Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are skating off into the sunset with plenty of hardware.
The Canadian pairs team, who have spent the last eight years together, are planning to retire from elite competition now that their Olympics are finished. Duhamel and Radford were instrumental in helping Canada win team gold, then used a stellar free skate Thursday to capture another bronze medal.
They finished behind Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, whose record-setting free skate pushed them from first to first, and China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong in the pairs event.
“All four performances just perfectly wrapped up my skating career and my skating journey, I feel like,” the 32-year-old Duhamel said with a big smile. “I’m just so happy.”
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Duhamel has been skating since she was 3 years old. The 33-year-old Radford has been skating since he was 8. So together they have more than six decades on the ice _ about 60 years’ worth of hard work, injuries, painful falls and, yes, euphoric highs like the one they achieved in South Korea.
Their partnership netted them seven national champions. Twice they won Four Continents and twice more the prestigious Grand Prix final. They were also part of the Canadian team that won the silver at the 2014 Sochi Games, the first time that the team event was held in an Olympics.
“This feels like it’s going to last forever,” said Radford, whose gold in the team event made him the first openly gay male Winter Olympic champion. “It feels better than I could have imagined.
“I’m going to have so much hardware when I go home. I’m just going to stare at them.”
Duhamel and Radford are still near the top of their game, as evidence Thursday by their dramatic throw quad salchow, the first to be landed in Olympic competition. But they insisted that the time is right to step away from competing at the highest level.
In fact, they almost sounded relieved at the possibility.
When all of the medalists were asked Thursday whether they would compete in next months’ world championships in Italy, Massot leaned into the microphone and said “Yep.”
Duhamel leaned and said, “Nope.”
“We’re really proud of ourselves,” Radford said, “and we’re just going to enjoy the moment.”