2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Courtesy Caroline Paré

Canadian figure skaters poised to contend in 2018

By Emilie Medland-Marchen, April 7 2016 —

The World Figure Skating Championships — held in Boston from March 28–April 3 — may have yielded only one medal for Canada, but the efforts put forth by the team throughout the competition are nothing to scoff at.

Montreal-based pair Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford took home a gold medal in the pairs event after placing second overall in the short program. Skating to Adele’s “Hometown Glory,” they completed a flawless long program with synchronicity and grace.

The technical ambition showed by Duhamel and Radford is exactly what’s leading Canada’s figure skating team towards international strength. The team is currently in a rebuilding phase, but seems to be inching closer to major international success.

Canada placed in the top 10 in all four of the world championship categories in Boston, suggesting the 2018 Winter Olympics could be promising for Canadian figure skating.

The flourishing Canadian team consists of many younger skaters heading into their peak performance years. Nam Nguyen and Gabrielle Daleman are two of the youngest, at 17 and 18 respectively.

Nguyen had a rocky season this year due to growth spurts that wreaked havoc on his jumps. But despite the setback at this year’s world championships, Nguyen is immensely talented — he was named World Junior Champion in 2014 and the Canadian national champion in 2015.

There’s no doubt that Nguyen has the potential and the raw talent to earn a competitive placement at the Winter Olympics — provided he can recover his renowned consistency.

Daleman is in a more secure place than Nguyen, finishing ninth overall in the women’s free skate competition. She’s only 18, but has a solid repertoire of triples that she lands consistently.

Because of her age, Daleman can seem inexperienced. Her nerves showed up midway through the free program when she made technical mistakes on her triple lutz and flip jumps. However, once Daleman is in her groove, she skates with the powerful athleticism of Canadian veterans like Joannie Rochette.

At the moment, Daleman’s technical strength is keeping her in the top 10 in the world. But in order to compete with the kind of grace put forth by Russians Evgenia Medvedeva and Anna Pogorilaya, she’ll need to work on her artistic component before 2018. PyeongChang will be Daleman’s second Olympics, which means she’ll have the experience to contend for a strong
podium performance.

Canada is becoming a major international force in the ice dance competition as well. Two Canadian pairs placed in the top ten in the event at worlds, and Canadian icons Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir announced that they would be returning to skating for the 2016–17 season.

The pair haven’t competed since their silver medal win at the 2014 Winter Olympics, but their hunger for a gold appears to have motivated them to return. With the potential of three Canadian ice dance pairs in PyeongChang, it’s fair to assume that a medal is a legitimate possibility.

And of course, there are other old favourites. After placing third in the world championship short program, it seemed like a gold medal was Patrick Chan’s for the taking. But a faulty performance in the long program left Chan in fifth place.

It’s disappointing to see a skater with so much potential unable to perform when it comes down to the wire. And that trait isn’t new. Chan is notoriously inconsistent when competing under pressure. Heading into PyeongChang, Chan will be 27 — relatively old for a figure skater — but he’ll also have a wealth of experience under his belt, including a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The struggle for Chan will simply be living up to the hype. It’s reasonable to expect a top-three finish in 2018, but figure skating is all about consistency, which Chan has struggled with throughout his career.

Given the amount of raw talent coming out of the world championships, the 2018 Olympics figure skating team looks undeniably promising. With younger skaters placing in the top 10 alongside veterans like Chan, Virtue and Moir, Canada’s figure skating team is shaping up to be a competitive force at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet