Piper Gilles, center, and Paul Poirier, right, of Canada react to audience members after getting their score for their performance in the ice dance free dance program in the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)AP Photo/Hiro Komae
AP Photo/Hiro Komae

Weekend Roundup: World championship bronze medals for Gilles & Poirier and Team Einarson

Team Canada athletes continued to earn their way onto podiums as more winter sports wrapped up for the season.

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier danced their way to a second career world championship medal. Team Einarson made it two bronze medals in a row at the World Women’s Curling Championship. Plus, Eliot Grondin picked up a couple of medals on home snow to close out the snowboard cross World Cup circuit.

Check out what you may have missed:

Figure Skating: Gilles and Poirier dance to world championship bronze

After three months away from competition, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier achieved another career highlight in their return to the world stage. The ice dance duo won their second career bronze medal at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan. It was Canada’s sole medal of the competition.

READ: Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier win bronze at the World Figure Skating Championships

With their three international victories last fall, this bronze medal concludes their most successful season. Gilles and Poirier won both their ISU Grand Prix assignments and the Grand Prix Final in December. But they then had to put a little pause on their training while Gilles recovered from an appendectomy.

“We’re really happy with the medal. It has been such a special year so just finishing this season with a medal gives us confidence knowing that we did our job this season,” said Gilles.

Their teammates Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen produced the fourth-best free dance but remained in fifth place overall. Those results qualified Canada three ice dance spots for next year’s world championships in Montreal.

Canada will hold onto two spots in the men’s event thanks to Keegan Messing‘s seventh place finish. Despite his two mistakes that dropped him from fourth place after the short program, the highly respected performer received a standing ovation from the supportive Japanese crowd after skating at his fifth and final world championships.

Canada retains three spots for the 2024 Worlds in the pairs event. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps continued their strong season together, placing fourth. Still only months into their partnership, Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud impressed with their sixth-place finish. Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar were 11th. Madeline Schizas finished 13th overall in the women’s event.  

Curling: Team Einarson wins second straight world championship bronze

For the second straight year, Canada has won bronze at the World Women’s Curling Championship. Team Einarson took on the host Swedes, represented by Team Anna Hasselborg, in a rematch of last year’s bronze medal game. Once again, the Canadians came out on top, earning the 8-5 victory.

READ: Team Einarson wins bronze medal at World Women’s Curling Championship

The team of skip Kerri Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, and lead Briane Harris came out strong, going up 6-1 by the fifth end break. They didn’t let Sweden get back in it. Canada was in the bronze medal match after dropping their semifinal matchup to Norway by an 8-5 score.

Back on Canadian ice, Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing won the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Sudbury, Ontario. They defeated another husband-wife duo, Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant, in Sunday’s gold medal game. Jones and Laing will represent Canada at the World Mixed Doubles Championship next month in Gangneung, South Korea. This is the first mixed doubles national crown for Jones and Laing who have combined for 12 national titles with their four-person teams over the years.

Snowboard: Grondin goes two-for-two on home snow

Eliot Grondin finished the season the same way he started it—on the podium. This time he did it on home snow at the FIS World Cup finals for snowboard cross in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec.

READ: Eliot Grondin earns second podium finish at snowboard cross World Cup

On Saturday, Grondin secured his first FIS World Cup victory of the season in front of friends and family. It is the third time in his career he has stood atop a World Cup podium.

He followed up with a bronze on Sunday to claim his second medal in as many days. That also helped him to earn a third-place finish in the men’s overall snowboard cross standings.

Snowboard: Brearley ends slopestyle season with silver

This weekend was also the final FIS World Cup competition of the season for snowboard slopestyle. Liam Brearley won silver in Silvaplana, Switzerland. Brearley had also won silver at the same event back in 2021. Cameron Spalding just missed the podium in fourth place while Francis Jobin was eighth. Brearley and Spalding end the season ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the World Cup slopestyle standings.

READ: Liam Brearley wins slopestyle silver in Switzerland

On the women’s side, Jasmine Baird was the top Canadian in Silvaplana, placing seventh. She had been joined in the final by Laurie Blouin who finished ninth.

Freestyle Skiing: McEachran secures slopestyle silver

The FIS Freeski World Cup season also came to a close with those slopestyle finals on Saturday in Silvaplana, Switzerland. Evan McEachran achieved his first World Cup podium of the season (and the fifth of his career) after finishing second in the men’s event. He finishes the season sixth overall in the World Cup slopestyle standings. McEachran had been joined in the final by Mark Hendrickson, who placed seventh.

READ: Evan McEachran lands on World Cup podium with slopestyle silver

On the women’s side, Megan Oldham was the only Canadian to advance to the final after topping the field in qualification. Unfortunately, she couldn’t carry that success into Saturday, finishing fifth. She ends the season ranked fifth in the World Cup slopestyle standings.  

For the second season in a row, Canada claims the Nations Cup as the top-ranked country across all freestyle skiing disciplines during this FIS World Cup.

Cross-Country Skiing: Cyr caps breakout season with another top 10

Antoine Cyr finished eighth in the last race of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup season, a 20km mass start classic race in Lahti, Finland. Cyr was just over two seconds back of the podium. It was the 24-year-old’s fourth top-10 on the circuit this season, which was truly a breakout one for him. It also included a fourth-place finish at the world championships with Graham Ritchie in the team sprint.

Judo: Klimkait keeps podium streak alive

Jessica Klimkait won the 13th IJF Grand Slam medal of her career after defeating 2016 Olympic champion Rafaela Silva in the women’s 57kg bronze medal match in Tbilisi, Georgia. Klimkait has stood on the podium at 12 straight competitions dating back to February 2020, a streak that includes her Olympic bronze at Tokyo 2020 and two world championship medals. Klimkait holds onto the number one spot in the world rankings.

On the men’s side, Shady El-Nahas also earned a bronze medal in the men’s 100kg division. El-Nahas defeated Nurlykhan Sharkhan of Kazakhstan on Sunday to earn the podium finish.

Swimming: Liendo shines at first NCAA Championships

Joshua Liendo will head to the Canadian Swimming Trials straight off an outstanding freshman season of NCAA competition. The 20-year-old won the men’s 100-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, becoming the second-fastest swimmer ever in the event with his time of 40.28 seconds.

Liendo also won silver medals in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. He capped off the championships by winning the 4×100-yard freestyle relay with his University of Florida teammates as they set an NCAA record time.

Beach Volleyball: Another top 5 finish for Melissa & Brandie

Melissa Humana-Parades and Brandie Wilkerson made it to the quarterfinals of the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 tournament in Tepic, Mexico. They were eliminated in three sets by Italy’s Valentina Gottardi and Marta Menegatti. This was just the second Elite16 event for this developing partnership. They were also quarterfinalists in Doha in February.