VANCOUVER — Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford have gone back to their comfort zone in their quest for Olympic gold.
The Canadian pairs skaters decided three weeks ago to scrap their free program to music by Muse, choosing instead to skate to Adele’s "Hometown Glory," the program that helped them capture gold at the 2016 world championships in Boston.
"With a competition and a season as important as the Olympics, you want to feel as comfortable as possible, and you want to feel you’re giving yourself the best chance to have your best skate," Radford said.
"Of course, we want to go to the Olympics and have this beautiful moment, and when I listen to this music, and I think about the soothing quality of this program, I feel how I want to feel at the Olympics," Duhamel added.
The idea came while skating in Stars on Ice in China over the Christmas break. The Canadians took the ice right after Russian pairs skater Ekaterina Gordeeva, who happened to be skating to "Hometown Glory."
"Maybe it was complete fate that we ended up in China and skating right after Ekaterina," Duhamel said.
Because of the time difference between China and Canada, Duhamel and Radford had already watched a YouTube video of their old program and "started piecing Adele back together" before telling coach Bruno Marcotte, who’s also Duhamel’s husband.
"I fired Bruno a text message and literally said ‘Hey, we’re going to go back to ‘Hometown Glory,’ we feel it’s a good decision,"’ she said. "It came from us, and I feel like that makes it special too. The decision to go back to it wasn’t influenced by anything other than our own souls. Does it guarantee we’re skate amazing and win the Olympics? No, but I feel like it helps our odds."
The two-time world champions, who plan to retire after the Pyeongchang Olympics, earned their best-ever component scores skating to "Hometown Glory," and in an event that could go down to hundredths of a point, the difference between gold and bronze could be determined by component marks, which are for elements like skating skills, choreography, and interpretation.
"We came to the conclusion that this type of emotional passionate programs are what we do best," Duhamel said.
Theirs wasn’t the only music change this season. Gabrielle Daleman has gone back to Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue" from last season, after skating to music from "Gladiator" earlier in the season.
"I’m very happy with the change, I love this program dearly," Daleman said. "And it was another excuse to get a new costume which is always good, more (rhine)stones."
Ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje changed their free dance before Skate Canada International, going back to their popular program to "Je Suis Malade" that saw them finish fourth at the 2012 world championships.