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James and Radford Take Silver in International Debut at Autumn Classic International

PIERREFONDS, Que. – Vanessa James and Eric Radford launched their new partnership for Canada with a silver medal in pairs on Friday at the Autumn Classic International figure skating competition.

This past April, two-time world champion and three-time Olympic medallist Radford announced he was coming out of retirement to skate for Canada once again. But this time it was with new partner Vanessa James, a European champion and world championship medallist who formerly competed for France.

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan stayed in first place for the victory Friday with 204.06 points followed by the new Canadian pair with 184.01. Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc of the U.S. hung on for third with 170.64.

Skating to Harry Styles, James and Radford opened with a solid triple twist and executed a clean throw triple Salchow later on. But they were shaky on their side-by-side jumps with James falling once and stepping out of another.

‘’We were hoping for better obviously,’’ said Radford, 36. ‘’But there’s so much for us we have to keep in perspective, and we are finding out how to do this. We know we are going to have a clearer target at our next competition. We have a huge opportunity here and that’s how we are going to take this.’’

‘’For me it’s a learning lesson on how to control my stress,’’ added the 33-year-old James, born in Scarborough, Ont. ‘’I’m taking this as a step in our career.’’

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil, Que., missed a berth on the podium by less than a point finishing fourth at 169.91 while Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland of Levis, Que., remained seventh.

In the women’s free skate, Marilena Kitromillis of Cyprus won the gold ahead of two South Koreans: Young You and Seoyeon Ji.

Emily Bausback of Vancouver, B.C. was the top Canadian climbing from ninth to seventh. Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., was eighth and Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., 10th.

“There’s a lot of positive takeaways from this competition,’’ said Bausback, whose free skate ranked sixth. ‘’I learned a lot about myself and how to deal with my nerves. It’s something I can build on going into Skate Canada International.’’

In ice dancing, world championship bronze medallists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto, Ont. are first after the rhythm dance with 83.35, Olivia Smart of Adrian Diaz of Spain are second at 75.20 and Caroline Green and Michael Parsons of the U.S. third at 73.93.

‘’We were very pleased with our speed today because it’s always hard to come out for the first event and not overdo it,’’ said Gilles. ‘’We skated very sensible and considering where we are in the season, we are super happy.’’

There are three other Canadian entries: Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., are fourth at 71.27, Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver are fifth at 65.11 and Haley Sales of Kelowna, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C. are sixth at 59.91.

All three entries in men’s competition are Canadian. After the short program, Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., is first with 80.82 points, Bennet Toman of Brampton, Ont., second at 63.30 and Beres Clements of Gibson, B.C., third at 55.48.

‘’I was really nervous and holding back on some of the jumps,’’ said Orzel, 21, in his third season at the senior level.

The ISU Challenger Series provides an opportunity for senior skaters to compete at an international level and earn world ranking points.

Competition ends Saturday at the Pierrefonds Sportplexe with the men’s free skate and the free dance.

Full results: https://results.skatecanada.ca/2021ACI/

National champion Bausback looking ahead, not behind

Even in a world that seems to be standing still at the moment, Emily Bausback can’t help but move forward.

Literally.

Confined to quarantine in her first months as the reigning Canadian women’s champion, the 18-year-old from New Westminster, B.C. took up several hobbies during the shutdown, including a newfound passion for cycling.

Bausback has found her own personal escape from the unpredictability of the new skating season, often climbing on her bike and getting away for hours at a time. Sometimes her travels take her to the University of British Columbia campus, but more often than not she pedals down to the Seawall in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, offering her a picturesque view of the majestic Vancouver skyline, and some quiet time alone to reflect on an unusual nine months.

One day, Bausback did a round-trip 60 kilometres, but she thinks her personal best is closer to 80.

She can’t say for sure.

“My watch died halfway through, so I couldn’t really track how far I’d gone,” says Bausback with a laugh.

“I love it. It’s just me and my bike. It’s allowed me a lot of time with my thoughts,” she adds. “Cycling helped me get some time to myself to reflect on last season and everything that has happened since.”

And what a season it was. A year that started on the Junior Grand Prix circuit culminated at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., where Bausback and coach Joanne McLeod were targeting a top-5 finish in the senior women’s event.

They did a little better than that, finding the top of the podium at the Hershey Centre.

“Becoming a national champion is everyone’s dream, but we weren’t sure if we would progress that quickly and win it by end of the season,” Bausback admits. “When I did end up winning, it was absolutely incredible. I can’t describe the feeling. It was surreal.”

“I’m just trying to stay positive. This is my first time as a national champion, so everything is new to me. There’s not a year I can compare it to.”

One thing is for certain – it has been a year of firsts for Bausback.

In June, she graduated from high school in the most unconventional of ways, as these strange times dictate. Her graduation ceremony was held online and, the following day, Bausback and her fellow graduates were invited to the school in groups of 20, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines. Her school set up a makeshift stage, which she was able to walk across in a mock ceremony, and she was able to enjoy the time-honoured graduation traditions of getting photos taken with her parents and strolling the halls of her school one last time.

She is now enrolled in her first year of the Kinesiology program at Simon Fraser University, taking her classes in a virtual setting. Bausback had originally planned to take a gap year from Simon Fraser so she could compete internationally, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans.

“It’s been an interesting year,” she says. “Winning in Mississauga was probably the greatest moment of my entire life, but what’s happening now, it’s almost hard to remember what the world was like pre-COVID before everything shut down.

“I was looking forward to competing internationally and having my debut on the Grand Prix circuit. But I know there will be another chance. I’m optimistic nationals will happen, and I am motivated every day to defend my title.”

With her home rink at Champs International Skating Centre of BC still closed in April, Bausback found ice time in nearby Abbotsford until Champs re-opened their doors a couple of months later. Working with McLeod and choreographers Lance Vipond and Neil Wilson, she will debut two new programs once competition resumes, skating her short program to The One I Love by Ellen Krauss and her free program to the spiritual Italian piece Alla Notte (Adagio) by Miriam Stockley.

It may not be the way she envisioned spending her first year as a national champion, but Bausback is grateful to all those who helped her get to the top of Canada’s figure skating mountain.

“My parents, my family, my skating family at Champs and Joanne, who has been with me since the beginning, I owe so much to them,” she says.

“It feels like we won this together.”

For now, it’s one day, and one step, at a time. Bausback hopes when her skating journey resumes, it will lead to Beijing 2022.

“We aren’t going to change anything in our plans,” she says. “Our goal is to make the 2022 Olympics, and we’re going to stick to that.”

In every sense, Emily Bausback is looking ahead, and not behind. She knows the best is still in front of her.

 

 

Canadian skaters continue on ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit in Japan

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will have five entries, for a total of seven skaters at the third ISU Junior Grand Prix of the season. The event takes place in Yokohama, Japan, from September 7-11, 2016. Canada will have one entry in ladies and two entries in men’s and ice dance. There will be no pair competition at the event.

Roman Sadovsky, 17, Vaughan, Ont., is one of two Canadian entries in men’s. Last season, Sadovsky won gold at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Slovakia, bronze at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Poland and placed sixth at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final. He also placed fourth at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games and ninth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in the senior category. Sadovsky is coached by Brian Orser and Lee Barkell.

Eric Liu, 15, Edmonton, Alta., will also represent Canada in men’s. Liu placed 15th at his first ISU Junior Grand Prix this season, in St. Gervais, France. Last season he placed seventh in the junior category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. He is coached by Ravi Walia at Ice Palace FSC.

Emily Bausback, 14, Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian entry in ladies. This will be her first ISU Junior Grand Prix assignment. Last season, she placed seventh in the novice category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. She is coached by Joanne McLeod at the Champs International Skating Centre.

Marjorie Lajoie, 15, Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha, 17, Greenfield Park, Que., are one of two Canadian entries in ice dance. Last season, the 2016 Canadian junior silver medallists placed seventh at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Spain, fourth at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, and 13th at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Lajoie and Lagha train in Montreal, Que., with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer and Pascal Denis.

Olivia Han, 14, Waterloo, Ont., and Grayson Lochhead, 16, Sweaburg, Ont., will also represent Canada in ice dance. The 2016 Canadian novice champions represent the Kitchener-Waterloo SC and Woodstock SC. Han and Lochhead are coached by Paul McIntosh.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director, will be the Canadian team leader. Physiotherapist Paige Larson of North Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Patty Klein of Mt. Royal, Que., and Susan Blatz of Burlington, Ont., are the Canadian officials at the event.

The ISU will be live streaming the competition via the ISU Junior Grand Prix YouTube channel.

For results and full entries please visit www.isu.org.

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT ISU JGP #3 – Yokohama, Japan

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Roman Sadovsky 17 Vaughan, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Brian Orser / Lee Barkell
Mens Eric Liu 15 Edmonton, Alta. Ice Palace FSC Ravi Walia
Ladies Emily Bausback 14 Vancouver, B.C. Champs International Skating Centre Joanne McLeod
Ice Dance Marjorie Lajoie / Zachary Lagha 15/17 Boucherville, Que. / Greenfield Park, Que. CPA Boucherville / CPA St-Lambert Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon / Romain Haguenauer / Pascal Denis
Ice Dance Olivia Han / Grayson Lochhead 14/16 Waterloo, Ont. / Sweaburg, Ont. Kitchener-Waterloo SC / Woodstock SC Paul McIntosh