GANGNEUNG — Even in what might be the deepest pairs figure skating field in Olympic history, there is separation at the top — even on ice, the cream rises — and Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford will have to be that much better one last time.
Pyeongchang 2018 logo.
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They were just good enough for third place in the short program on Wednesday. Good, but not great, as Radford put it so succinctly, after he and Duhamel lost synchronization on their side-by-side triple Lutzes. So anxious was he to land the bothersome jump cleanly, that he took off early. But they both landed on one foot, which is an improvement, given his previous two-foot troubles.
“Content is a really good word,” Radford said when asked to sum up the performance. “It wasn’t like crazy perfect. But we’re definitely really satisfied, really happy. … We did some good elements, not great. … I think we can take those little things that were off and give ourselves a target for tomorrow.”
On a great day of skating, the truly great scores were reserved for the Chinese pair of Wenjing Sui and Cong Han who earned 82.39 points, and Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, Olympic Athletes from Russia, who were second with 81.68.
That seems almost an insurmountable advantage over the rest of the field. But the Canadians, who earned 76.82 and sit atop the second cohort, certainly aren’t relegated to the bronze. Nor are they guaranteed a medal.
“I think especially in a field this deep, we could have taken ourselves completely out of contention with missing a major element and we didn’t do that,” Duhamel said. “We kept ourselves in the mix and that makes us feel good going forward.”
The other Canadian pairs both advanced as well, despite some hiccups with their programs. Kirsten Moore-Towers’ partner Michael Marinaro doubled a planned side-by-side triple toe and the score of 65.68 reflected that downgrade. Even so, they finished 13th.
“It was an uncharacteristic mistake,” he said. “We haven’t been doing that at home or in training so it was a little bit disappointing, but we’re ready to lay it down for you guys tomorrow.”
Charlie Bilodeau’s partner, Julianne Séguin, put her hand down on the landing of a throw triple Lutz, and they earned 67.52 to finish 12th.
They won’t have a shot at the podium, but the Germans, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, will certainly take a run at it. They are fourth, just .23 points behind the Canadians. In all, 10 of the 16 teams advancing to the long programs scored 70 points or higher.
“I can’t remember this many skaters scoring over 70,” Radford said. That used to be the benchmark. Now we have two (pairs) over 80. I think it’s so exciting and I love how each team has their own individual story and style, and strengths and weaknesses.
“The level is incredibly high and we felt privileged to be part of …read more