Radford, James skate to 2nd in short program in international debut as team

·3 min read
Vanessa James, left, and Eric Radford, right, made their international debut as a team at the Skate Canada Autumn Classic International in Montreal on Thursday. (Getty Images - image credit)
Vanessa James, left, and Eric Radford, right, made their international debut as a team at the Skate Canada Autumn Classic International in Montreal on Thursday. (Getty Images - image credit)

New Canadian pairs duo Vanessa James and Eric Radford are sitting in second place after the short program at the Skate Canada Autumn Classic International — their international debut as a team.

James and Radford started off strong with their triple twist, but had trouble on their second element — a side-by-side jump that saw James go down after doubling her salchow.

The team rebounded with a clean throw triple flip, ultimately earning a score of 68.29.

"When we get out there, we're waiting to find how we feel exactly," Radford said. "We need a little bit more time to figure that out.

"I think by the end of the season with a bit more comfort we are really going to be able to be able to bring the joy of our skating which is where we connect."

Radford, a three-time Olympic medallist and two-time world champion, announced in April that he and James were coming out of retirement to compete together. James previously competed for France, topping the podium at European and Grand Prix Final championships, as well as earning bronze at worlds.

The news came ahead of the season leading up to the Beijing 2022 Olympics, where Canada is slated to send two pairs teams.

WATCH | Canada's James and Radord sit 2nd after short program:

"In six months, to put two programs together, learning and still mastering all of our elements, we are doing a really good job," James said.

"For today we felt like we had a really great time and performed it."

Japan's Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, reigning national champions, are atop the leaderboard heading into Friday's free program after scoring 72.32 in Montreal on Thursday. Americans Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc are in third with 59.58.

Fellow Canadians Deanna Sellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps are one spot off the podium, earning 57.83 with their short, while Canada's Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland are in seventh with 51.17.

CBC Sports is streaming the figure skating competition live from Montreal on the CBC Sports website and through the CBC Sports App.

Live coverage resumes Friday at 12:40 p.m ET with the senior men's short program.

WATCH | Japan's Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara lead going into free program:

Other action includes the senior ice dance rhythm dance at 2 p.m. ET, the senior pairs free program at 3:45 p.m. ET and the senior women's free program at 6:15 p.m. ET.

Women's short program

Clean skates evaded the Canadian women in the short program Thursday.

The trio of Gabrielle Daleman, Emily Bausback, and Alison Schumacher are in eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.

The powerful Daleman seemed to lose herself in the step sequence and went down on her lutz late in the program, which earned a total of 51.84.

"I'm happy to be back competing internationally," she said. "But from a skating perspective, that was awful."

WATCH | Canada's Gabrielle Daleman competes at Autumn Classic International:

Bausback ran into trouble on her opening triple flip-triple toe, but remained steady throughout for 51.61.

Schumacher got dinged on her triple flip-double toe for under-rotating and fell on her triple loop, but emerged from the short with 47.51.

Canada can send only one woman to the Olympics.

Marilena Kitromilis of Cyprus, the first skater to take the ice, is in in the lead after a strong performance out the gate for 61.33

WATCH | Kitromilis skates into first place ahead of the long program:

South Korean skaters fill the next two spots: Seoyeon Ji is in second after scoring 60.67 with a performance that opened with a beautiful triple lutz-triple toe.

Young You, in third, had a rockier skate — she made an attempt at a triple axel, but under-rotated and fell on the jump. But the skater was bolstered by a program components score that surpassed the competitors ahead of her, for a total of 60.66.

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