Gilles is Canadian citizen in time for Sochi bid

At the world figure skating championships last spring, Piper

Gilles wore a bejeweled Canadian flag that she’d crafted herself on

the right shoulder of her bodysuit.

She wasn’t a Canadian yet, but hoped her citizenship would come

through in time to compete at the Sochi Olympics with ice dance

partner Paul Poirier.

Her dream was realized Tuesday at a citizenship ceremony in

Toronto.

”I have felt like a Canadian citizen for some time and I am

extremely excited that it is now official,” Gilles said in a

release.

”I’ve dreamed about competing in the Olympics my whole life and

hope to be in Sochi next year. There is no bigger stage than the

Olympics and it would be an honor to represent Canada in front of

the entire world.”

Gilles, whose mom Bonnie is a dual citizen of Canada and the

U.S., was born in Illinois and moved to Canada in 2011 to train

with Poirier, a native of Unionville, Ontario. They were second at

the Canadian championships last winter in a field missing Kaitlyn

Weaver and Andrew Poje, who were fourth at the 2012 world

championships.

Gilles and Poirier will try to earn one of Canada’s three ice

dance spots for the Sochi Olympics at the Canadian figure skating

championships Jan. 9-15 in Ottawa.

Barring any major mishaps, Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and

Scott Moir and Weaver and Poje are expected to secure the first two

berths.

”This sets up an exciting battle in ice dance at the upcoming

2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships,” Skate Canada’s

CEO Dan Thompson said in a release. ”This adds one more team into

the very strong ice dance field competing for those spots.”

Weaver also moved north for her figure skating career. The

Houston-born skater became a Canadian citizen on June 22, 2009.

Canada’s figure skating team will be announced on Jan. 12.