Olympics: Sarnia skater Michael Marinaro and partner Kirsten Moore-Towers place 11th in pairs figure skating

Postmedia sports columnist Dan Barnes.

By Dan Barnes, Postmedia Network


Hometown Glory was the name and the aim of the program, and Canadian skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford delivered a superb rendition on the biggest, most glorious stage their sport offers.

Duhamel is from Lively, Ont., Radford from Winnipeg. Their hometowns were surely ablaze with pride and revelling in glory on Thursday as the veteran skaters capped their season with an Olympic bronze medal.

The German pair of Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot claimed a surprising gold, while the reigning world champs from China, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, were sent reeling to silver after a flawed long program.

Michael Marinaro of Sarnia and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines were 11th with 198.11 points.

They were 13th after Wednesday's short program with 65.68, but they moved up two spots by ranking ninth in the long program with 132.43.

Duhamel and Radford were crisp, skating the same long program they mastered in the team event, when they won that segment and propelled Canada to gold.

Not a bad body of work.

"I couldn't have dreamed it that much better," said Duhamel. "I could have dreamed it without my hands down on the triple Lutz but we came to the Olympics and just delivered four amazing performances, four out of four, and I can't believe that we did that."

Gone is the disappointment from their seventh-place finish in Sochi. Gone too any doubts they created by blowing up their support team mere months before the Grand Prix circuit kicked off an Olympic year.

Last June, they jettisoned one of their coaches, Richard Gauthier, and brought John Zimmerman on board to help coach Bruno Marcotte, who is also Duhamel’s husband. John Kerr joined the team as a choreographer to assist Julie Marcotte, who is Bruno’s sister.

Even then, after a gold at Skate Canada was followed by a bronze at Skate America, they were not quite done. Over the Christmas break, while skating in China for Stars on Ice, they decided to scrap their long program set to the Muse and go back to Adele’s Hometown Glory, which they skated to a gold at the 2016 worlds, earning their highest component scores in the process.

They were in search of a comfort zone and a numerical edge, given the likelihood that the Olympic medals would be decided by small margins. They were right.

They finished with 230.15 points, behind the Chinese at 235.47 and the Germans at 235.90.

Their trophy case is officially stuffed to the gills: back-to-back world championship gold medals, Olympic team event gold, a Grand Prix final title, seven national championships. And now this, Olympic bronze.

"People thought ... that we were crazy to do that entire team event," Duhamel said. "Who's crazy now?"

The 32-year-old Duhamel and 33-year-old Radford can happily skate off into the sunset. They are planning to retire after these Games.

"We saved the best for last," Radford said.

– With files from the Sarnia Observer