Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, figure skating stars: “We’re training quadruple salchow. We want to win”

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Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are two successful Canadian skaters: together they won two bronze medals at the World Championships, a silver in the Olympic team competition and took part in the Grand Prix Finals three times. Even if they have reached important results, they remain modest and full of other interests. Let’s know them better in this exclusive interview for Olimpiazzurra.

Last season you took part in the Olimpycs Games for the first time. How did that feel? And what do you think about the format of the team event, where you won the silver medal?

Eric: “The Olympics were everything I had been dreaming of and more. The energy in the Olympic village was incredible. We also had a big range of experience in Sochi. The best thing has been to win our silver medal and the most disappointing our performance in our long program”.

Meagan: “Going to the Olympics was a dream come true. I waited for many, many years to skate over the Olympic rings that are painted on the ice. In the team competition, we realized our very best preformance. We finished our program and we were so proud. Then, we exit the ice to a very proud coach, as well as excited team mates waiting for us in the kiss and cry. I will always cherish this moment and I feel very lucky to have shared it with all the skaters from Team Canada. I liked the format of the team event very much. It was nice to share the Olympic experience with the others and everyone contributed to help Canada win the silver medal. It was a little bit weird to receive the silver medal the night before our own pairs competition started though. I felt like my Olympic journey was complete and I had acheived everything I dreamt of, but I had to go and compete again! We didn’t skate our best in the long program and I was so heartbroken after that. I will never fully understand why I had to fall on the triple sal in the long, it’s an element I can execute so easily since I was a young child. But I think everything happens for a reason and one day I will learn why! “.

You are one of the few couples who can realize triple lutz both in single element and thrown. How much time do you spend training technical elements, which represent your strongest point? Are you training also for the quadruple salchow thrown?

Eric:“Both me and Meagan were strong singles skaters and even though doing a triple lutz is easy for us, it took a long time until it became easy to do in competition. We want to keep pushing the sport of figure skating so we will do both the lutz and the throw quadruple Salchow in our long this season”.

Meagan:We try to practice all the elements equally, but of course, we love to jump and love to practice the jumps and throws! Everyday we practice all our elements and then practice our program, one day a short, the next day the free skate. After the run-through of our program, we correct any mistakes that were made and then we spend sometime to practice our throw quad salchow! I love this new trick! We decided to learn it this summer and we spent one month practicing it before we started landing it cleanly. Now we can land more then one everyday and it has become more consistent then I imagined: we do it in the free program quite often. We also spend the time to work on our choreography, skating skills, musicality and presentation each day. We have two coaches that help with this, Sylvie Fullum and Julie Marcotte”.

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Can you tell us something about the new programs? How have you realized them?

Eric:“The short program is by a Quebec singer named Ginette Reno. It’s called “Un peu plus haut”. She has a very powerful voice and it resonates with us when we skate. The long program is a medley by the band “Muse”. It’s very different than anything we’ve done….different than anything any pair team has done I think. Both programs show a different side of us but both are very fun to perform”.

Meagan:”Our choreographer Julie Marcotte found the music for our new short program. She heard it and told us that we will use it and we had no choice because she thought it was perfect for us. Its a song by a french Canadian singer, Ginette Reno. She is singing about reaching higher and further and she sings with so much passion and power. We really feel connected to this music. Our long program is music from the band “Muse”. Our friend skated to this back in 2011-2012 and I wanted to use it when he did but during this time we were skating to Coldplay. Julie thought the music was to similar and she wanted us to show different styles so we put this “Muse” music aside and said one day in the future we would use it. I told Julie and Eric this spring that I want to use this music this year. I feel the music deep into my soul and I really love it and I felt like Eric and I would skate well to it”.

Which are your goals for this season and what are your plans for the next future?

Eric: “If you had asked me what my future in skating is in the summer I would have told you I was ready to retire. But things changed this summer and working on something new and exciting like the Quad salchow, made skating exciting and challenging again. It would be a dream come true to win a world title this season, but something I would really like to do is win a Grand Prix competition. We have been 3rd and 2nd many times but never first!”.

Maegan:“Our goals for this season are modest, we want to skate with freedom in each competition. Last year we found ourselves so stressed for competitions that they were not enjoyable to us. We just wanted it to end because we didn’t like the feeling it was causing us. Now we are really enjoying our skating. We continued to skate and compete together because we love to skate and we want to show everyone this. We have some goals for competition, like landing our throw quad during the Grand Prix circuit and winning a Grand Prix event. We have never won a Grand Prix!! We would also like to win a medal at the Grand Prix Final and win the World title. But these goals are not our priority. We will feel proud and successful after each competition if we skated with freedom, passion and relaxation”.

Eric, you are also an excellent musician and last year you composed the music for the short program. Can you tell us something about it?

“The song I wrote for our short program last season was something very special to me. I wrote the song for my coach who passed away in 2006. I would have never dreamed I would one day perform at the Olympics to my own composition but to skate a great program like we did in the Team competition was a moment I will remember and cherish the rest of my life”.

Meagan, from July you are engaged to Bruno Marcotte, your coach. Can you tell us something about it? Did it change the relationships in the team?

“Bruno and I have been dating for 4 years now and living together. Not much has changed since we got engaged to be married. When we are at the rink everything is very professional and we respect each other very much. I always listen to his advice and he always treats me like the other skaters. I have no special treatment and no extra lesson time. Eric has also known Bruno for a long time; they even trained together many years ago when Bruno was skating. Eric is always supportive and Eric and I are a team when it comes to skating. Bruno and I are a team in my personal life”.

What will you do when you stop competing at high level?

Eric: ” When I stop skating I would like to pursue music and finish my music degree. I would also like to do choreography. Maybe I can do both! I will write the music for a skater and do their choreography!”.

Meagan: “When I stop skating I want to help young athletes with nutrition and gym training. I have a degree in Holistic Nutrition and I want to share this knowledge with other athletes. I also want to write a cookbook and open up my own health food cafe. I also thought of getting my yoga training certification and working as a yoga teacher. Of course, I will also start a family and have children as soon as Eric and I are done competing. There’s so many things I want to do!!! I don’t know where I will start”.

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What do you like to do in your spare time?

Eric:In my spare time I play the piano a lot, but I love going to movies and spending time with my friends. I am very interested in science as well and I read a lot of books about cosmology and biology”.

Meagan: In my spare time I love to be with my dog and my cat. I love animals and want to adopt all the animals that don’t have a loving home. Bruno and I also play on a baseball team in the summer and play in an indoor tennis league in the winter. I also love cooking and baking vegan treats! (I am a vegan, which means I don’t eat any animal products)”.

After changing some partners, when did you realize that you were the perfect ones for eachother?

Meagan:”At the beginning, Eric and I struggled. Our initial try out was not successful but Bruno insisted that we skate together. He told us he believed that we were a perfect match for each other and that one-day, if we worked hard, we could become the very best. We both listened to him and eventually he was correct! From the beginning of our training together, Eric and I got along very well. We have never had a fight or argument with each other and always have the same goals and ideas of how to achieve those goals. After our first season together, which we qualified for the World Championships and had a successful competition there in 2011, we really understood that maybe we had something special. I feel like Eric and I have a unique energy. We compliment eachother very well, with our strengths and weaknesses. We are very different skaters and very different personalities but in our core, our values and morals, we are really similar. I would have never achieved so much success without Eric”.

Eric: “I think the moment I knew Meagan was the right partner for me was our first day of training. My last partners always struggled with the landing of the throws. But the very first throw triple I did with Meagan, she landed! In that moment I knew that we had the potential to do something great in skating!”.

 

Thanks to Eric Radford and Meagan Duhamel for the avabibility and kindness.

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Photos: Eric Radford

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