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Community gives Duhamel Olympic send-off

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jan 28, 2014 - 10:49 AM |
Skaters with the Walden Figure Skating Club wished their idol, Meagan Duhamel, good luck ahead of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

Skaters with the Walden Figure Skating Club wished their idol, Meagan Duhamel, good luck ahead of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

figure skater says she's ready to succeed after facing many obstacles

When Meagan Duhamel narrowly missed making the Canadian figure-skating team for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, she did not give up and sulk.

Instead, Duhamel cheered on her friends who made the team, and returned home to Lively, where she helped coach the young skaters of the Walden Figure Skating Club.

Four years later, Duhamel, and her skating partner, Eric Radford, have risen to the top of the figure-skating world.

Since missing out on her Olympic dream in Vancouver, Duhamel and Radford have become three-time Canadian pairs champions, and in 2013, won a bronze medal at the World Championships.

Monday night Duhamel's family and friends gave her an emotional send-off from the T M Davies Community Centre.

“Lively is my home,” Duhamel said from a Skype link to the arena. “I'm always representing the town everywhere I go around the world, and now I get to represent it on the biggest stage of all, the Olympics.”

Duhamel said that even with all her success this season, she and Radford had to overcome a number of obstacles to reach the pinnacle of their sport.

“We actually had a little bit of a rough start to the season,” she said. “We were hoping to come out and wind our Grand Prix and really make a statement internationally.”

She added when they focused on their own performances, the success followed.
“Of course we would love to win a medal at the Olympics, but more than anything we want to have great performances that we're proud of,” Duhamel said.

The girls from the Walden Figure Skating Club, who idolize Duhamel, wished her luck as they waved homemade posters and banners in her honour.

“To know that my daughter is like an idol to these other skaters, when she has had idols in her life, is pretty neat to see,” said her mother Heidi Duhamel.

Heidi, and her husband Danny Duhamel, will travel to Sochi to watch their daughter compete.

“When it's going to sink in is when we see her walk in during the opening ceremonies,” she said. “That's going to really hit home.”

Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau, a close friend of the Duhamel family, said Meagan's success has given the Lively community a strong sense of pride.

“A lot of people don't realize the commitment,” he said about Duhamel's battle to reach her Olympic dream. “We talk about hockey being tough, but I'm not sure hockey has anything on figure skating, quite frankly.”

@jmigneault
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer

@jmigneault

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