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Morgan Cipres: European Champion

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morgan cipres

Morgan Ciprès: (born April 24, 1991) is a former competitive pair skater from France. He is the 2019 European Champion, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2017 European bronze medalist, 2018 Grand Prix Final champion, and six-time French national champion with partner Vanessa James. They’ve also competed in the Grand Prix and Challenger Series, where they’ve won medals. James and Ciprès competed in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics for France.

Ciprès began ice skating lessons in 1995

morgan cipres

He began his career in single skating, making his ISU Junior Grand Prix debut in 2004. He missed the 2007–08 season due to an adductor muscle injury. At the 2010 World Junior Championships, he finished 13th.

Career as a pair skater

Ciprès joined up with Vanessa James to participate in pair skating in September 2010.

They didn’t compete in their first season since Ciprès was still learning couples components.

Eight years later, James reflected on their first meeting: “I remembered how much fun we had during our three-day trial. He was hilarious since he had never done pairs before and was so scared, saying things like “oh my god, oh my gosh” each time he threw me. I had a feeling we’d get along swimmingly.”

Season 2011–2012

In late September 2011, James/Ciprès made their competition debut, finishing fifth at the 2011 Ondrej Nepela Memorial. The pair finished ninth at their first Grand Prix together, the 2011 Trophee Eric Bompard, after finishing fifth at the 2011 Coupe de Nice.

They placed first in the short program and second in the free skate at the 2012 French Championships. James/Ciprès won the silver medal with a total score of 8.92 points less than Daria Popova / Bruno Massot.

At the 2012 European Championships in Sheffield, England, James/Ciprès was the top French pair (outscoring Popova/Massot by nearly 12 points). At the 2012 World Championships in Nice, France, they were given the lone slot for France in pairs. The two made it to the final stage in Nice and placed sixteenth overall.

Season 2012–2013

At the 2012 Nebelhorn Trophy, James/Ciprès earned bronze, their first international medal as a team

Skate America, where they finished fourth, and the Trophee Eric Bompard, where they finished sixth, were their 2012 Grand Prix assignments. In December, James/Ciprès earned their first national title after winning another international medal at the 2012 NRW Trophy.

James/Ciprès finished fourth at the 2013 European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, in January. They finished seventh at the 2013 World Championships in London, Ontario, after winning gold at the 2013 International Challenge Cup. They qualified for the Sochi Olympics in the pairs’ event thanks to their performance in Canada.

Sochi Olympics, 2013–2014 season

Skate America and the Trophee Eric Bompard were assigned to James/Ciprès once more. Ciprès, on the other hand, had surgery and had to avoid lifts for a while due to a wrist injury, forcing the pair to withdraw from Skate America. [8][9] They competed in the Trophee Eric Bompard and finished fifth. After that, the duo successfully defended their national championship.

James/Ciprès finished fifth at the 2014 Europeans, setting personal bests in both segments of the competition. They competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where they finished tenth in the pairs event and sixth in the team event.

Season 2014–2015

James/Ciprès placed fourth at the 2014 CS Nebelhorn Trophy and fifth at the 2014 Skate Canada International and 2014 Trophée Éric Bompard, respectively. They finished fifth at the European Championships in Stockholm in 2015 and ninth at the World Championships in Shanghai in 2015.

Season 2015–2016: First Grand Prix medal

The 2015 CS Nebelhorn Trophy gave James/Ciprès a bronze medal to start their season. They finished second in the short program at the 2015 Trophée Éric Bompard before the competition was canceled due to the Paris attacks in November 2015.

The ISU declared those positions to be the final results, and James/Ciprès received their first Grand Prix medal, a silver, for their efforts. At the 2016 European Championships in Bratislava, the couple placed fourth, and at the 2016 World Championships in Boston, they placed tenth.

ed at the end of the season that they needed to make a significant adjustment if they wanted to compete again. [10] According to James, “Either we get better, or we give up. Anything else was a waste of time.”

European bronze medalist in the 2016–2017 season

James/Ciprès moved to Coral Springs, Florida, in June 2016 to train with John Zimmerman and Jeremy Barrett.

The pair skated in two Grand Prix events after winning silver at the 2016 CS Autumn Classic International; they finished fourth at the 2016 Skate America and won bronze at the 2016 Trophée de France.

James/Ciprès won bronze at the European Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in January 2017, becoming the first French pair to medal at the tournament in fourteen years[16] (since Sarah Abitbol / Stéphane Bernadis claimed silver in 2003).

At the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, James/Ciprès finished tenth in the short program, sixth in the free skate, and eighth overall. They competed as part of Team France at the 2017 World Team Trophy in Tokyo, Japan, where they set personal bests and won both segments of the pairs’ event, beating Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov.

When asked about their success as a group, James noted, “On the ice, our primary issue was that we were two different persons. We needed to fix that, and we needed to strengthen our bond as a couple.”

2017–2018 season: Olympic bronze medalist in PyeongChang and World bronze medalist

The 2017 CS Autumn Classic International was a gold medalist for James/Ciprès to kick off their season. They then took bronze at the 2017 Skate Canada International and silver at the 2017 Internationaux de France in their Grand Prix assignments.

They qualified for the Grand Prix Final as the first alternates. The pair finished first in the short program, fourth in the free skate, and fourth overall at the 2018 European Championships in Moscow, just 0.01 behind the podium. For their short performance, they were awarded a little gold medal.

James/Ciprès was named to France’s 2018 Winter Olympics squad, which competed in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

During the team event, they finished sixth in their phase and tenth overall. They finished sixth in the short, fifth in the free, and fifth overall in the regular pairs event. They won the bronze medal at the 2018 World Championships in Milan, Italy, in March, becoming the first French pair to do so since 2000. When James reflected on the beginning of their relationship, he said, “I’m very glad I made that decision because we’ve turned into a fantastic team. It’s been rough, but Morgan has been fantastic

Season 2018-2019

Both of the duo’s programs were choreographed by ice dancers, with Charlie White, a retired Olympic gold winner, working on the free skate, and Guillaume Cizeron, another French Olympian, working on the short program.

At the 2018 CS Autumn Classic International, James/Ciprès won gold, and at the 2018 Skate Canada International, they won their first Grand Prix event, setting a new world record in the free skate. They “gave so much emotion, and it was simply beautiful for us in the end,” James said.

They skated at the 2018 Internationaux de France in mid-November, capturing their second Grand Prix gold medal of the season, albeit with a short rocky program that put them in third place before they won the free skate.

They qualified for their first Grand Prix Final in the 2018–19 season with these results. Remarked Ciprès, “It’s the first time we’ve won two Grand Prix and qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the same season. During the next two weeks, we have a lot of work to do.”

They came in fourth after the short program in the Final but won the free skate and the gold medal by setting a new world record. James hoped that “When we have an excellent short program, having such a robust and strong long program will only assist.

I know we have to battle every time after our short program to make up the points, but I believe that feeling freer and not having to push and attempt to make a comeback would just liberate us a little bit more.”

James/Ciprès will compete in the 2019 European Championships in Minsk after earning their sixth national title. Following a first-place finish in the short program, Tarasova/Morozov took second place.

They also won the free skate, making them the first French team to win the European pairs title since Andrée Joly and Pierre Brunet in 1932. “It was a dream when we were children to be here one day,” James said, describing the result as “a dream come true.”

James collided with Italy’s Matteo Guarise during the short program warm-up at the 2019 World Championships in Saitama in March, causing both skaters to fall to the rink.

After a series of strange mistakes, James/Ciprès finished seventh in the short program. James fell on her throw triple flip, and Ciprès doubled his intended triple toe loop. They were third and fifth in the free program, respectively. For the first time this season, they missed out on the top spot on the podium, but they still managed to win a bronze medal in the free program.

James/Ciprès announced at the conclusion of their free program that they would keep skating until they won the World Championship.  They competed in the 2019 World Team Trophy in Fukuoka, Japan, where they set a new personal best in the free skate to place first in the pairs event and fourth overall as a team.

Following the 2018–19 season, James/Ciprès were assigned two tasks on the 2019–20 Grand Prix circuit: the 2019 NHK Trophy and the 2019 Internationaux de France. At the same time, it was reported that James would pair with retired NHL player Brian McGrattan in the fall 2019 return of the Canadian CBC skating competition program Battle of the Blades. After realizing that it was impossible to do both, James/Ciprès withdrew from their Grand Prix commitments.

Allegations of sexual abuse and the decision to resign

Ciprès was under investigation by the United States Center for SafeSport, which investigates sexual abuse in Olympic sports, for sending a picture of his penis to a 13-year-old girl who was a student at their training center, according to USA Today journalist Christine Brennan. Coaches Zimmerman, Silvia Fontana, and Vinny Dispenza were also accused of having knelt in front of a 13-year-old girl who was a student at their training center, according

SafeSport punished Zimmerman, who trained both the 13-year-old and Cipres, in March 2021 for concealing up the 2017 assault and shaming and threatening the girl after learning of it.

The claims against Ciprès later played a role in the crises that forced controversial FFSG chief Didier Gailhaguet to retire in the spring of 2020.

The FFSG’s disciplinary committee rejected to take action against Ciprès in July 2020, citing that it was unaware of the claimed victim’s complaint and that “objective [items] (photographs, texts, letters) that could establish proof of any wrongdoing” were lacking.

James would return to Battle of the Blades for its sixth season on September 25, 2020, this time partnered with Akim Aliu.

The FFSG announced James’ and Ciprès’ retirements from competition four days later. In April 2021, James announced her return to the public eye.

On December 8, 2020, the Florida state attorney’s office charged Ciprès with transmitting material detrimental to a minor by an electronic device, a third-degree crime punishable by up to five years in prison, and issued a warrant for his arrest.

In June, the inquiry was revived, and the SafeSport investigation in the United States is still underway.

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