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Vanessa James and Eric Radford announce retirement from competitive figure skating

OTTAWA — World bronze medallists Vanessa James and Eric Radford announced their retirement from competitive figure skating Monday.
Vanessa James and Eric Radford of Canada perform in the pairs short program at the Figure Skating World Championships in Montpellier, south of France, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. THE CANSADIAN PRESS/AP/Francisco Seco

OTTAWA — World bronze medallists Vanessa James and Eric Radford announced their retirement from competitive figure skating Monday.

James and Radford finished 12th in pairs at the Beijing Olympics in February and capped their lone season together a few weeks later with a third-place result at the world championship in France.

"We are very proud of what Vanessa and Eric have accomplished through this season culminating in a bronze medal at worlds," Skate Canada high-performance director Mike Slipchuk said in a release. "Skate Canada wishes both Vanessa and Eric the best in their future plans."

James, 34, and Radford, 37, announced their partnership in April 2021 after decorated careers with other partners. James previously represented France with Morgan Cipres, while Radford previously skated with Meagan Duhamel.

"Almost 30 years ago at the age of eight, I started skating," Radford said. "Skating has shaped my life in many ways and given me some of my most amazing memories."

Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., and the Toronto-born James earned four top-5 finishes last season, including silver at the Autumn Classic International.

"Through ups and downs, joy and disappointment, I have been blessed with many people who have believed in me, encouraged me, and provided me with the skillset both on and off the ice to make my dreams come true," James said.

Radford and Duhamel won seven straight national pairs titles from 2012-18. They won back-to-back world crowns in 2015 and 2016, and earned bronze in pairs and gold in the team event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

James and Cipres won world bronze in 2018 and took European gold the following year. 

Radford came out of retirement at age 36 to compete with James. They contracted COVID-19 just before Christmas and pulled out of the Canadian championships in early January after finishing fourth in the short program.

They said they weren't fully recovered to compete at their best, but were still awarded one of two Olympic spots for Beijing.

They struggled to a 12th-place finish at the Capitol Indoor Stadium, two spots behind Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro. Canada was fourth in the team event. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2022. 

The Canadian Press