It's nice to be World champions, isn't it? Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford have launched themselves into the stratosphere during the past couple of years, with two World bronze to start and then their first World title last year. It will be the Meagan-Eric show, for sure, but the drama will happen with three pairs vying for the other two spots for Worlds. And just like last year, it should be a close competition.
Duhamel/Radford saw their undefeated streak halted at 9 international titles in a row when they were beaten by Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov at the Grand Prix Final. They haven't quite looked as confident as they did last season, and perhaps some of it has to do with the addition, and then subtraction, and then likely re-addition this week of the throw quad lutz. It should still be a walk in the park for them this week to win their fifth consecutive Canadian title, but it will be important for them to skate well here to set themselves up to defend their World title in Boston.
The big question, then, is who else goes to Worlds? The revelation at the Grand Prix Final was the rise of Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau. They originally qualified for the Final as a result of the amendments in qualification rules that happened after Trophee Eric Bompard was cancelled halfway through. And that stroke of luck was exactly what they needed to springboard their way to the next level internationally. They took fourth there with a personal best competition, and they are certainly the favorites for silver in Halifax this week.
So then it's a fight for the bronze, incidentally between two pairs with pairs who used to skate with each other. Defending silver medalists Lubov Iliushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch take on Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro, who were fourth here last year by less than one point. Whereas Moore-Towers/Marinaro have made some strides as a pair this season, Iliushechkina/Moscovitch have not been able to replicate the strong debut season the had. There may very well be a bit of a switcheroo this week at Canadians.
Top 5 Predictions (Pairs)
GOLD Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford
SILVER Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau
BRONZE Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro
4. Lubov Iliushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch
5. Vanessa Grenier/Maxime Deschamps