On the trail to the Olympics
Putting her feet up is a luxury that Meagan Duhamel doesn’t often get to enjoy.
Spending a short Christmas break at home with her family in Lively was a welcome respite from her intense training schedule, and she made every moment of it count. But, she didn’t waste time jumping on the ice with her home club in Walden to spend some time with the up-and-coming skaters. So maybe total relaxation wasn’t on her agenda, or even in her DNA.
Representing Canada on the world stage is a job that Duhamel and her pairs skating partner, Eric Radford, don’t take for granted, not even for a minute. As the reigning Canadian senior pairs figure skating champions, two years running, the duo share an incredible commitment to their sport and support each other’s efforts both on and off of the ice.
With a training regimen that includes hours of on-ice work every day, and an intense commitment to diet and exercise, they continue to work diligently toward their goal of competing at the Olympics and earning a place on the world podium.
Currently ranked fourth in the world following the ISU Grand Prix final in Sochi, Russia (home of the 2014 Winter Olympics), the pair has made a pact to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and onto that Olympic stage.
On Jan. 20 at Mississauga’s Hershey Centre, the reigning national champs validated their title by once again claiming the crown at the Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. Their final score was only a shade more than two points ahead of the second-place team. Coming out on top of one of the most heated battles in Canadian senior pairs history was a hard-fought victory for Duhamel and Radford.
The fact that they set a new Canadian record for highest senior pairs score was no surprise to the enthusiastic audience. A large contingent from the Walden Figure Skating Club were in the stands to cheer for their hometown hero.
Despite successfully defending a national title, Duhamel still doesn’t have much time to put her feet up. Skating at the Liz Manley and Friends benefit show held recently in Ottawa, and continuing to train for the world championship in March will keep the duo extremely short on leisure time.
This year’s world championship comes to London, Ont., and sets the stage for the number of skaters Canada will qualify for the 2014 Olympics. Duhamel and Radford plan on a podium finish, which, given their phenomenal scores from the national championship, is a definite possibility. It will help Canada qualify three pairs for Sochi 2014 and it will also help bring the spotlight to Canada, and to one determined young lady from a small Northern Ontario town called Lively.
• • • • •
Rachael Duhamel is Meagan’s aunt and the development co-ordinator for the Walden Figure Skating Club.