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Canadians Duhamel, Radford earn bronze at Skate Canada

The Canadian Press

10/26/2013 6:00:38 PM

SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Canadian pairs skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford went from elated to frustrated in the span of a few minutes.

Uncharacteristically low technical marks dropped Duhamel and Radford to bronze, and left the Canadians puzzled about exactly what went wrong after a performance that brought the crowd to its feet.

"Despite the mistakes, we did feel the energy in the building... We still gave a standing ovation performance," Radford said.

"I think that's what we'll concentrate on, the potential of that program. I think the potential is huge, I think that it's podium potential at the Olympics when we skate technically the way that we can, and hit our levels the way we normally do."

Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek won gold with 193.92 points, while China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong claimed the silver (193.77).

Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, Sask., were fourth.

Skating to music from "Alice in Wonderland," Duhamel, in a purple dress, and Radford, clad in purple suit as the Mad Hatter -- minus the hat -- scored 190.62 points and had the Canadian fans on their feet cheering before the last few rotations of their final spin.

A groan went up moments later after their marks were displayed, which included zero points for a bungled lift where Duhamel slipped down Radford's back before he barely had her up in the air.

Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., believed a shoulder injury Duhamel suffered when she fell three weeks ago might have been partly to blame.

"Through rehab we had to change the technique on the lift a little bit," Radford said. "It's hard to put your finger on it."

Duhamel, a native of Lively, Ont., said the lift just "went up in a funny spot."

"When it's in the middle of the program toward the end and something goes up a little bit funny, it become a little bit more difficult to save something like that," she said.

More worrisome than the lift is the fact the world bronze medallists had low marks on almost all of their elements.

"We're a little bit confused right now, so that's what we need to look at," Duhamel said. "We're not used to getting a really high artistic score and a really low technical score, this is different for us."

There was more disappointment on the Canadian team Saturday when Kaetlyn Osmond, a 17-year-old from Marystown, N.L., withdrew with a hamstring injury. Osmond was fifth in Friday's short program and then woke up Saturday with pain in her leg. She tried to practice but said it was painful even putting weight on the leg.

Berton and Hotarek, meanwhile, claimed Italy's first Grand Prix pairs gold.

"We like to write history, what can I say? Just kidding," said Berton. "We worked a lot, and we not only worked on our technique, our elements, but we worked a lot on us as people and how to work together.

"Last week in the U.S. at Skate America (where they were fifth) we had issues, I was upset, I was the most upset of the team between us and the coach... I think what's very good about today and yesterday is that none of us gave up, we all skated together, and we just decided to try and try again."