Papadakis, Cizeron make anticipated return as Grand Prix finds its way to Italy

November 4, 2021
Papadakis, Cizeron make anticipated return as Grand Prix finds its way to Italy
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Figure skaters competing on the Grand Prix circuit will stop in Italy this weekend, returning to the home of the 2006 Winter Olympics at the Torino Palavela. 

Replacing the Cup of China — cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions in the country — the Gran Premio d’Italia was selected as the third competition of the series, following up Skate America and Skate Canada. 

The competition marks the anticipated return of four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France to the Grand Prix circuit. 

The French team have landed on the podium of the Grand Prix final four times. As they step onto the ice in Italy, Papadakis and Cizeron also return to the site of their last Grand Prix final gold in 2019. 

The skaters, who train in Canada, took time off during the previous season as they battled travel disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, and elected to miss the 2021 world championships. 

But the ice dancers have already returned to the scene with grace and stunning calibre, earning gold at the Finlandia Trophy event in Espoo, Finland. 

Live coverage of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating’s Gran Premio d’Italia competition in Torino begins Friday at 10 a.m. ET and can be streamed on CBCSports.ca. For additional details, see CBC Sports’ full broadcast schedule.

Soucisse, Firus only Canadian hopes

Canadian ice dancers Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus will skate in their second Grand Prix event of the season. They’ll do so as the only Canadian skaters at the competition. 

The 26-year-old of Châteauguay, Que., and 27-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., are following up a seventh-place skate at Skate America. The duo also placed fifth at the Autumn Classic International this season. 

Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue will also cross off their second event on the series after another victorious performance at Skate America. 

Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus are the only Canadian competitors at the Italian Grand Prix stop. (Hiro Komae/AP Photo)

In pairs, China’s Wenjin Sui and Cong Han will go for their second gold on the circuit this year after blowing the competition away at Skate Canada. 

Like Papadakis and Cizeron, the team also returns to the ice after capturing their 2019 Grand Prix final gold. 

Wenjin and Cong, the 2018 Olympic silver medallists, will be joined by their Chinese teammates Cheng Peng and Yang Jin, who were recently in second place behind them at the 2021 Asian Open. 

Reigning world silver medallist Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama will take on Russian competition in men’s singles, including Finlandia Trophy silver medallist and 2018 world bronze medallist Mikhail Kolyada. China’s five-time national champion Boyang Jin will also hope to make a splash. 

A Russian showdown in women’s singles features Maiia Khromyk and reigning world champion Anna Shcherbakova. 

It comes weeks after Khromyk beat out Shcherbakova at the 2021 Budapest Trophy, besting her compatriot with the help of a superior technical score in the long program. 

Russia’s Anna Shcherbakova, reigning world champion, will want to rebound after rougher skate at the Budapest Trophy this season. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images)

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