James and Radford narrowly miss out on podium places again
Vanessa James and figure skating partner Eric Radford, narrowly missed out on a podium place in a second successive competition after finishing fourth in the International Skating Union Grand Prix in Grenoble, France.
Having achieved the same result in their previous outing at the Skate Canada International earlier this month, the pair were hoping to go one better this time out.
The event got off to an encouraging start for the duo, who found themselves in third place and medal contention after scoring 71.84 in the short programme, behind only Russian pairs Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii (77.17) and Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev (73.02).
However, after the free skate, in which they scored 124.50, for a routine that included strong throw elements but also saw them gain no points for their combination spin and aborted Group 5 Axel lift, they ultimately slipped from third to fourth with an overall score of 196.34 points.
Boikova and Kozlovskii maintained their overnight lead to clinch overall victory with a total of 216.96 points, ahead of compatriots Artemeva and Nazarychev, who earned silver with 205.15 points. United States’ pair Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier climbed above James and Radford to win bronze with 201.69 points.
Despite narrowly missing out on the podium places once again, James was left satisfied with the overall performance with the pair finishing with their best score since the 34-year-old European champion and world championship bronze medal-winner, and 36-year-old Radford, a two-times world champion and three-times Olympic medal-winner, formed a new partnership in April.
“Words can’t begin to describe my personal feelings at this competition this weekend, but magical is just one sentiment that stands out,” said James. “We are still far from perfect, but we learn and grow with every competition and every experience.
“The cheering public really helped us a lot and made us feel like home.
“This is the most confident we have felt since we started skating together. We lost about thirteen points on easy elements, that we usually never miss, but we are proud that we got the hard ones done.”
Radford also reflected on a missed opportunity to clinch a medal after their promising performance in the short programme.
“The first half of our programme went excellently,” he said. “And then the unfortunate incident with the lift happened in the Free Skate. That’s just unfortunate.”