Beijing, China


Papadakis Cizeron Figure Skating Beijing OWG 2022 ©AFP 1238313212

Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) train during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ AFP

2018 Olympic silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) headline the Ice Dance field as the Figure Skating events continue on Saturday at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games with the Rhythm Dance. Competition promises to be exciting with several strong couples in the medal hunt.

Papadakis/Cizeron back in action   

Since winning their first ISU Championship in 2015, Papadakis/Cizeron (FRA) have been at the top of the Ice Dance field and collected a total of four ISU World and five European titles. They were beaten only by Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and more recently, at the 2020 ISU European Championships by Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (ROC).

Papadakis/Cizeron won their ISU Grand Prix events earlier this season and they hold the highest score for the Rhythm Dance (90.03 points), for the Free Dance (136.58 points) and overall (226.61 points). The French decided to not attend the ISU World Championships 2021 nor the ISU European Championships in January 2022.

Papadakis Cizeron  ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating   Gran Primo d'Italia Torino 2021©AFP 1236393282

Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron perform during the Ice Dance Rythm Dance at the 2021 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Gran Primo d'Italia in Turin, Italy. @ AFP

The elegant French couple dances to Hip Hop “Made To Love” and Blues “U Move I Move” by John Legend in the Rhythm Dance and have selected the Tango piece “Elegie” by Gabriel Fauré for the Free Dance.

Papadakis/Cizeron have to expect stiff competition in Beijing as their rivals have come closer. There is no room for error.

ROC and USA couples ready to offer resistance   

Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (ROC) have claimed gold at the ISU World Championships 2021 and managed to beat Papadakis/Cizeron in 2020 at the ISU European Championships. The couple from Moscow defended their European title this year with strong performances. Sinitsina/Katsalapov did not compete in PyeongChang in 2018, but both were, with different partners, in Sochi in 2014. Katsalapov won the bronze medal in the individual event with Elena Ilinykh. Sinitsina/Katsalapov skate to “You Can Leave Your Hat On” (Blues) and “Brick House” (Funk) in the Rhythm Dance and to Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Caprice No. 24 by Niccolo Paganini.

Victoria Sinitsina Nikita Katsalapov Figure Skating Beijing OWG 2022©AFP 1238255639

Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (ROC) compete in the ice dance free dance of the figure skating team event during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ AFP

Three-time ISU World medalists Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) and two-time ISU Four Continents Champions Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) both shone in the Team Event and placed first in their respective segments. Hubbell/Donohue’s programs are set to a Janet Jackson Medley in the Rhythm Dance and to “Drowning” by Anne Sila while Chock/Bates are dancing to a Billie Eilish Medley in the Rhythm Dance and to electronic music by Daft Punk in the Free Dance.

Reigning ISU World bronze medalists Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) are challenging for the podium as well.

Other contenders to watch include 2022 ISU European silver medalists Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (ROC), 2022 ISU European bronze medalists Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA), Olivia Smart/Adrian Diaz (ESP), Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson (GBR) and Laurence Fournier Beaudry/Nikolaj Soerensen (CAN).