Olympics-James and Radford headline Canada's Olympic figure skating team

·2 min read
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Internationaux de France

(Reuters) - Pairs duo Vanessa James and Eric Radford headlined the skaters named on Sunday to Canada's figure skating team for next month's Beijing Olympics a day after they withdrew from their national championships.

Radford, a two-time world champion with former partner Meagan Duhamel, and James contracted COVID-19 over the Christmas holidays and only returned to the ice earlier this week.

The duo were in fourth place after Friday's short program in Ottawa and then announced their withdrawal ahead of Saturday's free program. Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, who won gold, earned the other pairs spot.

Selection to the Olympic team, which was announced by Skate Canada, was based on international results and scores from the past two seasons and at the 2022 national skating championships.

Keegan Messing and Roman Sadovsky are Canada's two entries in the men's event after placing first and second, respectively, on Saturday. Madeline Schizas, who won her first national title on Saturday, earned the one berth in women's singles.

Reigning world bronze medallists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, who finished eighth at their Olympic debut in 2018, secured one of the three ice dance spots a day after they won gold at Canada's national skating championships in Ottawa.

"For us, this is really a moment of honour," Poirier said in a news release. "We had the pleasure of representing Canada at the 2018 Olympics so to qualify for another Games is really something special. We're vying for the podium, so we're excited to bring our best skating to the Olympics."

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen, who won ice dance silver on Saturday, and bronze medallists Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha rounded out the other two ice dance spots.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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