Pair world bronze medalists Vanessa James, 34, Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford, 37, Balmertown, Ont., have decided to retire from competitive skating. James and Radford announced their partnership in April 2021.
“We are very proud of what Vanessa and Eric have accomplished through this season culminating in a bronze medal at worlds,” said Mike Slipchuk, High Performance Director, Skate Canada. “Skate Canada wishes both Vanessa and Eric the best in their future plans”.
The pair competed in several events this season which included four top five finishes, a silver medal at the 2021 Autumn Classic International, a 12th place finish at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and they capped off their season with a bronze medal at the 2022 ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
“Almost 30 years ago at the age of 8, I started skating. Skating has shaped my life in many ways and given me some of my most amazing memories. I find it funny and unexpected to be writing about ending my competitive career for a second time, but like last time, there are many people who supported, pushed and inspired me along this journey that I am so grateful for,” said Radford.
Radford continued, “Thank you to my parents for their unwavering support over these decades; to my husband Luis and my brother Richard for always giving me the best advice. Thank you to my close friends and teammates that I get to share so many unforgettable memories with. Thank you to Skate Canada, Patinage Québec and the COC for believing in me and supporting my career. Thank you to the fans of the sport for whom it will always remain a pleasure to perform. To all the incredible coaches who shaped me not only as a skater, but as a person, thank you. Thank you to Meagan Duhamel for all we accomplished together and especially to Vanessa and Julie. Thank you to them for giving me one of the best years of my life and believing in me when I needed it the most.”
“I am profoundly grateful for the experiences this sport has provided me and for the memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” concluded Radford.
James was inspired by Nelson Mandela’s quote as she reflected on her career: “the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
“Through ups and downs, joy and disappointment, I have been blessed with many people who have believed in me, encouraged me, and provided me with the skillset both on and off the ice, to make my dreams come true. I am endlessly grateful for each and every coach, mentor, teammate and staff member that has contributed to my journey and success throughout the last 23 years. To my fans, your constant love and support through the years means the world to me,” said James.
She continued, “To Skate Canada, Julie and Eric specifically, thank you for giving me the opportunity and the courage to rise again, and continue my passion and love for skating. To my parents, who have relentlessly and unshakably continued to support me in all of my endeavors, I owe you everything. Representing Canada has been an honor, and a privilege. I truly feel like the stars have aligned and everything has come full circle. As I hang up my competitive figure skates, I feel complete, and my heart is so full!”
Both James and Radford found success internationally before teaming up this past season.
Previously representing France, James was partnered with Morgan Ciprès, together they won a gold medal at the 2019 ISU European Figure Skating Championships® and a bronze medal at the 2018 ISU World Figure Skating Championships®. James and Ciprès also represented France twice on the Olympic stage.