Vanessa James and Eric Radford narrowly miss out on podium places
Vanessa James and new figure skating partner Eric Radford, enjoyed an encouraging outing at the Skate Canada International, narrowly missing out on the podium places, finishing in fourth place overall in the pairs.
Competing in the event, which is on the ISU Grand Prix circuit, the pair followed up a fifth-place finish in the in the short programme, where they scored 65.02, with a fourth place in free skate, collecting 122.62 points, despite James falling once, and also stumbling during the routine.
That was good enough for fourth place overall in the standings with a total of 187.92 points. Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, of China, claimed top spot with 224.05 points, followed by Russian pair Daria Pavlyuchenko and Denis Khodykin on 193.08 points, with Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc, of the United States, completing the podium places with a score of 189.90 points.
"We're still working on getting that clean programme," James said to CBC Sports. "We know we are very capable of doing a very high quality. We are still ironing out the kinks."
Those sentiments were also echoed by Radford, who spoke of the need to emulate their from training in the competitive arena.
“They are still too many small mistakes happening,” he added. “That’s what we need to figure out, why. In practice we feel ready to go. When we get into competition, these little things happen, which could be first-season team newness.”
The announcement of the pair joining forces to compete in April caused quite the shock among the figure skating world.
The Bermudian looked to have stepped away from the sport for good after her retirement last year amid sexual-abuse allegations against her former pairs partner, Morgan Ciprès. The 29-year-old allegedly sent lewd photographs to an underage girl on Instagram. He has since been charged with a felony in his training state of Florida.
However, James, the 34-year-old European champion and world championship bronze medal-winner, confirmed a surprising return to the rink where alongside 36-year-old Radford, a two-times world champion and three-times Olympic medal-winner who also stepped out of retirement.
James is well aware that the attention and scrutiny created by the new partnership will only increase as the seasons progresses.
“With our names and our success, I think it comes with the territory,” she added. “There is a lot of pressure from the outside so we just stay in our bubble.”