Figure skating duo James and Radford make their debut

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PIERREFONDS, Que. – Canadian figure skating duo Eric Radford and Vanessa James made their international debut Thursday and sit second after the short program at the International Fall Classic.

Two-time world champion and three-time Olympic medalist Radford announced in April he was coming out of retirement to team up with James, who was born in Toronto but previously competed for France.

Japanese duo Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara led after the short program with 72.32 points, ahead of James and Radford with 68.29.

Ashley Cain Gribble and Timothy Leduc of the United States were third at 59.58.

Radford, of Balmertown, Ont., Won back-to-back world titles in 2015 and 2016 and an Olympic bronze medal in 2018 with Meagan Duhamel.

They also helped Canada win Olympic team figure skating gold in 2018 and silver in 2014.

James finished fifth in 2018 and also won six French titles with Morgan Cipres. She also retired after the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

She and Radford met on the set of the “Battle of the Blades” TV show in 2019. After a few laps of the rink together, the two realized they had figure skating chemistry.

Skating to “First Time” James, 33, and Radford, 36, made a mistake Thursday when James fell on a side-to-side jump.

“When we’re out there, we’re waiting to find out what exactly it feels like,” Radford said. “We need a little more time to figure this out.

“I think at the end of the season, with a little more comfort, we can really be able to bring the joy to our skating, that’s where we connect.

James believes she and Radford have made some progress in a short time together.

“In six months, to put two programs in place, still learning and mastering all of our elements, we are doing a very good job,” she said.

“For today we felt like we had a great time and we played it. ”

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil, Que., Were fourth after the short program. Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland of Lévis, Que., Placed seventh.

Marilena Kitromilis of Cyprus led after the women’s short program on Thursday, followed by South Koreans Seoyeon Ji and Young You second and third respectively.

Two-time Olympian Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., Was eighth, Emily Bausback of Vancouver ninth and Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., 10th.

“I’m happy to be back on the international stage,” said Daleman, 23. “But from a skating point of view, it was horrible. ”

The Autumn Classic International is part of the International Skating Union Challenger Series which gives skaters the chance to compete internationally and earn World Ranking Points.

The event continues until Saturday at Sportplexe Pierrefonds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 16, 2021.



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