Canada’s Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford charged up at figure skating worlds over second-place pairs short showing
Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford along with coaches Bruno Marcotte (left) and Richard Gauthier react as the marks are posted for the pairs short program at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ont., on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
Photograph by: Paul Chiasson, THE CANADIAN PRESS
LONDON, Ont. — Meagan Duhamel leaped about the ice like Sidney Crosby after his Olympic golden goal. If she’d had gloves to throw in the air, she might have done that, too.
For about 15 minutes Wednesday, Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford had blown away all the competition in the pairs short program at the world figure skating championships, including German four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, with a clean, beautifully synchronized and difficult skate to music from La Boheme.
The Russian silver medallists of the last two worlds, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, would eventually pass them on the session’s final skate, but there was no damping the Canadians’ enthusiasm.
With national runners-up Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch performing their own season’s best skate earlier and ending the day in fifth place, it was as good an exhibition of pairs skating by two Canadian teams in at least a couple of decades.
“We left last year’s worlds in fifth place, and every single day has been aimed toward being on the podium in London,” said Duhamel. “We had so much pressure, I felt so sick all day, I thought: ‘What if I go to jump and my legs just don’t do it?’ I felt like I was just going to collapse. But soon as the music started it felt great.”
Duhamel and Radford completed side-by-side triple Lutzes, the most difficult jumps any pair attempted and the crowd was so pumped as they entered their closing spin, Duhamel said she was praying Radford yelled “Change!” loud enough that she would know when to switch feet.
“You could feel the energy building, and the crowd building, and at the end it just all comes together and then also a huge feeling of relief,” said Radford.
“We know we have the country behind us, and that makes us feel excited, but it doesn’t quite calm the nerves.”
His own reaction when the Canadians stood first after their marks came up was relatively muted.
“I see these scores and it always takes a couple of seconds for it to actually register as reality. It’s almost like it’s happening to someone else,” he said.
“Eric’s equally as excited as me, but it’s more introverted than extroverted me,” said Duhamel.
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch also skated a terrific, and clean, program that left them a mere .73 points behind the second Russian pair, Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, and ahead of two-time world champions Qing Ping and Jian Tong of China.
Though the long program can change everything, Canada hasn't had two top-five pairs at the worlds since 1986.
“I think it’s so great for Canadian skating. Second and fifth is seven points and we only need to add up to 13 to get another spot in the Olympics, and there’s so many pairs at home waiting to see if we’re going to get them a spot,” said Duhamel.
“I realized yesterday that today is likely the last time we will ever skate this program, and I got excited — and a little bit sad,” said Moore-Towers. “We’ve been working on it all year and really wanted to put it out there, and we did. We skated it clean, and the crowd went crazy and so did we.”
Savchenko and Szolkowy were third, getting generous marks despite a shaky and sometimes badly synchronized skate.
“We didn’t come here to beat the Germans,” said Duhamel, “we came here to get on the podium. We’re not going to start changing our goals now. We’ll be satisfied standing on any step of the podium.”
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