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Confident Duhamel, Radford prep for title defense

Duo heads to Canadian championships after strong Grand Prix season

Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford finished fourth at the 2012 Grand Prix Final.
Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford finished fourth at the 2012 Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(01/07/2013) - Defending Canadian pairs champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford believe time is on their side. The longer they work together and the more good results they achieve, the better their skating becomes.

"We've focused on working a lot on our choreography and with our acting coach, which is definitely helping our second mark," said Duhamel, 27, during a teleconference on Monday. "Naturally, all the technical stuff started to get better because we've been skating together longer now.

"It's not like we're doing anything different on the throws or on the lifts or the twists, but they're all just a bit smoother. Our timing is a little bit more exact. That helps with our consistency as well."

Radford, 27, said he sees a significant change in their attitudes heading into the 2013 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, which take place next week in Mississauga, Ontario. Last season, they truly learned how to compete, both physically and mentally.

"Last nationals, we had yet to really prove ourselves and really show that we belonged on the top," he said. "There was a settled feeling after we won our first national title. Instead of having to go out there and prove ourselves, now we know it. People know we can be the best. Going into this nationals, it just provides a greater sense of confidence."

Placing fifth at the 2012 World Championships showed them they are in skating's upper echelon. They started this season strong, with silver medals at Skate Canada and Trophée Eric Bompard.

After the Grand Prix Final, held at the future Olympic venue in Sochi, Russia, Duhamel and Radford toured for a week with Celebration on Ice and then took a brief Christmas break. Now, they're hard at work in preparation for their title defense. On Monday, they were on the ice with their choreographer, Julie Marcotte, attending to last-minute details.

"If there are any little fine details with our musicality that needs work or that we don't feel comfortable with, she'll adjust it," Duhamel said. "We'll work with our acting coach this week.

"It's the same routine we usually do," she added. "We know we can do a clean short program and a clean long program; it's just building up our confidence for next week."

Now in the third year of their partnership, they find themselves well in sync. They don't argue or waste time during training.

"Eric and I are wise, mature, experienced athletes," Duhamel said. "The point that we came together, that we were at in our careers, it was the perfect timing for us to join forces. We have the same approach. We have the same beliefs. Overall, as a team, whether we're skating or playing video games, we have the same type of energy about us, so it's easy for us to connect with each other and to work together."

Their short program is to selections from La Bohème and their free skate is "Angel" by Philippe Rombi.

Their biggest competition will likely come from 2011 Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moskovitch, who finished one place behind Duhamel and Radford at the Grand Prix Final.

"We've proven time and time again that we're the top team in Canada and we'll have to prove it again next week," Duhamel said.