French-Greek Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are in the lead of the Audi Cup China after the short dance leg of the ice dance competition, delivering a personal best score of 81.10 points in the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix.
According to Eurosport, dancing to “Shape of You” and “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, the double world champions shone with level four twizzles, Rhumba pattern and straight line lift, leading ahead of two-time world medallists Madison Chock and Evan Bates from the U.S.A. who scored 72.66.
“It was a very good performance, especially for the beginning of the season,” Papadakis said. “We made a lot of improvement on the technical score compared to the beginning of the season but also to last year.”
Cizeron added: “We worked with Christopher Dean on the short dance and he came up with the idea (to skate to Ed Sheeran), which we loved.
Who is Gabriella Papadakis
Gabriella Papadakis’ father, Emmanuel, is from Crete and her mother is French. She was born and raised in Clermont Ferrand. “I am the fruit of the love of a Cretan and a French woman, two people who lived together for some years and then were divorced,” Papadakis said in an interview with L’Equipe.
“My father lived in Athens, but his origins are from Crete. I speak a little Greek, but it’s been years since my last trip to Greece and I forgot everything. Nevertheless, I feel proud of my Greek blood.”
Her mother, Catherine, was her first figure skating coach. Gabriela met her partner Guillaume when she was nine years old. They have been skating together ever since. In France, there is a rumor that they are a couple in life as well.
Figure skating career
The pair debuted on the ISU Junior Grand Prix series in 2009–10, placing 15th at JGP United States. They were 22nd at the 2010 World Junior Championships.
In 2010–11, Papadakis and her partner finished 4th at JGP France and then won bronze at their second event, in Austria. They advanced to 12th at the 2011 World Junior Championships.
A year later, they finished 4th at both of their Junior Grand Prix events. They rose to 5th at the 2012 World Junior Championships. In June 2012, they decided to move to Lyon to train with new coaches Muriel Zazoui, Romain Haguenauer, and Olivier Schoenfelder. They competed in their fourth season of the Junior Grand Prix, winning their first title at JGP France and then taking another gold medal at JGP Austria, where they scored their personal best of 142.08 points. Papadakis and Cizeron won the silver medal in Sochi.
At the 2013 World Junior Championships in Milan, the couple placed second in the short dance. On the day of the free dance, Papadakis sprained her ankle in an off-ice warm up before the morning practice. They placed 3rd in the free dance and second overall.
In July 2014, Papadakis and Cizeron relocated with Haguenauer to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The two began their season by winning an ISU Challenger Series event, the 2014 Skate Canada Autumn Classic. In November, Papadakis/Cizeron reached their first Grand Prix podium, winning gold at the 2014 Cup of China. They took their second GP title at the 2014 Trophée Éric Bompard and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.
In January 2015, the couple ranked first in both segments at the 2015 European Championships in Stockholm and took the gold medal by a margin of 8.45 points over the World champions, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte.
At the 2016 European Championships in Bratislava, Papadakis and Cizeron placed second to Italy’s Anna Cappellini / Luca Lanotte in the short dance but were first in the free dance and won their second European title.