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Sports & Recreation Ice & Figure Skating

Soulmates on Ice

by (author) Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford & Laura E. Young

Publisher
Latitude 46 Publishing
Initial publish date
Nov 2018
Category
Ice & Figure Skating
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781988989013
    Publish Date
    Nov 2018
    List Price
    $22.95

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Description

Discover the unlikely path Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford followed en route to the top of the world in figure skating. The Northern Ontario pairs skaters, who won a complete set of Olympic medals, reflect on how they developed a working relationship and honed their resilience in a sport that often left them bloodied and bruised. Ultimately, the two-time world champions earned the perfect, storybook ending to the sport they have adored since they laced up their first pair of skates.

About the authors

Northern Ontario skaters Meagan Duhamel of Lively, and Eric Radford of Balmertown, became the first pair in the world to land a throw quadruple Salchow at the Olympics. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, they led Canada to the team event gold and won the bronze in the individual pairs. They also won silver in the team event at the 2014 Olympics. The two-time world champions are also seven-time Canadian champions. Off ice, Duhamel is a certified holistic nutritionist and Radford is composer with his Grade 9 from the Royal Conservatory of Music. They live in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.

Meagan Duhamel's profile page

Northern Ontario skaters Meagan Duhamel of Lively, and Eric Radford of Balmertown, became the first pair in the world to land a throw quadruple Salchow at the Olympics. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, they led Canada to the team event gold and won the bronze in the individual pairs. They also won silver in the team event at the 2014 Olympics. The two-time world champions are also seven-time Canadian champions. Off ice, Duhamel is a certified holistic nutritionist and Radford is composer with his Grade 9 from the Royal Conservatory of Music. They live in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.

Eric Radford's profile page

Laura E. Young is a journalist based in Sudbury and the author of the award-winning Solo Yet Never Alone Swimming the Great Lakes. A graduate of the University of Kings College in Halifax, N.S., she has worked in various media in Northern Ontario and has won awards for sports, feature, and spot-news writing through the OCNA. She teaches in Cambrian College's public relations program and is a certified lifeguard, swimmer and advocate for water quality and safety.

Laura E. Young's profile page

Excerpt: Soulmates on Ice (by (author) Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford & Laura E. Young)

The First Perfect Skate

And so for about five minutes I go all fan-girl and enjoy the fact that I'm watching Meaganand Eric train at their new home base in Sainte-Julie, on Montreal's south shore, just afterLabour Day 2017. They both appear separately to greet me this September morning andmanage to get the interview done wedged in between the focused routine and lifestyle ofthe elite athlete.

In this case there are added features specific to Meagan and Eric: one of Meagan's puppieswas sick overnight and now has to go to the vet; Eric has his osteopath appointment as partof the vital maintenance required to keep his back healthy for the Olympic season.

Arena Ste-Julie is nondescript, with nothing fancy to indicate that it's home to an eliteskating school. It's just the basics: ice, boards, stands. There is a pile of crash pads in thecorner; one assumes for the short track speed skaters who train here.You're quickly reminded about one truth of figure skating: that there is nothing betweenthe ice and the skater falling on it. After watching one fifty-minute training session I'm closeto tossing a couple of crash pads over the glass to where one skater keeps falling. Over andover she jumps; over and over she falls.

Falls are rare even in practice for Meagan and Eric. It's an interesting time, perhaps acrossroads for them. Their 2016-2017 season just ended in injuries, frustrations, fallingfrom first in the world to seventh. They've left Richard Gauthier, one of their main coaches,who was also instrumental in their careers, their pairing, and their two world titles. There isa sense of anticipation in the air--over the Olympics, over the unknown path their seasonwill follow. Professionally, I am secretly planning for two writing scenarios: off the podiumin the Olympics or complete satisfaction with four ideal performances and on the podium.

And so, the 2016 World Championships in Boston seems like a logical place to begin--ahappier time, when they won with that elusive perfect skate.

They settle in, on break between their morning and afternoon sessions. They quicklycheck omnipresent phones and then write cheques to pay for club membership. They sitwith Meagan slightly in the foreground, Eric behind in the practised order of skating pairs.

"When I think about the perfect skate we had in Boston--I didn't try to have a perfectskate or make any emotion happen," Meagan recalls. "It was completely organic, natural.That's when the emotion is real and that's usually when the magic can happen. When youtry to force it to happen, it never works."

Leading up to a skate it's all about dealing with waves of nerves, anxiety and expectations,Eric reflects.

"I feel ready, I know that we can do this, I'm just going to enjoy the moment. Then thereare moments where it feels like the world is ending and I can't. This is way too difficult forme to do right now."

That 2015-2016 season had been tricky. For the first time in their careers they were theteam to chase, whereas most of their skating lives they had thrived on striving and flying inthe face of anyone who ever thought they shouldn't be skating together.

In Boston they are sitting second, behind Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China.

Meagan and Eric practised that morning in Boston, then waited over eight hours for theactual competition. It was a long time, between practice and competition as they tried torest back at the hotel.

Meagan found meditation helpful for keeping her mind in the moment where sheneeded to be. She can visualize pretty much everything and anything but sometimes what

she sees is a skater's worst nightmare: falling on choreography, missing spins.

"There's so much that can happen in your mind and it didn't matter if we were skating at abig or small competition. We always want to have our best skate. We have high expectationsof ourselves," she says.

They can have the big moment, the perfect skate on the dimly lit ice with its grey cornersin Sainte-Julie. But the real challenge is doing it in the moment on the world's biggest stage.

"That's what creates the most anxiety or nervousness, knowing that the moment wewant to have is possible," Eric says. "It's up to us, to each of us individually and as partners ina split second to make sure it happens the way we've been imagining, dreaming and hoping.That happens everywhere in life, not just in skating."

Eric recalls how a sense of detachment can sometimes help. At the 2012 Worlds in Nice,France, they had finished warming up and were walking backstage when Eric happenedto look out a window and see someone walking their dog. "They were so far removed andunaware of what I'm going through in my life right now. I'm about to go on the ice at theWorld Championships and do this incredibly difficult routine."

Then he imagined what would happen if he just up and walked away, disappearing."Sometimes just having a random thought like that can remove me from the big, intensepressure that I'm under."

Knowing what they are capable of creates the most apprehension before skating. Butafter the waves of emotion settle, they feel a calm sea of readiness where they will enjoy themoment and the view.

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