16 of ’16: Duhamel & Radford deny doubters, return to top of the world
With the year coming to a close, Olympic.ca will look back at 16 of the most memorable Team Canada stories of 2016. As a new “16 of ‘16” story is revealed daily, you can find the entire series here.
In 2015, they were predicted to win the world title and did.
In 2016, almost no one, including sometimes them, thought they could win it again.
But they did.
The two seasons were a study in contrasts.
In 2014-15, they went undefeated while adding a throw quad Salchow into their repertoire with relative ease. But there was as much chatter about who they didn’t have to defeat as there was about their consistent success. In the minds of the naysayers, Duhamel and Radford had only become world champions in the absence of Olympic champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov as well as the Sochi 2014 runners-up Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov.
Both of those teams were back in the mix in 2015-16, along with the exciting new German pairing of five-time world champion Aliona Savchenko with Bruno Massot. Add in the steadily improving 2015 world silver medallists Wenjing Sui and Cong Han and there were many doubters about the chances of Duhamel and Radford repeating.
In an attempt to maintain their technical advantage, the Canadians tried to insert a throw quad Lutz into their free skate. Instead, it negatively impacted the timing of the throw triple Lutz they had to do in the short program. There were no easy victories, even their fifth national title, and they had a nine-event international win streak snapped at the Grand Prix Final when they lost to Stolbova and Klimov.
Just when they thought they had turned their season around, they were forced out of the Four Continents Championships when Duhamel got sick.
Which brings this story to the world championships in Boston.
Last on the ice for the short program, they had to be clean to put themselves into podium contention, based on how well everyone before them had skated. The landing on the throw was a little low, but they were able to finally finish the program without feeling frustrated. They were placed second, just behind Sui and Han, directly ahead of Volosozhar and Trankov.
For the free skate, Duhamel and Radford drew the second starting position in the final flight. A couple of costly errors from Sui and Han opened the door, which Duhamel and Radford walked right through.
Their “Hometown Glory” program was a true moment. Pretty much every element was performed to the best of their abilities. As they ticked them off, the crowd got louder and louder. Duhamel couldn’t keep herself from screaming as Radford carried her in their final lift. Three judges deemed their performance to be perfect.
They were followed by Savchenko and Massot, then Volosozhar and Trankov, both teams making mistakes.
There was no more doubt.
Duhamel and Radford were once again the best in the world.