Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford claimed their second consecutive World title tonight — a result that was without question. The Canadian duo executed the only clean program in the final group, separating themselves from a strong group of challengers, all of whom failed to deliver when it really mattered.
“It’s indescribable,” Duhamel said about winning the title. “Strong competition has always brought out our strongest performances. We’re against the best in the world, and I think it’s going to be like this for the next few years. This is a great way to end the season, especially after our difficulties earlier in the season. This is going to be something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
The defending champions had the most ambitious program of the day, which included side-by-side triple Lutz jumps and a throw quadruple Salchow. After landing a throw triple flip, Duhamel started to celebrate, emitting a shriek of joy as Radford raised her up in the final lift of their “Hometown Glory” program. “I don’t even think that I was saying words,” Duhamel said with a laugh.
Radford had his own perspective. “After the throw Lutz, I saw her doing the fist pump. And for her, that’s her last high risk element, but there were still some lifts left for me which still require a good bit of concentration especially at the end of the program. When we hit that very last position (in the final lift), and nothing else can happen, I heard her scream. It just kind of brought a smile to my face at the end.”
The duo earned career best scores in both phases of the competition, and ended up with 231.99 points, a new World Championships record. “Eric is the calm to my storm at the end of programs, but he is just as excited as I am,” Duhamel said.
First after the short program, China’s Wengjing Sui and Cong Han made some uncharacteristic mistakes, and had to settle for silver. Sui fell in a throw quadruple Salchow attempt, and later doubled a planned triple Salchow in their “Samson and Delilah” program. Though disappointed with the performance, the duo was happy to have earned a spot on the podium for the second time.
“We are not very satisfied with our performance today,” Han said. “We couldn’t do the best we can today. We were of course a bit nervous, I think that’s normal, but I think we adjusted pretty well. I think we are in good condition today, but maybe we skated a little bit tight.” Sui and Han finished the competition with 224.47 points.
Moving up from fourth to capture the bronze medals were Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot. Skating a quirky program to Wax Tailor’s “Sometimes,” the duo showed great promise in their first year as a team. Savchenko, a five-time World champion, doubled an intended triple Salchow, and struggled on the landing of a throw triple flip. But after waiting 18 months for Massot to be released to skate for Germany, none of that mattered.
“It means so much to me, my dreams come true,” Savchenko said with a wide smile. “All medals have a story behind it, and this is a new life, a new beginning. To start this partnership with a medal is amazing. I’m extremely happy, we thought before (the free skate) that we had nothing to lose. We have a lot of potential.” The German team closed out the competition with 216.17 points.
A trio of Russian teams occupied the next three spots with Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov moving up from fifth to finish in fourth place. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov were fifth, while 2014 Olympic champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov plummeted to sixth, after an uninspired and technically deficient performance.