Duhamel, Radford roar to 4th national figure skating pairs title
Weaver, Poje claim 1st national ice dance title
When Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford captured their first national figure skating title, an emotional Radford called his parents in disbelief. They cried.
Three years and another three national titles later, Duhamel and Radford utterly dominate the discipline in Canada. They roared to Canadian championship record scores for both the short and long programs, and the overall score on Saturday, to win national title No. 4.
"Winning our first one was such a self-realization when it came to our belief in ourselves," Radford said. "(Now) we know we're capable of a skate like that, so when we do it there's more satisfaction in achieving something that we were under a lot of pressure to go out there and do.
"Whereas that first one was you never know you're going to become a Canadian champion when it happens for the first time. It's literally a dream come true."
Duhamel and Radford were the only repeat winners in a changing-of-the-guard national championship.
Kaetlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., perennial runners-up to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, claimed their first ice dance title after winning four silver and three bronze.
Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., skated a nearly flawless performance to a medley by Muse, Radford holding Duhamel over his head in their dramatic final lift to the English rock band singing "We will be victorious."
The duo that have swept the gold medals in their competitions this season, including the Grand Prix Final in December, scored 150.69 for the long program, for a total 230.19. The lofty score came despite Duhamel singling a planned double toe loop.
"After the (Grand Prix) Final, getting 146 while making a mistake, we were joking with each other, like 'Are we really going to be able to 150? That would be so crazy, it's impossible, we'll never do it.'
"And now we have, but with room to grow. So at worlds, we're going to be aiming for higher than 150 now."
Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto were second with 187.85, while Julianne Seguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Notre-Dame-du-Portage, Que., winners of this season's junior Grand Prix Final, were third with 181.43.
Weaver burst into tears after she and Poje finally claimed top spot in ice dance. It comes during a breakthrough season that saw them win both their Grand Prix events, plus the Grand Prix Final.
"I don't think I can describe this," said Weaver, who won silver with Poje at last year's world championships.
"It's definitely a lot of emotions right now," Poje added. "We've worked ever since the beginning of our partnership, even ever since we were little kids, on being national champions, and being able to be the top of your country is an amazing thing. All the ups and downs we've been through over our career, this is one thing that we've always really wanted."
"And we finally made it," Weaver said. "(Grand Prix Final) was an accomplishment in itself, but we'll be Canadian champions for the rest of our lives. It's really cool."
Piper Gilles of Toronto and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., scored 174.70 for second, while Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., were third (160.67).