Canadian duo executes season's best to reach their 1st pairs podium
By Pj Kwong, CBC Sports
The pressure of the Olympic ice can be daunting. This is especially true as skaters take their positions for their free programs. This isn't like the world figure skating championships where if you wait a year, there will be another chance to make things right.
Sometimes though, skaters are able to rise above the pressure. There is nothing better than an event where the skaters just skate and let the judges figure out who ends up where. This was one of those events.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford came to Pyeongchang with one goal in mind: to be on the Olympic podium. After a solid short program where they finished in third place, they were going to need to skate clean if they wanted a medal especially since the German pair of Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot were looking to do the same thing.
VIDEO | Faith and trust the key to success for Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford
As I watched Meagan and Eric's season's best performance, I was struck by the clues I got to their relationship as they skated from element to element. Although composed and focused, there were moments where I saw the glances exchanged between them.
From beyond the boards, it was very clear they were in this together and supporting each other all the way. With their throw quad Salchow out of the way, you could see them relax and once Meagan landed her throw triple Lutz, her smile was so wide as to almost look like she was having an out of body experience.
My sense of Eric Radford is that he is a big picture guy who is able to bring his partner's feet back on the ground both figuratively and literally. Losing focus at this point in the program would have cost them everything. They kept it together.
VIDEO | Duhamel and Radford's free skate
This was the fourth strong skate in a row for Duhamel and Radford at the Olympic Games, if we include their appearances which helped win gold in figure skating team event at the start of the week. Their new season's-best score was no surprise, although they had to wait through two more teams to find out that they claimed an Olympic bronze medal.
That special connection between partners was everywhere in the pair event today. Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro also posted a season's best score; as did Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodoeau. The satisfaction as each team ended their performance and embraced at centre ice needed no explanation. For better or worse, they had travelled this Olympic road together and today the road was good.
VIDEO | Moore-Towers and Marinaro's free skate
For Olympic champions Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, satisfaction doesn't event start to cover the feeling at the end of their season's best performance. Aljona is now a five-time Olympian and was a five-time world champion and two-time Olympic bronze medallist with former partner Robin Szolkowy. She was able to close out an Olympic chapter in Korea with a partner who no one to start with, thought would have been a match for her.