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International Games
Friday, February 18, 2022
James & Radford Advance to Free Programme

Canadian duos in the Olympic Pairs Figure Skating Short Program moved on to the Free Skate Friday on a day that saw one of the top teams set a new world record.

Canadians Vanessa James and Eric Radford sit in 12th place with a score of 63.03, ahead of Saturday's Free Program at Capital Indoor Stadium.

But it was the top Chinese pair of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong who smashed their previous world record and season-best of 82.83 with a score of 84.41 with their program to the Mission Impossible soundtrack.

James and Radford only teamed up about a year ago and at first, intended just to skate together in exhibitions. James, who was born in Canada, had competed for France at three previous Olympics, while Radford and previous partner Meagan Duhamel won team gold and pairs bronze in Pyeongchang in 2018 and a team silver medal in Sochi in 2014.

The pair decided to compete together this season with an eye on Beijing. But after sitting in fourth place following the short program at the Canadian championships — the qualifying event for the Olympics — they withdrew from the competition, citing the fact they had not fully recovered from COVID-19, which they contracted in December.

Despite sitting out the free skate, they were awarded Canada's second of two Olympic spots in pairs based on their scores earlier in the season.

Their score after the Olympic short program on Friday of 63.03 was well off their season-best of 71.84 due to small bobbles, including movement on the side-by-side spins, as well as James making her side-by-side triple toe loop a double.

After their skate, Radford called the mistake on the side-by-side jumps "unfortunate," while James called it "disappointing."

"We've been training really hard, we've been training well," James told the CBC's Elladj Baldé. "I haven't missed a toe loop, so it's a little surprising for me today and a little disappointing because we've done the work and it's there so it's more me re-evaluating my mental focus."
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