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News James/Radford announce partnership

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TontoK

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I am new to this forum and I only started to follow figure skating recently. When I saw the video about Vanessa and Eric coupling to compete I was really excited. I liked watching Vanessa's and Morgan's skating, I haven't really seen much of Eric and Meagan. Well, then I noticed that Meagan was upset about the whole thing and I watched Meagan's interview about it. So I was really surprised to hear that Eric wanted to skate with Aliona before? Is this common, you know, to search for new potential partners, even though you have a pair already? I would have been even more upset about him asking Aliona years ago than now partnering up with Vanessa. I feel like Eric should have been honest from the start with Meagan. Everyone would have understood, I am sure Meagan as well. And after saying all that, I think it's interesting to see Vanessa and Eric skating together.
Welcome!

The part about Aliona struck me. It appears that he's been uncertain about his partnership with Meagan for a while. Maybe it's because she wasn't ready for a return to competitive skating... or he believed she wasn't... or that he didn't think she had what it takes any longer. Maybe he thought Vanessa was a superior fit, personally or professionally or both, at this time of their careers. Maybe he was just ready to end the partnership and move on to something new. Maybe he wanted to sever ties with Meagan once and for all. We'll never know.

For any relationship to work, both parties have to be committed, viewing the current arrangement as better than the alternative. He's well into his 30's, so if he wants to make a switch, then it's now or never.

I heartily agree with my friend @el henry about mismanagement of the roll-out of the news here. The general vibe had to be that everyone would be very excited about this new partnership... and obviously, not everyone is.
 

moonvine

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I remember this well. It's not the same though as partners splitting or causing disappointment for their other partner due to conflicting goals. Randy's injury was hugely traumatic for both of them. Plus, Tai & Randy have remained partners throughout the rest of their lives on the ice on tour and in shows, as well as being devoted friends with a lasting bond off-the-ice.

One thing about that life-changing injury Randy suffered is that it happened randomly during a practice prior to the Olympics. Perhaps it was also one of those overuse injuries that happened during an era in which there weren't as many advances in physical therapy and preventative approaches to training. In any case, the sad thing which hurt Tai the most was that she had no clue how bad Randy's injury was, because Mr. Nicks and others decided to keep the worst from her in order to 'protect' her. For sure, they meant well, but not knowing the full extent left Tai in the dark, which isn't a good place to be when all their dreams came crashing down. The other bad thing is that the medics apparently gave Randy too much of whatever substance they used to numb his pain. His muscles were so numb that he couldn't do anything on the ice properly. He could barely stand, let alone land any jumps. Ancient history, but the memory is still palpable.


Thanks for the link. I truly feel for Luba because she seems to have such a deep passion for skating. That was such a tough experience she went through, feeling as if she was partnering with someone in Bilodeau who was on the same page in terms of goals, when he actually was uncertain about his choices, and careless in being up front with Luba from the beginning.

Partnerships are complicated, no matter what kind. Maybe there are steps to take at the start in order to be sure. For Luba, I suppose she didn't know Charlie that well, but believed him, as he was the one who approached her. And then their skating tryout went so well. So the complete turnabout, coupled with the pandemic, and then the fact that Luba had quit her job with Cirque and uprooted to another city is rather heartbreaking for her. I'm glad that she had her boyfriend to support her throughout all of this, now her fiance! I wish Luba continued healing and success in finding happiness and fulfillment in coaching, and in perhaps finding a way to skate again in some aspect, including shows. I suppose it would be very difficult for her to find a new competitive partner, unless maybe Danny O'Shea might be a good fit -- that's probably a stretch though since both would have a lot of trouble being released, which would scuttle prospects due to the time element involved in not being released for awhile. Not to mention the citizenship issue.
I was actually thinking about Tai and Randy just yesterday. How huge of a deal his injury was and how Dick Button’s voice broke when announcing their withdrawal. National tragedy. Heartbreak kids. Cannot imagine that today. Not sure why. Is it that professionals can now compete? Because the Cold War is over and we’re no longer trying to prove the US is better than Russia through a medal count?
 

moonvine

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I think the unspoken elephant-in-the-room is that if Eric makes a big splash with/goes to the Olympics with Vanessa, the partnership that will be more recent, and accordingly more in people’s minds for purposes of being a draw for future shows, will be Eric with Vanessa. Everybody loves a comeback story!

Not to say that Meagan could not pair up with some other talented skater now at liberty—say, Danny O’Shea—for shows or a return to competition, if that is what she wants to do.
People really want Danny to have a partner it seems. Does he have Canadian citizenship or a way to get it? I don’t think Meagan and Danny would be near the draw for ice shows and she said she didn’t want to compete again.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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The general vibe had to be that everyone would be very excited about this new partnership... and obviously, not everyone is.
Sure, but that's for a variety of reasons. I still feel that no matter how Eric had handled it, Meagan would not have been pleased to hear about it, simply due to the way she has expressed feeling so hurt. Meagan says she is hurt because of not being told sooner, but then when is the best time? I can see observers feeling that Eric hedged his bets, but that's not unique to him. Even worse acrimony and misunderstandings have happened and will continue to occur involving partner splits in the skating world.

The other part of this is that things were happening in a way such that Eric & Vanessa could not be sure how everything would work out. So, in the meantime, they were hopeful and they trained. Apparently friends of both Meagan and Eric were consulted by Eric, and they advised him to inform Meagan sooner. But it still remains that Vanessa's release was being worked out, and neither Eric or Vanessa could be sure how it would transpire. France could have held on for a certain period which would have meant Eric & Vanessa going the show route because 2022 Olympics would not have been in the cards in that instance.

Since French fed is under new management, apparently the current President , Nathalie Pechalat (a former teammate of Vanessa) was sympathetic to Vanessa's new opportunity, and appreciative of Vanessa's significant contributions to France's pairs discipline. Therefore, Vanessa's release was secured much quicker and smoother than anticipated. Once Vanessa had the smooth release, that opened the opportunity for Eric & Vanessa to compete internationally this season. That's when Eric informed Meagan.

We don't know the exact reasons why Eric didn't wish to tell Meagan sooner, but it has been speculated that it could have been a combination of not wanting to 'hurt' Meagan (moot because she would have always been hurt apparently), and also 'hedging his bets' if things did not work out. Still, it seems that had Vanessa not gotten her release, Eric would still have preferred to strike out on a new path and skate professionally with Vanessa instead. Again, perhaps Eric could have had a conversation early on with Meagan in general about thinking of returning to competition, or pursuing a partnership with someone else for shows. Possibly, Eric (and perhaps even Skate Canada) did not want any rumors to jump the gun before negotiations with French fed were completed. So, that could be another reason for Eric's hesitancy to fully inform Meagan. No matter how much Meagan and TSL hosts profess not to share scoops with each other, Meagan is well known to be friendly with Dave Lease.

In regard to the revelation that Eric previously desired to partner with Aliona, we don't know anything about how this was discussed between Meagan and Eric, once Meagan found out. Meagan said in the TSL interview that her coaches told her about it sometime after the fact, but we don't know when. Was it before or after Meagan & Eric's back-to-back World championship wins? By 2017, Meagan & Eric seemed to be hitting a rough spot in terms of ideas and competitive results. That's when Meagan apparently initiated the move to train (for a short time as it turned out) in John Zimmerman's camp, where Vanessa & Morgan were having such career invigorating success.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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I was actually thinking about Tai and Randy just yesterday. How huge of a deal his injury was and how Dick Button’s voice broke when announcing their withdrawal. National tragedy. Heartbreak kids. Cannot imagine that today. Not sure why. Is it that professionals can now compete? Because the Cold War is over and we’re no longer trying to prove the US is better than Russia through a medal count?
Well, the whole injury situation might have been handled completely differently and with better care utilizing today's advances in physical therapies and training regimens for athletes. At the time, they likely didn't realize the extent and urgency of Randy's injury when it was first noticed. Today, probably better monitoring and diagnosis would have occurred, who knows? If so, it is quite possible better measures could have been taken to possibly heal the injury to a certain degree prior to the Olympics. Whereas back then, Randy may have rested it, and then the problem flared up worse during practices at the Olympics.

I don't recall exactly when the injury occurred. I think it was a few weeks or a week or two prior to the Olympics. In that situation, it could have been a festering injury that Randy didn't notice until just before the Olympics. Skaters trained very differently in those days. They did not have the same access to preventative medicine, sports therapy, effective rehab, and helpful training methods. For example, Nathan Chen's career might have been over in those days, with the injury he sustained at 2016 U.S. Nationals, coupled with his earlier Schlatter's disease (bone growth issues for young athletes).

Whatever they gave Randy to numb the injury site was apparently ill-advised and useless if the goal was to allow him to skate without pain. In order to skate, he needed to have some feeling in his leg and control over his muscles. LOL Whatever shot he was given, it's probably not used these days, and especially not in the amount that was administered. Plus, I think more stringent measures surrounding drugs and athletic competition were instituted by the IOC post -1980. And yes, the politics of the Cold War were in play at the Olympics in those days. Medal counts have always been a thing, particularly in the age of televised Olympics coverage.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Regarding those contracts - what if one partner doesn't want to sign? End of the partnership? What if one partner gets injured? Or what if one partner wants to care for a family member? A contract would need to cover all those things and more.

I've read all the posts in this thread and I still don't get why Meagan and Eric could not do shows together again in the future.
Imagine this episode with Vanessa ends with an injury in the upcoming months. The show managers would want Meagan, not Vanessa. And they would pay accordingly. There's really no need to burn bridges.

Well, it seems that's what Eric was not enthused about doing, for whatever reason (perhaps including his uncertainty about Meagan's full commitment, which could be a matter of miscommunication).

Now if we are going to get into hypotheticals, why not speculate that if Eric gets injured, who the heck will Vanessa skate with professionally??? Meagan? LOL! Danny O'Shea? (Is he interested?) Or maybe V's former BOTB hockey star partner, Akim Aliu? ROFL! That could be fun, but I think BOTB format is a special entity that might not work for the daily grind of touring. No wait, I got it, Robin Szolkowy FTW!!!

Meanwhile, for sure introducing full-fledged legal contracts into skating partnerships on the eligible level doesn't seem practical. It would cost more to hire lawyers than most budding teams could afford. Apparently, some skaters do enter into contracts with their coaches, and have for awhile. Seasonal pro contracts between skating partners would seem to make more sense than partnership contracts on the eligible level.
 

Ladskater

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On "That Figure Skating Show"

Practice clips inside,
This is looking good :clap:

Official Press release from Skate Canada:

OTTAWA, ON: Vanessa James, 33, Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford, 36, Balmertown, Ont., have formed a new skating partnership and will compete for Canada in the pairs discipline this coming season. Both skaters have previously competed internationally with different partners, James representing France and Radford on the Canadian national team.

“Partnering up with Eric is a very exciting career opportunity. I am looking forward to a season full of inspiration, joy and personal growth,” said Vanessa James. “We’re both very much looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.”

“I’m looking forward to this new partnership with Vanessa and getting back on the ice and doing what we love,” said Eric Radford. “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.”

James and Radford both did not compete this season. James, with her previous skating partner Morgan Ciprés, is the 2019 European Champion, the 2018 World bronze medallist in the pairs event, and represented France at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. James and Ciprés announced their retirement in September 2019. Radford, with his previous skating partner Meagan Duhamel, is a two-time World pair champion (2015, 2016), a 2018 Olympic gold medallist in the team event, a 2018 Olympic bronze medallist in the pairs event, and a seven-time Canadian national champion (2012-18). Duhamel and Radford announced their retirement in April 2018.

This coming season, James and Radford will be training in Quebec coached by Julie Marcotte, and the pair team looks forward to representing Canada at international events.
 

Ladskater

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This is wonderful news for the Skate Canada team. As Canada is rebuilding its team Eric and Vanessa will bring their years of competitive skating skills and class to pairs skating. Looking forward to seeing them soon.
 

4everchan

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Vanessa James is a French-Canadian citizen
Ermmm... French-Canadians are Canadians whose first language is French. That's not the case with Vanessa. She holds both passports, if that's what you meant to say, but she is definitely an English speaking Canadian born in Ontario.
 
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NanaPat

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Vanessa James is a French-Canadian citizen

Ermmm... French-Canadians are Canadians whose first language is French. That's not the case with Vanessa. She has hold both passports, if that's what you meant to say, but she is definitely an English speaking Canadian born in Ontario.
It would be more accurate to say that Vanessa is a dual citizen of Canada and France. Except I believe she is also a citizen of the UK. Could we say she's a triple citizen?
 
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4everchan

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It would be more accurate to say that Vanessa is a dual citizen of Canada and France. Except I believe she is also a citizen of the UK. Could we say she's a triple citizen?
my point is really not about what citizenship she holds... but really about what a French-Canadian is. @Ladskater 's choice of word is very confusing
 

Ladskater

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my point is really not about what citizenship she holds... but really about what a French-Canadian is. @Ladskater 's choice of word is very confusing

This will explain what a French-Canadian is. Canadians who are born in Quebec are considered French-Canadian, their first language is French. Growing up in Canada, we have always known folks from Quebec as French-Canadians....sorry for the confusion.
 

4everchan

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This will explain what a French-Canadian is. Canadians who are born in Quebec are considered French-Canadian, their first language is French. Growing up in Canada, we have always known folks from Quebec as French-Canadians....sorry for the confusion.
what you said is incorrect....

What is a French Canadian : simply someone who is born in Canada and speaks French as their mother tongue. It's not something exclusive to the province of Quebec. As a matter of fact, I know some Quebecois with Scottish/Irish origins or from first nations who would not approve your definition of "Canadians who are born in Quebec are considered French-Canadian....": Some of you must not have done well in Canadian history class ;)

French Canadians are all over Canada... it's not about being born in Quebec... though of course, the majority of French Canadians are from Quebec.... However, there are many French Canadians in Ontario, Manitoba, and the Maritimes... I even met some in BC and Saskatchewan. They have in common their mother tongue, French, one of the 2 official/founding languages in Canada. As Skate Canada recognizes inclusion/diversity, let's get on the same page about this. :)
 
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skylark

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I agree. But I think she used the term French Canadian (incorrectly) BECAUSE of Vanessa's citizenship. But I could be wrong.
@Ladskater:
Vanessa James is a French-Canadian citizen

I thought it was clever.;) Vanessa isn't the kind of French-Canadian in an official description, is she?

But she's a French citizen and a Canadian citizen. And a former skating competitor for America as a child. A British citizen through her father, who's from Bermuda. She's the very definition of diversity!

[I'm just playing, by the way ... not making an argument in any way, shape or form]
 

4everchan

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I thought it was clever.;) Vanessa isn't the kind of French-Canadian in an official description, is she?

But she's a French citizen and a Canadian citizen. And a former skating competitor for America as a child. A British citizen through her father, who's from Bermuda. She's the very definition of diversity!

[I'm just playing, by the way ... not making an argument in any way, shape or form]
well... some of these topics are very serious and sensitive for many. Playing around with them is very inappropriate. French Canadians are a minority group in Canada, fighting for survival. Just recently in the news, Laurentian university in Sudbury, Ontario, where 25% of residents say their mother tongue is French, and identify as French Canadian, shut down its French language program. These cuts were denounced by Quebec's government as it does threaten a minority. Source

Inclusion and diversity also means that the French speaking minority in Canada should be respected. Labeling Vannesa James as French Canadian is wrong and belittles an entire people. End of the story.
 
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TontoK

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well... some of these topics are very serious and sensitive for many. Playing around with them is very inappropriate. French Canadians are a minority group in Canada, fighting for survival. Just recently in the news, Laurentian university in Sudbury, Ontario, where 25% of residents say their mother tongue is French, and identify as French Canadian, shut down its French language program. These cuts were denounced by Quebec's government as it does threaten a minority. Source

Inclusion and diversity also means that the French speaking minority in Canada should be respected. Labeling Vannesa James as French Canadian is wrong. End of the story.
I can see that you feel strongly about this. I don't think anyone has written with malice.

I've found some of your thoughts to be very informative. I thought French Canadian was equivalent to "born in Quebec." Again, no ill intent in my misunderstanding, simply a lack of knowledge.

There is also a small minority French speaking subculture in America, and I don't mean "sub-culture" to be disrespectful - I just don't know quite how to describe it. They are the Cajuns in Louisiana. I'm doubtful that French is the mother-tongue for many in current day; they probably grow up bi-lingual. As a child growing up near there, my junior high French class took a field trip to New Orleans, where we ate at an authentically French restaurant and attended a mainstream play in French. I was too young and unsophisticated to appreciate the first, and not fluent enough to follow the second.

The thing that stuck out the most was that the play was presented to a full house, meaning that there WERE many people in Louisiana who WERE fluent enough to enjoy an evening at the theater, enjoying a play in a different language.

Later in life, as I knew more of the people on a personal basis, I learned that they are proud of their heritage and culture, as both Cajuns and Americans. There was a Cajun chef with a cooking program on television that was enormously popular among Cajuns and non-Cajuns alike. His name was Justin Wilson. He had a very distinct accent and speaking patterns, which some might erroneously think as part of his act, but it was typical of Cajuns of that age. I haven't been around there lately, but I wonder if their distinctive identity is merging more rapidly into the melting pot.
 

4everchan

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I will give you this : i don't think that anyone had ill intentions. I just thought it was important to clarify some facts. Identity, whether it is race, gender, national roots, language etc, is a very major topic these days, and as a French Canadian myself, I had to speak up. Yes, Louisiana is a place I would love to visit one day ! I have been fortunate to visit the maritimes and to learn more about the Acadians. Let's move on, now that I feel that my job is done ;) I am indeed very sensitive to identity issues. And btw, that is where the world is going nowadays, so it's something we all have to be aware of.
 

skylark

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I meant no disrespect. Vanessa is a French citizen. She is a Canadian citizen. I didn't really think it was possible to misunderstand my statement or my intentions, particularly as I said I was simply looking at the words from a different angle. End of story.
 
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