Canada sends strong figure skating team to Grand Prix Final

“Scores are going to be put up. Yep, I’m gonna make it. Duhamel and Radford won gold at the event slightly more than a week ago in Japan, despite nearly botching their final lift.“Completely shocking to us. “I’m competing against the top five in the world; it’s kind of the all-stars of the season. At this point we know there’s going to be record-breaking scores – there’s no doubt about it.”The Grand Prix Final features the top six skaters in the Grand Prix standings in each of the four disciplines. “At this point in my career, if I’m doing it for the results, if I’m doing it for winning as many gold medals as possible, I’m setting myself up for failure.“So I’ve learned to just go out and be concerned with my own challenges and my own goals, because the minute I start to get concerned with winning. Nope, I’m not gonna make it.’ Eventually we got it up and squeezed out two and a half points for that lift.”Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau, who were fourth in pairs in the Final last season, are Canada’s other entry in the event. My biggest goal and my biggest challenge is not to get too taken back, too distracted by the jumping competition going on. – winning would equate to me trying to do as many quads as Yuzu and Shoma – I’m setting myself up for trouble and I’ve experienced that before.”Hanyu is aiming to be the first singles skater to win four consecutive Final titles.Canadian ice dancer stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are chasing their first gold medal after finishing runner-up in four previous Grand Prix Finals.The dancers, who took two seasons off after their silver medal performance at the Sochi Olympics, have bounced back in top shape, winning the recent NHK Trophy in Japan with a world-record score.In pairs, Canada’s two-time world champs Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford hope to clean up some uncharacteristic bobbles at the NHK Trophy. But the two mistimed it. It doesn’t happen very often and it’ll never happen again,” Duhamel said.In the lift, which comes seconds before the end of their program, Radford gracefully hoists Duhamel overhead. Canada is sending entries in all four disciplines for the first time ever, due to Kaetlyn Osmond’s successful Grand Prix season.She’s the first Canadian to make the Final in women’s singles since Joannie Rochette in 2009.Chan, meanwhile, has won a pair of golds, a silver and bronze at the Final, and finished fourth last year in his comeback season.He’ll face a trio of huge jumpers in Japan’s Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, Shoma Uno of Japan, and American Nathan Chen.Chan beat Hanyu to win Skate Canada, and then roared back from third-place after the short program to win the Cup of China.Chan paused on a recent conference call when asked whether he believes he can win in Marseilles.“Well, I didn’t really go into either of my Grand Prixs, especially Cup of China, with any expectation to win,” he said. Patrick Chan knows if he’s to find success at the Grand Prix Final this week, he has to keep his eyes off the scoreboard.The three-time world champion from Toronto is part of Canada’s strongest team ever at this week’s Final in Marseille, France, and expects some sky-high scores in the men’s field.“My biggest challenge is trying to keep my nerves at bay and staying calm,” Chan said. Nope, I’m not going to make it. “And as it was going up I had five different thoughts of, ‘Okay, it’s going to make it. There were a few tense seconds, when Radford’s arms where straining, that the lift looked in doubt.“It ended up just being strength between the two of us,” Radford said.