Papadakis/Cizeron to take a year break from figure skating, without closing the door on Milano Cortina 2026

Olympic ice dance champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron have announced they will take a season off from competition, while deciding later whether to compete at the next Olympic Winter Games in Italy. 

By Guillaume Depasse
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

There were doubts, but now it’s official.

France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron have announced in an interview with AFP and L’Équipe that they are taking a yearlong break from figure skating.

“We decided to not compete over the next year,” the Beijing 2022 Olympic champions said. “It was not an easy decision to take,” explained Papadakis.

“It was difficult for us to confirm [the news], particularly as we have never had to make this kind of decision before. It’s something new, but at the same time I think it was obvious to both of us that we needed a rest and wouldn’t compete this autumn.”

Milano Cortina 2026 still a possibility

Papadakis/Cizeron have the chance to win a second Olympic gold medal if they compete at Milano Cortina 2026, however for now they are not looking that far into the future.

“If we were stopping for good, we’d say it,” said Cizeron. “Right now we’re saying it’s a one-year break because we’re not closing the door on a return to competition.”

Papadakis confirmed that she feels the same.

“All doors remain open. If we decide to return, we don’t know when that will be. From the beginning, our life has been set out and we’ve planned for the long term, so let’s now go with the flow and discover what we want to do before seeing whether that’s the right thing. For now, what we know is that we won’t compete next season.”

Papadakis would be 30 in Milano Cortina, while Cizeron would be 31. At PyeongChang 2018, Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won their second Winter Olympic gold after taking a two-year hiatus after Sochi 2014.

Cizeron believes the pair will return to the ice if they still have the desire to innovate.

“I think creating something new coupled with our will as artists would be a reason to come back. You need an inner fire to compete. Either we have that or we don’t, and you don't necessarily lose the fire because you've won everything. It’s also a lifestyle choice - we need to feel like we’re pushing ourselves physically and artistically.”

A stunning Beijing 2022 with historic high scores and Olympic gold

The French couple claimed gold at the Olympic Games Beijing 2022, setting the highest scores in history in both the rhythm dance (90.83) and total score (226.98).

It was the only title missing from the collection of the five-time world champions, after they won silver at PyeongChang 2018, having finished the competition behind Virtue and Moir.

After Beijing 2022, the Montreal-based Olympic champions returned home to compete in the World Championships in Montpellier at the end of March, where they beat their own high score by setting 92.73 in the rhythm dance, 137.09 in the free dance and 229.82 in total.

They have often spoken about the tiredness they have felt after skating together since the ages of nine and ten and winning their first titles - the French, European and World titles - in 2015.

“Compared to how much we have trained for competition, we will let our bodies get some rest,” said Papadakis.

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