— Meagan Duhamel (@mhjd_85) April 3, 2016
BOSTON – In the final few seconds of their gold-medal skate, when she was soaring high above Eric Radford’s head, Meagan Duhamel was already celebrating.
“I don’t even think I was saying words. I was just like ‘Yeahhhh!’” Duhamel said with a wide smile.
The Canadians captured their second consecutive world pairs title in emphatic fashion Saturday, and by the time they hit their final lift in front of a roaring TD Garden crowd, “I knew it was over, I knew we had done enough,” Duhamel said.
“When we hit that very last position, I heard her scream, and it just brought a little smile to my face,” Radford added. “When you can have those little bursts of a moment in the middle of a program, it’s surreal.”
Skating to Adele’s “Hometown Glory” and dressed in matching deep blue, the Canadians landed both their quad throw Salchow – the only skaters in the competition to do so – and side-by-side triple Lutzes en route to a clean program, earning a personal best 153.81 points. They scored 231.99 overall.
The jam-packed crowd in the 17,565-seat arena rose to its feet as Duhamel and Radford knelt on the ice in a long embrace. In the kiss-and-cry, as they awaited their marks, they gleefully held up oversized likenesses of their faces.
“Eric’s always the calm to my storm at the end of really great skates,” Duhamel said. “But he is just as excited as I am.”
China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the leaders after the short program, won silver with 224.47 points. Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot took the bronze with 216.17 points.
Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto were seventh while Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were eighth.
The pairs gold was Canada’s only medal at these world championships.
Later Friday, Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., was ninth in a women’s singles event won by 16-year-old Russian Evgenia Medvedeva.
The back-to-back golds for Duhamel and Radford marks the first time Canada has had repeat champions in pairs since Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul won four straight from 1957 to ‘60.
And their victory came after a frustrating season that at times appeared destined for world championship disappointment. They had utterly dominated pairs last season, but by their own admission they wandered into this season “floating around,” aimless.
Their perfect streak ended with a second-place finish at the Grand Prix Final. They had a less-than-great skate at the Canadian championships. There were times, they said, that they wondered if they’d done all they could in the sport. They arrived in Boston as “underdogs.”
“It feels great because it’s difficult not to doubt yourself when everyone else has that expectation of you,” Radford said.
“You work so hard, and that frustration, it hurts you so deeply, and it just feels so good when it all comes together,” Duhamel said. “And I can’t keep anything inside me, I was waiting for him to put up that last lift, because I was just going to explode.”
They did an about-face after the Canadian championships, following a particular meeting with their choreographer Julie Marcotte. Like flicking on a lightswitch, “it really was like a change in one day,” Radford said.
Duhamel and Radford teamed up in 2010 after each failed to qualify for the Vancouver Olympics with their previous partners. Their first world championships, in 2011 in Moscow, was memorable because Duhamel badly broke Radford’s nose during a lift in their short program, soaking his shirt in blood. They went on to finish seventh.
They’ve maintained a steady march up the global standings ever since, and won world bronze in both 2013 and ‘14.
Iliushechkina and Moscovitch, meanwhile, scored 199.52 for their program to Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2.
“It was a bit of work but a lot of fun,” said Moscovitch. “We did a great job of working our way through the program. We kept our focus on the choreography and enjoyment of the program and that really pulled us through.”
Moore-Towers and Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., scored 190.90 in their first world championships as a team.
“With two personal best performances here it sets us up well for next season,” said Moore-Towers. “I’m thrilled.”
Daleman scored 195.68, a huge 53-point improvement over last season, and afterward the 18-year-old fought back the tears.
“It’s just tears of being proud,” Daleman said. “Last year was not a good year for me at all… so I’m so proud of how far I’ve come, what I’m able to do and now I know I can be with the top skaters, and now I’m just going to go home, push myself even more and get ready for next year.”
Medvedeva scored 223.86 to capture the gold, while American Ashley Wagner won silver with 215.39, and another Russian teen Anna Pogorilaya was third with 213.69.
Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., was 17th.
Daleman admitted to feeling nauseous with nerves all day, but the moment her music started, the nerves disappeared.
“As soon as I heard the first beat of my music, no one was there, there was no judges, no audience, just me on the ice, doing what I love, and what I do every day,” she said.
Chartrand fought back tears for a different reason. The 20-year-old skater who was so solid in winning the Canadian championships had two shaky programs in Boston.
“I should have more confidence than I do,” she said. “I was really disappointed after the short, hoping to come back with a strong long program, something like I did at nationals. I know I can do that, I did that so often. I just didn’t feel that same level of comfort.”