Radford: “We have to go out there and deliver”
Reigning World Pairs
Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada talked at NHK Trophy
about their beginning of the season, Meagan’s wedding and quads in
Q: You started this
season the way you had finished the past one – by winning. How do
you rate the beginning of your season?
Meagan: We’ve done four
competitions until now. Two of the four have gone really well and two
of the four haven’t gone well. Even if we win, we’re not
satisfied unless we gave our best performance. At Skate Canada we had
a great long, so we felt really proud of that. At NHK Trophy we
didn’t do a very good long, so for us it doesn’t feel that
special to win when we don’t skate our best.
Eric: Although, when we look
at last season, we had a very similar type of skate at NHK Trophy
where we didn’t skate so well but we still ended up winning. We
kind of went back to the drawing board after that and had a great
rest of the season, especially at the Grand Prix Final. It seems like
we’re following the same path which could be a good thing.
Q: You entered this
season as the World Champions. How different is that and how much
pressure does it add?
Meagan: This year we haven’t
competed yet against our main competitors. At both our events we
didn’t have Sui/Han norStolbova/Klimov. We’re always focused on
giving our best performance and we want to improve our scores that we
did last year. We know we can do a new personal best, we know that
we’re capable of reaching 150 in the long program and we understand
that if we skate a clean short and a clean long we’re kind of in
control of our own destiny, the way we were last year. But we have to
go out there and deliver. So that’s going to be our focus for the
rest of the season.
Eric: It doesn’t feel that
different (being World Champions). I think last year it was really
just about letting go of all our expectation and then we were on the
podium. It was kind of a surprise. And now I think the only
difference would be just a little bit more of a quiet confidence and
knowing that we can do it. We’ve done it before and now we can do
it again, whereas last year each time we did it, it was a little bit
more of a surprise.
Q: Even though you were
considered the favorites?
Meagan: You never know on
the day what’s going to happen and we know that our competitors
were very strong. We were going to Worlds in China, against three
strong Chinese teams. Of course, on the day anything can happen and
in particular at these Worlds in the short program everybody skated
so well. We couldn’t make a mistake in the short program or we
would have put ourselves out of the game. Even if we were considered
the favorites we never really thought about that or felt like that.
We felt we need to do our job. That was always our main focus.
Q: When you prepared for the
season, how did you choose your programs “Your Song” and
Eric: The short program
music was chosen by our choreographer Julie Marcotte and it’s a
piece of music that is just naturally suited to us. We like that sort
of grand, inspiring type of music. The same goes for the long
program. It’s a song that is very close to Meagan. Meagan had seen
Adele sing that song way before anybody knew who Adele was. We
actually had done a show program to it a few years ago and that type
of music is just music that really implicitly resonates with Meagan
and I. We just can naturally feel it. It’s not something that we
need to learn to skate to. It is something that will come through us
very easily. I think that that was naturally the next step in our
career and for our skating, to develop that side of our skating, to
have it come through more and more, because we always were and still
kind of are recognized as a technical team. I think that we we’ve
taken another step with the artistic side of your skating and that
lends itself to that pretty easily.
Q: How did you discover
that song back then?
Meagan: It was played in an
episode of “Grayson Academy”. It’s a popular American sitcom
about doctors in a hospital. Every episode, they used a kind of
unknown songs and that was one of those they used. My friend
recognized it and then someone did it on “So you think you can
dance”, which is a dancing competition on TV in America. This was
back in 2007. And I went and saw her in like a library, maybe a 100
people were there. She was wearing a big blue T-Shirt and nobody knew
her. She was a nobody and nobody knew about her. She sang songs from
her first albums and one of them was “Hometown Glory”. I really
liked that album and that song in particular. Like Eric said we used
it for a show and then Julie brought it up that we should use it
maybe for our long program.
Q: You got married this
summer to your coach Bruno Marcotte. How was the wedding?
Meagan: Everything turned
really well. It was really quick. We finished Stars on Ice in Canada,
then I had the wedding and then we came directly to Japan to do some
shows. It was kind of thrown into the middle of everything. We didn’t
do a honeymoon, because we’ve been really busy and now as the
season started both of our schedules have become really busy as well.
It was a really nice event, but not much has changed in my life since
then, everything has kind of rolled on as normal.
Eric: It was so much fun and
extremely beautiful. The wedding was picture perfect and Meagan
looked amazing. Bruno (Marcotte), Richard (Gauthier) and Mervin Tran
all played the ukulele and the guitar and sang as Meagan walked on
the aisle. It was very, very great time.
Q: How are you now going
to prepare for the second half of the season that is coming up?
Meagan: We have to go back
on focusing on doing a clean program. That was our goal at Skate
Canada, we took out the quad Lutz at Skate Canada, because we wanted
to do a clean program. We didn’t do a perfect program there, but it
was pretty close to as good as we can do. Our score reflected how
well we skated. Now we have to kind of go back to that mentality.
Maybe we’ll re-arrange some things. We’re thinking of putting the
triple toe combination a bit earlier into the program. For a
three-jump combination it’s coming pretty late and we don’t get a
bonus for that. There’s really no point in doing that. Our focus is
really going to be on cleaning up technically our long program and
executing a smooth and clean short program.
Q: The quad Lutz is a big
Meagan: We wanted to put it
into our long program, but now we’re realizing that it was more
ambitious than we thought to do a program with two quad throws. In
our heads it was like – we did the throw quad Sal all season, we
should be ready to put another one in, but I don’t think I throw
quad Sal will ever be easy. We have so much technical things in our
long program, maybe right now – like at Skate Canada we didn’t do
the throw quad Lutz and we didn’t need it to get a high score. So
we have to look at strategically what’s the best method.
Q: How difficult is the
throw quad Lutz in comparison to the throw quad Salchow? Nobody has
Meagan: We still plan on
being the first ones to do it. I’ve not given up on that.
Eric: I think technically
when it comes to the actual, physical technique of doing it, it’s
not that much different from the throw quad Salchow. It’s just the
mental aspect I think is different than the quad throw Salchow,
especially when we try to do both. I think if we would do a throw
triple Sal and a throw quad Lutz it wouldn’t be such a big deal,
because we do that throw quad Sal and if it’s a little off, then
the pressure is on the second throw quad, because we don’t want to
make two big mistakes in the program. We definitely know we’re
capable of doing it, it just takes a little bit more time for the
idea of doing the two throw quads to become comfortable in the long
Meagan: In the summer, when
we started playing around with the idea of the throw quad Lutz, we
had been hearing a lot of rumours about all these people that were
going to come out with quads this year. So we kind of thought we need
a second quad.
Eric: We put a lot of
pressure on ourselves.
Meagan: But at Skate Canada
we scored 143 with one big mistake in our long, without the triple
toe combination. So we understand if we would land that, with one
quad, our score still will be high enough for us to have the
possibility of winning. Now I think we need two throw quads, but we’d
like to. Maybe at one competition this year we’ll do the throw
triple Sal and the throw quad Lutz, so we can have that chance to be
the first in the world to do the quad Lutz.
Q: What is your wish for
Meagan: I think we would
like to be able to repeat the feeling that we got at Skate Canada in
the long program and to be able to be consistent not have a
competition where it is good and a competition where it is not good.
We want to be able to continue on the upswing for the rest of the
season and being able to improve our personal best. That’s a big
goal. The results will come when we skate our best. We’re confident
in that. We can’t just focus on finishing in first place, because
we understand that there will be a time that we’re not going to
win. We’re human beings, we’re not machines or computers. When
we’re going to be at Worlds, there is five or six teams that can
all be fighting for the podium it probably will push everybody to
skate even better in that moment, because we’re all competitors.
Eric: I think that this
season in pairs is very different from last season. Last season was
after the Olympics, the field in pairs had changed, some people
weren’t there and it was kind of more a free for all where, whoever
is going to step up and grab the opportunity. I think we kind of did
that. We made it happen for ourselves. This season, you can see, all
the teams nobody backed down, everybody is going for the win. It has
made the field of pairs extremely strong and very exciting to watch.
Maybe we started a movement towards higher degree of difficulty in
the technique, but there is so many teams following suit and it’s
actually, as much as it put the pressure on us, it’s extremely to
see that people are still pushing themselves. It just shows how
hungry everybody is to win and be the best.
Q: Therefore you’d like
to see a quad in the short allowed.
Meagan: Yes, we’d really
Eric: I think it would be
the logical next step for pairs figure skating.
Meagan: When you look at the
pairs team that either execute a throw quad or a quad twist or try –
out of the top ten in the world there are a lot that are trying it
and I think that it’s time to take the step forward. Pairs has had
the same required elements in the short program for a long time and I
don’t see what’s wrong with doing it. There is no more danger.
Yes, it’s more risk, but high risk, high reward and I think it
should be put into the short program.
Q: Do you think, if the
rules are change, there will be allowed two quads, throw and twist or
the option to do one of them as a quad?
Meagan: If they allow both
(quad throw and twist) that would be crazy, but cool. I have a
feeling that maybe it would be one and then maybe progress to two. If
they put two in, then good for the people that can do the quad twist
and throw quad and side by side jump in the short program, my hat off
to them. That would be really impressive.
Q: However, some people
are concerned that including too many quads will take away from pair
skating, make it too technical.
Eric: But how? People say
that, but we always wonder why. Has doing quads in the Men’s
competition taken away from anything? I don’t think so. So I don’t
think that doing quads in pairs is takting away from anything. Maybe
people are afraid that there is teams out there that don’t do quads
that won’t win anymore, because they can’t do them.
Meagan: That’s what
happened in Men’s skating too, at one point.
Eric: And now look we had a
field here (at NHK Trophy) where every man went for a quad in the
short program. And that’s just the way sport is. It was actually
Plushenko, we were talking to him this summer, and he said, if Usain
Bolt runs the 100 meters faster than everybody else, than he wins. It
doesn’t matter how pretty he looks when he’s running. There is
that artistic aspect to our sport and it is important and it makes
skating so special. But the reason it is a sport is because it has
that aspect, of if somebody can something that somebody else can’t,
they should win. And that’s what sport is about. I hope that
remains clear to people as the sport progresses.
Meagan: I think it really
does bother us when people say that the quads take away from pair
skating, because the throw is a pair element, first of all. I mean,
Kawaguchi/Smirnov have been doing the throw quad Salchow for many,
many years and it hasn’t taken away anything from their skating.
When Elvis Stojko started doing a quad toe, nobody said like ‘oh,
that has to stop, it is too dangerous’. Yes, some people get hurt,
but I got hurt when I learned a double Axel. But I didn’t decide to
stop learning my double Axel, because it’s dangerous. It’s just
part of the process. There is always a danger aspect to anything. To
me, a triple twist is dangerous, more than a throw quad, in my
opinion. That is just how I feel. But I still have to do a triple
twist. So I think the talk about the quad is taking away from pairs
and not being necessary in pairs… I think the value of a throw quad
is not worth enough in pairs. At Worlds, we did a throw quad with our
hand down. So I didn’t fall and about five teams got more points
for their throw triple Sal than we got for that throw quad, because
it is not worth that much. A man’s quad Sal is worth a lot more
than a pairs throw quad Sal. I’d like to see that changed one day.