Vanessa James

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For the Stargate Universe character, see List of Stargate Universe characters#Vanessa James.
Vanessa James
James Cipres FRA NT2012 bronze.jpg
James and Ciprès at the 2012 Nebelhorn Trophy
Personal information
Country represented France
Former country(ies) represented United Kingdom
Born (1987-09-27) 27 September 1987 (age 27)
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Residence Charenton-le-Pont
Height 1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
Partner Morgan Ciprès
Former partner Yannick Bonheur, Hamish Gaman
Coach Claude Peri-Thevenard
Former coach Jean-Roland Racle, Sergei Zaitsev, Vivien Rolland, Karl Kurtz, Priscilla Hill
Choreographer Line Haddad
Former choreographer Dominique Molina, Sergei Zaitsev, Olivia Candeloro, Alexei Pelexei
Skating club Francais Volants
Training locations Paris-Bercy
Former training locations Dammarie-lès-Lys
Newark, Delaware
Began skating 1998
ISU personal best scores
Combined total 185.48
2014 Europeans
Short program 65.36
2014 Winter Olympics
Free skate 122.25
2014 Europeans

Vanessa James (born 27 September 1987) is a French pair skater. With partner Morgan Ciprès, she has won four international medals and is a two-time French national champion. They have finished as high as fourth at the European Championships and eighth at the World Championships.

With earlier partner Yannick Bonheur, James represented France at the 2010 Winter Olympics, placing 14th. She is also the 2006 British national champion in single skating.

Personal life[edit]

Vanessa James was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.[1] She lived in Bermuda until age 10 when her family moved to Virginia in the United States.[2] She lived in the U.S. through 2007, holding an American permanent residence card, and then moved to Paris, France.[3] Her father is from Bermuda, which enabled James to hold British citizenship. She became a French citizen in December 2009.[4] Her twin sister, Melyssa James, has also competed in figure skating.[2]


Early career[edit]

Vanessa James began skating with her sister after watching the 1998 Winter Olympics.[2] She originally competed domestically in the United States and represented the Washington Figure Skating Club.

In 2005, James began representing the United Kingdom internationally. She won gold at the 2006 British Championships and silver in 2007, becoming the first British figure skating champion of Black African descent.[5] She competed for Britain on the 2006 ISU Junior Grand Prix and at the 2007 World Junior Championships. Her last event as a singles skater was the 2007 International Cup of Nice where she won the bronze medal. In late 2007, James switched to pair skating, partnering briefly with British skater Hamish Gaman.[5]

Partnership with Yannick Bonheur[edit]

James teamed up with French skater Yannick Bonheur in December 2007 after a three-day tryout in Paris.[3] They began competing together internationally in 2008. James/Bonheur made their Grand Prix debut at the 2008 Trophée Eric Bompard, where they placed 7th. They placed 10th at the 2009 European Championships and 12th at the 2009 World Championships. In the 2009–10 season, they placed 6th at the 2009 Nebelhorn Trophy, 8th at the 2009 Cup of China, and 8th at the 2009 Trophée Eric Bompard. At the 2010 French Championships, they placed second in the short program and won the free skating to win the title overall. As a result, they were sent to both the Olympics and Worlds, where they finished 14th and 12th, respectively. James/Bonheur were the first black pair to compete at the Olympics.[6] They ended their partnership in spring 2010.[7]

In May 2010, James had a successful tryout with Maximin Coia and the two agreed to train in Germany with Ingo Steuer but several weeks later Coia decided to end his amateur career.[8]

Partnership with Morgan Ciprès[edit]

In September 2010, James began a partnership with Morgan Ciprès, until then a singles skater.[9][7] They made no competitive appearances in their first season as Ciprès learned pairs elements.[10]

James/Ciprès made their competitive debut in the 2011–12 season. After competing at the 2011 Ondrej Nepela Memorial and 2011 Coupe de Nice, the pair appeared at their first Grand Prix together, the 2011 Trophee Eric Bompard, placing eighth, and then took the silver medal at the 2012 French Nationals. At the 2012 European Championships, James/Ciprès were eighth in the short program and sixth in the free skate, finishing sixth overall. They went on to place 16th at the 2012 World Championships.

In the 2012–13 season, James/Ciprès won the bronze medal at the 2012 Nebelhorn Trophy — it was their first international medal as a pair.[11] Their 2012 Grand Prix assignments were Skate America, where they placed fourth, and the Trophee Eric Bompard, where they came in sixth. James/Ciprès won another international medal at the 2012 NRW Trophy and followed that with their first national title in December. The pair then placed fourth at the 2013 European Championships and eighth at the 2013 World Championships. They also won the 2013 International Challenge Cup.

In 2013–14, James/Ciprès were again assigned to Skate America and the Trophee Eric Bompard. Ciprès, however, underwent surgery after a wrist injury and had to avoid lifts for a period, causing the pair to withdraw from Skate America.[12][13] They were able to compete at the Trophee Eric Bompard and placed fifth. The pair then successfully defended their national title. At the 2014 Europeans, James/Ciprès set personal best scores in both segments of the competition and came in fifth. They were named in the French team to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.


With Ciprès[edit]

Season Short program Free skating Exhibition
  • Angels & Demons
    by Hans Zimmer
  • Heaven and Hell
    by Vangelis
  • Requiem for a Dream
    by Clint Mansell
  • Rhumba d'Amour
  • Safri Duo

With Bonheur[edit]

James and Bonheur at the 2010 Olympics
Season Short program Free skating
  • Romeo and Juliet

Singles career[edit]

Season Short program Free skating

Competitive highlights[edit]

With Ciprès for France[edit]

Event 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
Olympics 10th
Worlds 16th 8th 10th
Europeans 6th 4th 5th
GP Bompard 8th 6th 5th TBD
GP Skate Canada 5th
GP Skate America 4th WD
CS Nebelhorn 3rd 4th
Challenge Cup 1st
Cup of Nice 5th
DS Cup 1st
NRW Trophy 3rd
Ondrej Nepela 5th
French Champ. 2nd 1st 1st
Masters 1st
Team events
Olympics 6th T
(7th P)
World Team
6th T
(4th P)
TBD = Assigned; WD = Withdrew
T = Team result; P = Personal result;
Medals awarded for team result only.

With Bonheur for France[edit]

James and Bonheur at the 2010 Europeans
Event 2008–09 2009–10
Winter Olympics 14th
World Championships 12th 12th
European Championships 10th 7th
GP Cup of China 8th
GP Trophée Bompard 7th 8th
Nebelhorn Trophy 6th
French Championships WD 1st
Master's de Patinage 2nd
WD = Withdrew

Singles career[edit]

James as a single skater in 2006
Event 2002–03
Cup of Nice 3rd
International: Junior[21]
Junior Worlds 27th
JGP Netherlands 8th
British Champ. 1st 2nd
Eastern Sect. 6th J.
South Atlantic 8th N. 4th J. 5th J.
Levels: N. = Novice; J. = Junior


  1. ^ a b "Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES: 2014/2015". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Hunter, Kyle (24 December 2009). "Former MSA student set for Winter Games". The Royal Gazette. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Clarey, Christopher (27 January 2010). "From Online to the Olympics, Pairs Skaters Click". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Patinage artistique : Vanessa James naturalisée française pour les JO 2010" [Figure skating: Vanessa James naturalized as a French citizen for the 2010 Olympic Games]. Agence France-Presse (in French) (Google News). 23 December 2009. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Stevenson, Sandra (10 January 2008). "Vanessa James wants to represent France". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Jones, Jeff (16 February 2010). "First black Olympic figure skating pair electrify crowd". Reuters. 
  7. ^ a b "James et Ciprès promis à un bel avenir" [James and Ciprès have a bright future]. Le Parisien (in French). 18 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Patinage Magazin No 23. 
  9. ^ a b "Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES: 2011/2012". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Berlot, Jean-Christophe (10 October 2011). "France's finest turn out for French Masters". Icenetwork. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Flade, Tatjana (30 September 2012). "2012 Nebelhorn Trophy". Golden Skate. 
  12. ^ "James / Cipres absents au Skate America mais presents aux Master's de Orleans" [James/Cipres to miss Skate America but will compete at Master's de Orleans] (in French). FFSG. 30 September 2013. Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Berlot, Jean-Christophe (12 November 2013). "Paris welcomes fifth stage in Grand Prix Series". IceNetwork. 
  14. ^ "Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES: 2013/2014". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES: 2012/2013". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Vanessa JAMES / Yannick BONHEUR: 2009/2010". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 30 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Vanessa JAMES / Yannick BONHEUR: 2008/2009". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. 
  18. ^ "Vanessa JAMES: 2006/2007". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 30 April 2007. 
  19. ^ a b "Competition Results: Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES". International Skating Union. 
  20. ^ a b "Competition Results: Vanessa JAMES / Yannick BONHEUR". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c "Competition Results: Vanessa JAMES". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. 

External links[edit]