Ice Network

Duhamel, Radford outclass pairs field to take title

Tarasova, Morozov earn silver; Moore-Towers, Marinaro claim bronze
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The world champions showed why they are just that in Lethbridge this week. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford performed a near-perfect rendition of their "Hometown Glory" free skate, complete with their trademark throw quad salchow, on their way to defending their Skate Canada title, winning the gold by a whopping 25 points. -Getty Images

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford left no doubt.

The world champions routed the field at 2015 Skate Canada, winning the pairs title by 25 points.

The win wasn't as easily as it looked. They felt the nerves kick, and they couldn't put their fingers on why.

"We both came in and we really didn't speak to each other as much as we normally do," Radford said. "But whenever we did, we both were feeling the same thing: a little out of our bodies, not as centred as we normally are."

To skate the way they are accustomed to, they had to rely on experience.

It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough for this point in the season. They landed a fine throw quad salchow, but their jump combination fizzled as Duhamel put a hand down on the first triple toe loop. They won with 216.16 points.

Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took the silver medal with 191.19 points with a "good skate," as Morozov called it.

"We are very happy," Morozov said. "It's our best free this season."

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro won the bronze medal with 174.85 points after aborting an axel lasso lift early in the program. They soldiered on, something they are learning to master.

They finished just ahead of their training mates, Team USA's Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran, who finished in fourth place with 173.40 points.

But Duhamel and Radford were the stars of the show. And when they finished, Duhamel was visibly emotional.

"It's been so hard," she said. "We've been training this long; we've been training with one quad, with two quads. We really loved this program, but we've performed this long three times this year and each time was a weird experience.

"I think maybe we don't really feel that much pressure as world champions, but I think we do feel it. We do feel it because we know what we are capable of."

Duhamel and Radford decided to remove the throw quad lutz because they needed a stellar performance to set them on the road for the season.   

"In the end, it was the right decision and it felt so good," Duhamel said.

As they got into the starting position, Duhamel felt very nervous, but then she looked around and saw hundreds of Canadian flags.

"I just smiled and thought, 'This is why I do this,'" she said.

Radford feels perhaps they put a lot of pressure on themselves at this event because their past two free skate performances "weren't the smoothest."

"We really wanted to go out there and have a really great performance, and that's probably where that pressure came from," he said.

Moore-Towers felt their most important achievement was that they didn't let the "botched" lift snowball into something worse.

"A lot of stuff we've been working on, we accomplished out there," Marinaro said. "Skating in and out of elements, we felt it was a huge step up from our competition in Salt Lake City. We've been working hard on the lift technique and it's been going tremendously, until today. So, it's not going to happen again and we got some points to make up for [Rostelecom Cup] in three weeks."