Duhamel’s Early Career

Meagan Duhamel began skating at age three at the Walden Figure Skating Club in Northern Ontario, near Sudbury. At first she competed in ladies’ singles, winning the Canadian Junior Women’s title in 2003.

Duhamel’s first pairs partner was Ryan Arnold; together they made history at the 2005 World Junior Figure Skating Championships by becoming the first pair to land a throw triple Lutz jump in international competition. At the 2005 Canadian national championships, they also became the first Canadian pairs team to land side-by-side triple Lutz jumps in competition. (This jump later propelled Duhamel and Radford to world champion status).

Paired with Craig Buntin from 2007 to 2010, Duhamel achieved top 10 finishes at the World Figure Skating Championships and medalled at the Canadian championships and the international Four Continents event. In 2007, she also placed sixth in the senior ladies’ event at the Canadian championships.

Radford’s Early Career

Eric Radford’s skating career evolved similarly to Duhamel’s, with early success in both pairs and men’s events. He started skating at age eight at the Balmertown Figure Skating Club, also in Northern Ontario. Radford won the Canadian novice men’s title in 2002 and the junior men’s title two years later.

Radford first competed in pairs with Sarah Burke, then with Rachel Kirkland from 2005 to 2009, coached by world men’s champion Brian Orser and world pairs champion Ingo Steuer. Kirkland and Radford won silver at the Junior Canadian championships in 2006 and then placed fifth at the 2007 Canadian senior nationals. With Anne-Marie Giroux, he placed eighth at the 2010 Canadian nationals.

Duhamel and Radford: 2010–11 Season

In 2010, both Duhamel and Radford split from their skating partners and separately moved to Montréal’s Club de Patinage Artistique de St-Léonard to further their skating careers. Later that year, coaches Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte brought them together as a skating pair, despite the technical challenges posed by the difference in their heights. (Duhamel is 148 cm, or 4 feet 10 inches, and Radford 188 cm, or 6 feet 2 inches.) Within months the new pair won their first international medal, a bronze, at the Nebelhorn Trophy event, followed in October 2010 by their first appearance at Skate Canada International, where in the short program they landed the difficult throw triple Lutz, the first of many.

Duhamel and Radford first competed together at the Canadian national championships in 2011, where they won silver, followed by another silver at the Four Continents competition. Their first appearance at the World Figure Skating Championships was notable for Duhamel accidentally breaking Radford’s nose with her elbow during the first element of their short program, and for their seventh-place finish ahead of Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moskovitch.

At this point, their strong individual skating skills were propelling their pairs career. To fine-tune their artistry, they engaged choreographer Julie Marcotte, a relationship that lasted through their rise to international dominance.

2011–12 Season

At Skate Canada in October 2011, Duhamel and Radford earned bronze with a personal best technical score, their first medal in an ISU Grand Prix event. They followed it up at France’s Trophée Eric Bompard with another bronze. Their first national championship came in 2012 in Moncton, where they defeated defending champions Moore-Towers and Moskovitch, establishing a dynasty that lasted uninterrupted for several years. At the 2012 world championships in France, they finished fifth, improving from their seventh-place ranking the previous year.

2012–13 Season

The next season saw the duo win the Four Continents event, defend their Canadian championship, and earn their first World medal, a bronze, at the world championships in London, Ontario. They placed second in the short program with their trademark side-by-side triple Lutzes and a throw triple Lutz, ahead of the reigning German world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy. Duhamel and Radford led the long program until the Germans were given top marks for what many considered a substandard performance (a decision that caused much controversy). Tatania Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia won gold.

2013–14 Season

The next season, Duhamel and Radford skated their short program to Radford’s composition “Tribute,” commemorating his deceased early coach, Paul Wirtz.

Duhamel and Radford began the season with medals at Skate Canada and Trophée Bompard. At the 2014 Canadian championships, they won gold with a new Canadian record score of 213.62. Then came the much-anticipated Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, with Duhamel and Radford medal favourites. Although they earned silver in the team event, a number of missteps left them fifth in the pairs competition after the short program. Gold eventually went to Russia’s Volosozhar and Trankov, with the Canadians dropping to seventh place after Duhamel fell.

The next month at the world championships, a fall by Duhamel on a triple Salchow jump held them to third place for the second year, with a score of 210.84.

2014–15 Season

For 2014–15, Duhamel and Radford added an even greater level of technical difficulty to their long program: the rare throw quadruple Salchow jump (four revolutions in the air for the woman). Only one other international pair attempted the manoeuvre. Their programs also featured their trademark side-by-side triple Lutzes, a triple twist lift, and a throw triple Salchow. With their mastery of these difficult technical elements, Duhamel and Radford dominated the field, skating undefeated through six international competitions, including the Grand Prix Final, where their long program marks set a Canadian record. For the first time they skated to music with sung lyrics — the first season that the ISU had permitted lyrics; their short program was skated to a Ginette Reno recording, Un peu plus haut, un peu plus loin.

Duhamel and Radford concluded their impressive winning streak by repeating gold at the Canadian championships in January 2015 and then, at the 2015 Worlds in Shanghai, becoming the first Canadian pair to win gold since Jamie Salé and David Pelletier in 2001. Their moving, error-free short program, with flawless side-by-side triple Lutzes and a throw triple flip, earned 76.98 points, a clear 4.39 ahead of China’s Pang Qing and Tong Jian. The technical difficulty of Duhamel and Radford’s long program was unmatched, and with their throw quadruple Salchow they earned a personal best overall score of 221.53 and the distinction of being the only international team to land side-by-side triple Lutzes.

The season was significant for personal reasons as well. In December 2014, Radford came out publicly as gay, the first elite figure skater to do so while competing as an amateur athlete. At the end of the season, Duhamel married coach Bruno Marcotte.

2015–16 Season

Duhamel and Radford retained their Skate Canada crown in the 2015–16 season but withdrew from Four Continents after the short program due to flu. However, a silver medal in the Grand Prix Final left them in contention to defend their world title.

At the world championships in Boston, a clean short program had Duhamel and Radford in second place behind China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong. Their long program — the most technically difficult of the event — included the only side-by-side triple Lutzes and throw quadruple Salchow of the competition, plus a throw triple Lutz, towering lifts and a throw triple twist. Their guts and skill were rewarded with a come-from-behind winning total score of 231.99, another personal best and the highest score of the season. They were the first Canadian pair to defend their world title since Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul in 1960.

2016–17 Season

In 2016–17, Duhamel and Radford demonstrated their technical mastery yet again,introducing the risky throw triple Axel jump, which they landed at Skate Canada International in the short program, earning a personal best 78.3 points. In the long program, Duhamel fell on their signature quadruple throw, but they nevertheless held on to first place. At the 2017 national championships they handily won their sixth title, establishing a new Canadian record for consecutive pairs titles. However, at the 2017 Worlds, injuries cost them their crown and they finished seventh.

2017–18 Season

Duhamel and Radford made some coaching changes in June 2017, in preparation for the new competitive season and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In September, they won silver at the Autumn Classic International in Montréal, while in October, they took gold at the Skate Canada International in Regina. The following month, they won bronze at Skate America, securing a spot at the ISU Grand Prix Final in December 2017, where they again took bronze.

Duhamel and Radford delivered strong performances during the team event at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, placing first in the pairs free skate segment and second in the pairs short program. The Canadian team — which included veteran competitors Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, as well as younger skaters Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman — dominated the competition and won the gold medal. Only a few days later, Duhamel and Radford won bronze in the pairs event, placing third in the short program and second in the free skate to finish third overall behind Germany’s Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (gold) and China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (silver).

Legacy

Duhamel and Radford distinguished themselves by mastering difficult technical elements that were rarely attempted by their competitors. Side-by-side triple Lutz jumps, the throw triple Axel and throw quadruple Salchow jumps all became staples of their programs. They have continued in the footsteps of other Canadian innovators such as Donald Jackson, Brian Orser, Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko by expanding the technical horizons of their sport.

Duhamel and Radford joined a long line of World and/or Olympic champion Canadian pairs from Frances Dafoe and Norris Bowden to Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, affirming Canada’s place in the annals of pairs skating. They hold the record for the most consecutive Canadian pairs championships (2012 to 2017) to date.

Radford was the first openly gay male skater to win a world title.

Career Highlights

Olympic Winter Games Pair Skating: Bronze (2018)
Team Event: Gold (2018), Silver (2014)
World Championships Gold (2015, 2016)
Bronze (2013, 2014)
World Championships (team event) Silver (2013)
Bronze (2012)
Four Continents Championships Gold (2013, 2015)
Silver (2011)
Grand Prix Final Gold (2014)
Silver (2015)
Bronze (2016, 2017)
Skate Canada International Gold (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Silver (2012)
Bronze (2011, 2013)
NHK Trophy Gold (2014, 2015, 2016)
Trophée Eric Bompard Silver (2012, 2013)
Bronze (2011)
Skate America Bronze (2017)
National Championships Gold (2012–18)
Silver (2011)