The six-year partnership of Canadian pairs skaters Julianne Séguin, 21, and Charlie Bilodeau, 24, has come to an end. Though the duo found success after teaming up in November 2012, the past two seasons did not produce the results they hoped for. Following a ninth-place finish at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games they ranked 22nd in the short program at the World Championships, and failed to qualify for the the free skate.
In an interview with French Radio Canada, Bilodeau said he wanted more and made the decision to end the partnership after returning home from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Nonetheless, he continued training with Séguin because he wanted to see if with the new season there would be improvement. However, after both programs were created he felt they were not progressing at the pace he wanted and that Séguin was not a strong enough partner.
″I want to go back (to the Olympics), but to aim higher. The podium, if it′s possible,″ said Bilodeau who is now looking for a new partner. ″I am aware there is a risk with the gesture I made to stop skating with Julianne, but it is a risk that I am ready to take to have the opportunity to achieve other ambitions.
″It’s never easy to announce such news. Even if it’s me who made the decision, it’s hard. We had great moments together. But, it is a time of my life to which I put an end. I will always wear Julianne in my heart. What we managed together… without it, I could never have done that and vice versa. For me, it is time to move on and try other goals.″
Bilodeau’s decision took Séguin by surprise. ″I did not see this coming. I know Charlie well and I saw that we had a bit of misery, but after the Olympics I think it’s normal to have a down. I was not surprised that it was going a bit less well, but I was not expecting a break now, especially since we did the choreography. We were looking at costumes. The year was engaged in a certain way.
″I find it very difficult, but I have to respect his decision. We cannot forget everything we did together. We had a wonderful course and we achieved our big goals. It’s been five years that we rub shoulders every day. It’s like a friend, a partner, almost a brother that I lose. We can say it like that. Charlie, I loved him a lot, we got along.″
In 2014, the duo claimed silver at the Canadian junior level, and won the Junior Grand Prix Final that December. A few months later they ranked second at the 2015 World Junior Championships.
Séguin and Bilodeau mined silver in 2016 and 2018 and bronze in 2015 at the national level; were two-time Challenger Series medallists (gold in 2016 and bronze in 2017 at Autumn Classic International), and won three medals on the Grand Prix circuit (bronze at 2015 Skate America, bronze at 2015 Trophée Éric Bompard and gold at 2016 Skate America). Their highest placement in three appearances at the World Championships was eighth in 2015.
The team was scheduled to compete at two Grand Prix events this season in Finland and France.
ILYUSHECHKINA AND BILODEAU: LEARNING CURVES