Vanessa James and Eric Radford to pair up for Canada in Olympic season

PyeongChang bronze medallist Radford had retired after the 2017-18 season with partner Meagan Duhamel. Born in Canada, James previously skated with Morgan Cipres for France.

By Nick McCarvel

There is a new team in town in the pairs discipline of figure skating.

Skate Canada announced Wednesday (21 April) that PyeongChang 2018 team gold medallist and pairs bronze medallist Eric Radford would skate with Vanessa James, who was born in Canada and most recently had competed for France.

The duo will train in Quebec and are set to represent Canada internationally, meaning they could compete at the coming Beijing 2022 Winter Games.

James previously skated with Morgan Cipres, with the duo placing fifth at PyeongChang and winning a world bronze medal in 2018.

Radford's storied career with Meagan Duhamel included two world titles, two Olympic team medals and their bronze from 2018. The duo announced their retirement in 2018.

“I’m looking forward to this new partnership with Vanessa and getting back on the ice and doing what we love,” Radford said in a press release. “Vanessa and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Canada this coming season and are looking forward to see what the future holds for our partnership.”

Duhamel, however, expressed frustration with the announcement, saying she had not been consulted by Radford: "I have been blindsided by my partner and friend," she wrote in a social media post.

James and Radford will be coached by Julie Marcotte. The team could make a splash in an international pairs scene that hasn't landed on a favourite team since the last Olympics, with Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov winning a surprise gold at worlds last month.

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the two-time world champions and PyeongChang silver medallists, will be the home hope at the Games for China.

"Our goal is obviously to go to the Olympics," James said in an interview on CBC. "It's a goal, a dream for us to get to the Olympics. Hopefully an Olympic medal. But it's a process. So we're going to take it a step at a time."

(Photo credit: Naskademini/Skate Canada)