Two-time world pair skating champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford will compete together in Finland for the first time at this weekend’s Finlandia Trophy in Espoo.
The competition also marks the beginning of the Canadian team’s international competition season. Their goal is to compete in Finland for a second time this season at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in late March – early April.
The skaters, who claimed the world title last season and the season before, say that they have been looking forward to pair skating being included in the Finlandia Trophy. Pair skating has been in the program at Finlandia Trophy and its predecessor the Hansa Cup three times, most recently in 2007.
– It’s fun to come to a new place, since we often compete in the same locations year after year, says Eric Radford, 31.
The 30-year-old Duhamel has family roots on her mother’s side in Kauhava, Finland.
– My papa moved to Canada in 1951, my mummu in 1952, and my mother was born in Canada, Duhamel explains.
She knows only a little bit of Finnish – a word here and there – even though she went to Finnish school in Canada and even attended a Finnish language Sunday school.
Radford has his connection to Finland, too.
– 21 years ago we had a Finnish exchange student staying with our family. It was nice to meet him in Helsinki on Tuesday
The pair skating event begins with the short program on Thursday, and the free skating follows on Friday night in the Metro Arena.
– Six of my cousins, as well as my aunt and uncle, will be in the audience. My mom and mummu will come to the World Championships, Duhamel says.
The pair is aiming for a third world gold medal.
– The short program is to rock music: Killer by Seal. Rock music is rarely used in pair skating, and even as a program the short is different from what we have done before.
Radford says that their short program this season also includes a new element, the throw triple Axel.
– The short is extremely crucial to success, Eric Radford explains.
Their free skating music is the French song Non, je ne regrette rien, which was made famous by Edith Piaf. Duhamel and Radford will skate to a version performed by Patricia Kaas.
Pair skating begins on Thursday at 5:35 pm and the free skating will take place on Friday at 5:05 pm.
Nine pairs from six countries will take part in the competition. Finland does not have a representative.