Who are Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron?
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are two-time world ice dancing champions from France.
Music this season:
- Short dance: Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" and "Thinking Out Loud"
- Free dance: Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"
Figure skating beginnings
Papadakis was born May 10, 1995 in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Her mother Catherine, a former figure skater, got her started in the sport when she was 3 years old. When Papadakis teamed up with Cizeron in 2008, Catherine was their first coach.
Cizeron was born November 12, 1994 in Montbrison, France. He got his start in skating at age 9.
Major competitions/ medals
Papadakis and Cizeron appeared to be 2014 Olympic hopefuls, but two other French ice dance couples were chosen to compete instead. They moved their training base from France to Montreal, where they work with Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, the 2006 and 2007 Worlds silver medalists.
The post-Olympic season was marked with success for the French duo. They won gold medals at both of their Grand Prix assignments and won a bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final. They won their first French national title and won their first European Championships gold medal. To cap it off, Papadakis and Cizeron won their first Worlds title, improving from a 13th-place finish just the year before.
In the fall of 2015, Papadakis suffered a fall in practice and was later diagnosed with a concussion. Cizeron spent a lot of time by himself at the gym and tried to keep himself in shape while Papadakis healed. They were able to come back in time to win their second French national title, and repeat as European and Worlds gold medalists.
For the 2016-17 season, Papadakis and Cizeron were joined at their training base in Montreal by 2010 Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada. The 2014 silver medalists planned on making a comeback to the sport with their eyes on the 2018 Games, and wanted to train with Dubreuil and Lauzon. The two teams pushed each other: Papadakis and Cizeron won two medals on the Grand Prix circuit and took second behind Virtue and Moir at the Grand Prix Final. The French team won their third national title and European title, setting up for a battle at the 2017 World Championships.
Virtue and Moir notched the highest short dance score ever recorded, with the French team in second place. In the middle of the free dance, Cizeron cut his hand on his blade during a twizzle sequence, but he and Papadakis continued the program and were still able to tally 119.15 points, the new highest-ever recorded free dance score. It wasn’t enough to overtake the Canadian dance duo; Virtue and Moir won their third world title while the French team earned their first Worlds silver.
Papadakis and Cizeron’s highest finish at the world junior championships was a silver medal, which they won in 2013.
Papadakis and Cizeron set the highest-ever recorded score in the free dance at the 2017 World Championships, where they tallied 119.15 points.
Papadakis and Cizeron believe they have the most room to be creative and shine the brightest in the free dance, where there aren’t strict rules about dance tempo and movements. They describe their free dances as usually having a philosophical theme to showcase their artistic personalities.
Before competitions, the couple walks around hand in hand between the warm-up session and their performance. They have an eye contact ritual that helps them stay connected until the beginning of their program.
“We’re big supporters of Gabriella and Guillaume. We feel that they’ve really taken ice dance to a new level. We love training with them every day. We knew that they’re extremely talented. We knew that they obviously had to work hard to get to where they’ve been but what’s really surprised us about them is how good of people that they are. They’re really quite easy to train with; they push themselves every day… What really sticks out about Gabby and Guillaume is that they’re so caring and they have fun every day.” – training partner Scott Moir on IceTalk, the IceNetwork podcast
The couple would make their Olympic debut in PyeongChang.
Outside the rink
Papadakis enjoys reading and writing when she’s away from the rink, and would probably be a writer if she weren’t a skater. While training in Montreal, she says the thing she misses the most about France is the food: cheese, croissants, and foie gras. She says her favorite sports to watch during the Summer Olympics include pole vault and gymnastics, but the best part, she says, is watching medal ceremonies. She says the emotion, historical symbols and emblems keep her glued to the screen.
Cizeron has designed costumes for himself and Papadakis in the past, working with designers and collaborators. He has also designed costumes for other teams. If he weren’t a skater, Cizeron says he would be a professional dancer, with emphasis on hip hop and ballet.
Learn more about your favorite figure skaters:
Adam Rippon | Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim | Bradie Tennell | Karen Chen | Madison Chock and Evan Bates | Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue | Maia and Alex Shibutani
| Mirai Nagasu | Nathan Chen | Vincent Zhou
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada | Gabrielle Daleman, Canada | Kaetlyn Osmond, Canada | Patrick Chan, Canada | Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Canada | Jin Boyang, China | Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, China | Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, France | Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, Germany | Carolina Kostner, Italy | Satoko Miyahara, Japan | Shoma Uno, Japan | Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan | Yevgenia Medvedeva, Russia | Alina Zagitova, Russia | Javier Fernandez, Spain