Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gilles and Donohue have sights set high

For ice dancers Piper Gilles and Zach Donohue, success was almost immediate. The couple started dancing together in June 2008 after both had split with previous partners.

Less than three months later, they won the original and free dance competitions for their group at the 2008 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships and were awarded an ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) assignment in Ostrava in the Czech Republic, their first international competition. They won the event, an experience Gilles categorized as her biggest life-defining moment to date.

The duo followed up with a silver medal at the ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Cape Town, South Africa. That qualified them for the Junior Grand Prix Final, but Gilles injured her groin in training and they had to withdraw.

"It was probably due to my last growth spurt," Gilles said. "I was off the ice almost two months. Whenever I tried to go back, it would flare up. I tried to skate the week before the Final, but it was like, no way."

The couple was back on the ice for the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, where they won the bronze medal in junior dance.

"That was great for what we'd been through," Gilles said. "We only had a month to train, and I wasn't doing much, just a quick run-through of the original or free in the morning and a compulsory dance run-through in the afternoon if I felt OK."

The couple won the free dance and the original dance in their group this season at the 2009 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships in August.

They will open the ISU Junior Grand Prix season in Budapest, Hungary at the end of August and then compete again in Dresden, Germany in October.

They will continue competing in junior dance this season at 2009 U.S. nationals as well and hope to medal at all their competitions.

Full article.

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