals being awarded on February 7. The men’s competition will take place February 8 and 10, followed by the ice dance on February 12 and 14. The women’s event happens February 15 and 17 before the pairs close it out on February 18 and 19. The exhibition gala is scheduled for February 20, just ahead of the Closing Ceremony.
Team Canada Figure Skaters at Beijing 2022:
Laurence Fournier Beaudry (Greenfield Park, QC) and Nikolaj Soerensen (Montreal, QC)
Piper Gilles (Toronto, ON) and Paul Poirier (Unionville, ON)
Marjorie Lajoie (Boucherville, QC) and Zachary Lagha (St-Hubert, QC)
Keegan Messing (Girdwood, AK)
Roman Sadovsky (Vaughan, ON)
Vanessa James (Montreal, QC) and Eric Radford (Balmertown, ON)
Kirsten Moore-Towers (St. Catharines, ON) and Michael Marinaro (Sarnia, ON)
Madeline Schizas (Oakville, ON)