Canadian pairs in heated battle for medals at ISU Grand Prix Final

BARCELONA – World champions champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., are in the midst of a heated battle for medals following Thursday’s pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating competition.

Duhamel and Radford are sitting third at 72.74 just ahead of first year seniors Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., in fourth at 71.16. Russians are 1-2 with Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov first at 74.84 and Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov second at 73.64.

Duhamel and Radford, the defending Grand Prix Final champions, had a fall on a throw near the end of the program.

‘’It was the best short program we’ve done this season,’’ said Duhamel. ‘’But we know we are capable of more. Falling on a throw triple is uncharacteristic of us. We possibly got carried away with the moment with everything else being so good.’’

Radford says they don’t feel pressure with their impressive streak of six straight Grand Prix wins on the line.

‘’We approach every event the same,” he said. “When the music starts we bring ourselves back to the same place. That’s what we’ll do tomorrow (Friday) we know we are capable of skating a great long program.”

Séguin and Bilodeau also posted a season’s best score.

‘’We felt really great out there,’’ Séguin said. ‘’We are taking it as an experience and this gives us some confidence for the free skate.’’

In men’s competition it wasn’t a great day for three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto who is sixth after the short program with 70.61 which is more than 20 points off his personal best.

‘’I messed up,’’ said Chan. ‘’I tried to add the combo on the Lutz because you never want to give up. I tried to feel the program, feel the jumps but it wasn’t successful. I just have to put that behind me and have a fresh start.’’

Canada has one entry for the Junior Grand Prix Final also taking place here. Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., is in sixth spot in men’s competition after the short program.

“I think my mind was just racing today,” said Sadovsky, 16, a gold and bronze medallist on the circuit this fall. “I’ve had a good season up till now and I wanted to put together my best skate but it didn’t happen. I felt the extra pressure and it didn’t work.”

Competition continues Friday.

Full results:

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