BARCELONA – Meaghan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., earned their best-ever component score and are in first place after the pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix Final in figure skating.
The two-time world championship bronze medallists posted a season best 74.70 points (including 34.49 for components) for their performance to Un peu plus haut (A Little Bit Higher) by Ginette Reno. In the detailed scores, one of the judges gave them a 10 on the choreography component.
Olympic silver medallists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia are second at 72.33 and Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China third at 66.66.
‘’The component elements have always been considered our weaker side,’’ said Radford. ‘’To finish ahead of the Russian pair who are extremely strong technically is a big step for us. We were really in the moment tonight. Nothing could stop us.’’
Duhamel and Radford have enjoyed a superb season heading into the Final winning their three international competitions this fall including their two Grand Prix assignments. Still the nerves were present.
‘’I was feeling more nervous than usual,’’ said Duhamel. ‘’I didn’t know what to expect and I was hoping I would get into the zone. Once the music started and we were very together going into our first element I knew we were going to be alright.’’
That first element was a triple twist which was followed by the side-by-side triple Lutz and throw triple Salchow which set the tone for a flawless performance.
Canadian pair also lead Junior Grand Prix Final
Also taking place in Barcelona is the Junior Grand Prix Final. In pairs, Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charles Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., are in the lead after the short program with an international best 59.22 points. Four Russian couples follow in the standings including Lina Fedorova and Maxim Miroshkin just 0.18 behind the leaders.
‘’We couldn’t be happier with our performance,’’ said Bilodeau, who won his two Grand Prix assignments with his partner this season. ‘’We executed all our elements and achieved level fours even on our twist for the first time. It gives us a lot of confidence for the free program.’’
In ice dancing, Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont.,are fourth after the short dance while Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., are fifth.
Bent and MacKeen are only 1.24 points from third place.
‘’The footwork has been a big focus for us in training and was really what we were pushing towards,’’ said Bent. ‘’We took our time, made sure every turn was clean and perfected to exactly how we practiced it. In the free dance we just want to continue in the same direction as today.’’
Edwards and Pang are also in medal contention just 2.92 points from third.
‘’One of our goals this season was just to get here,’’ said Pang. ‘’Our short dance today wasn’t our best but we are still happy with how we did it. It’s a program we enjoy.’’
In men’s competition, Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., is sixth after the short.
Competition continues Friday with the short programs for senior ice dancing and men’s and the free programs for all four junior events. All four senior finals are on Saturday.
NOTE:Skate Canada Communications Director, Barb MacDonald, will be the media contact at the event. To arrange onsite interviews please contact her by email at [email protected].