Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford take third consecutive Canadian pair title

For the second consecutive year, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford had to break a Canadian record set in the previous skate to win a Canadian title.

This time, there was more on the line: taking a third Canadian title into the Sochi Olympics.

Duhamel and Radford rose to the challenge and beat the Canadian record. Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch had just set the record of 209.44 for their stirring free skate, but Duhamel and Radford, with their high-flying technical content, broke the mark again with a score of 213.62.

Duhamel threw her head back in utter joy while Radford buried his head in his hands. “I think this is the most emotional I’ve ever felt,” he said afterward. “This was even better than last year and even better than our first.”

Moore-Towers and Moscovitch took the silver medal while long-suffering Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers won the bronze medal and their first chance at an Olympic berth with 176.31 points.

“I don’t have words to express what I’m feeling right now,” Lawrence said. “I’m so happy and so relieved. It’s been a dream of mine for a really long time.”

“We’ve been working on this for 10-plus years.”

Lawrence has been suffering from a groin strain all season and skated this week with her left thigh bandaged.

In their free skate, Moscovitch fell on a triple toe loop that was supposed to be the first part of a triple-triple series. The fall cost them dearly. They lost not only a point for the fall, but earned only 1.98 for the entire move. Although Moore-Towers and Moscovitch showed off powerful speed, incredibly difficult lifts and an array of tough elements in the second half of their program, Duhamel and Radford won on the strength of their technical mark. Indeed, they have some of the toughest technical content in the world, with a triple Lutz jump and a throw triple Lutz. (Moore-Towers and Moscovitch battle back with the triple-triple combo and a loop and Salchow throws.).

The pair were almost equal in component (performance marks) while Duhamel and Radford won with 69.02 technical marks, compared to their opponents’ 65.62.

Duhamel and Radford weren’t perfect either: she fell on a triple Salchow while he continued on to do the jump in combination with a double toe loop.

Moore-Towers’ and Moscovitch’s faces showed disappointed after their opponents defeated them. “Of course, we wanted it to be gold,” Moore-Towers said. “We had a bit of a mistake in the long program. It was quite uncharacteristic and we don’t intend to let it happen again.

“It led us to second place. Meagan and Eric give us a run for our money every time. They’re tough competitors every time. I think all of us agree that it’s good for the sport and it’s good to have tough race.

However, Moore-Towers noted that she’d like to keep the Canadian record one of these times.

Moscovitch said their efforts and hard work and a ticket to Sochi will allow them to keep the ball rolling.

Duhamel’s legs were shaking long after the program was over. They had already dealt with accepting defeat, if it was handed them. They would have been okay with it. They had gone out onto the ice, having heard the announcement that Moore-Towers had set a Canadian record. They blocked it out and focused on themselves.

“I think it was the best long that we have ever skated,” she said.

Beverley Smith

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