NEWS

Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford get final laugh on their critics

03/31/2015 08:38 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT
By any measure, the Canadian pairs team of Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford have just completed their dream season.

The dynamic dual finally reached their goal of winning a pairs world title last week in Shanghai. They also won every event they entered this year.

Their success in China was a final shot at the critics, including coaches and skaters, who have continually chastised the Canadians for a lack of imagination, among other things.

Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., have been hearing that kind of talk for the last four years.

They come from individual skating backgrounds. Duhamel is four-foot-11 and Radford is 6-2, so there is a significant size difference. Duhamel skates with the power and force, while Radford is the artist of the team.

"And they're like…she has no flexibility and she's so stiff and they don't show any emotion at all," Duhamel told CBC News in a sit-down interview.

"[Russian] Maxim Trankov, who is the 2014 pairs Olympic champion, publicly in interviews has done nothing but criticize Eric and I and as a fellow competitor and sportsman I think that's very disrespectful. We have nothing but positive things to say about their skating so why one of our competitors has to open his mouth and publicly put us down is very disrespectful."

Duhamel and Radford do all of their talking on the ice.

In Shanghai, the Canadians completely demolished the competition, finishing with a total score of 221.53 points and defeating two Chinese pairs team in their own backyard.

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong won the silver medal with a score of 214.12, leapfrogging Pang Qing and Tong Jian, who got the bronze with 212.77.

Radford said the criticism fuels the Canadian team with every passing event.

"It hurts our feelings because we're just out there doing our best, it's our passion," Radford told CBC News. "We're putting ourselves out there and it kind of makes us vulnerable when somebody attacks you that way, when you feel attacked like that but at the same time it's given us more determination and we set out and we want to prove these people wrong."

Of course, this isn't ice dancing. The technical aspect to the pairs competition is critical to a team's success, something Duhamel and Radford have in spades.

They possess one element — side-by-side triple Lutzes — that no other team in the world has. And their quad throw Salchow, added this season, is only attempted in competition by one other team.

"They just continued to evolve," said CBC Sports skating expert Pj Kwong. "They started of already technically strong and they had to learn how to do the other stuff better and they did. They weren't a traditional pair in a lot of ways. But they have the last laugh."

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