Duhamel & Radford repeat as Skate Canada champions
World Champions Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford(CAN) obviously were the top favorites and also had to deal with the pressure and the expectations, but they handled the situation very well. In the short program to “Your Song” by Elton John, Radford touched down with his hands on the side-by-side triple Lutz, but this was the only visible mistake in an otherwise solid performance.
“I think this was a great way to start the season. It wasn’t perfect, it was a little shaky, we had to fight for a few things, but it was a good performance. I think we showed improvement in the areas that we wanted to,” Radford said. Duhamel added that she was especially proud that they got a level four on their triple twist for the first time.
The World Champions had decided not to risk the new throw quad Lutz in their free skating to “Hometown Glory” by Adele. But they did the throw quad Salchow that Meagan landed, albeit a bit shaky. This time the side-by-side triple Lutz was clean as was the throw triple Lutz, but Duhamel put down both hands on the triple toe.
Overall the victory for the Four Continents Champions was not a question. On the other hand their programs don’t seem to have the same energy and emotion yet as last year’s, but maybe this will come with time. "Before we skated it felt very challenging. We felt pretty nervous. We just put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We really wanted to go out there and have a great performance,” Radford said.
One year ago Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS) had debuted at the senior circuit at Skate Canada and came off with a bronze medal. This time the young Russian team moved up one spot on the podium and showed improved consistency. However, Evgenia doubled the toe loop in the short program to “Riverdance.”
There was no major mistake in their long program to Chopin, but one judge didn’t appreciate them at all and gave them mostly negative GOEs (on several elements he was the only one) and also the lowest component scores. The highlight in both programs was the huge level-four triple twist and the question about the quad is obvious. “We’re planning a quad, but we’re not putting it into the program yet, because we don’t want it to affect other elements. I think that we’ll will take on the quad twist after the second Grand Prix event and we’ll try to show it in competition this season,” explained Morozov, who celebrated his 23rd birthday the day of the exhibition gala.
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro (CAN) looked much improved compared to last year at Skate Canada. They have have started to gell as a team, and skated with energy and spark.
Their dynamic short program to “If I Can’t Have You” was clean. Their romantic long program to “Romeo and Juliet” featured solid throws and jumps, but their Axel lasso lift didn’t go up. The Canadians remained in third. “Overall we were very happy with our performance today. It’s our first Grand Prix medal together, so it’s super exciting,” Moore-Towers commented.
Marissa Castelli & Mervin Tran (USA) compete in their first season as a team and their fourth place finish ahead of more experienced couples was respectable. They made a few errors on the side-by-side jumps and the throw double Axel in the free skating, but overall left a good impression. Mervin was a World bronze medalist in 2012 with Narumi Takahashi, competing for Japan, then skated for his native Canada in the past season with Natasha Purich, and now represents the USA with Marissa.
Vera Bazarova & Andrei Deputat of Russia for sure had hoped for more, but errors on the side-by-side jumps and a fall on the throw triple flip cost many points and the Russians finished fifth. But Bazarova had broken Deputat’s nose on the triple twist and he nevertheless continued.
Italy’s Valentina Marchei & Ondrej Hotarek withdrew before the free skating. She had hit him on the head during the first practice and while he still competed in the short program he didn’t feel well. The doctors suspected a concussion.