Canadians Eric Radford and Meagan Duhamel are favored to win the pairs skating competition at the world skating championships this week in Shanghai, China.
If they succeed, they will be the first Canadian pairs to win worlds since 2001, and Radford will become the first openly gay skater to win a world title. Here is how ESPN sizes up the pairs competition:
Even though China has a powerful trio of teams entered in the pairs competition, the Canadian team of Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford has been the team to beat this season. The duo had an agonizing campaign leading up to Sochi and vowed if they were going to compete this season, they were going to revamp things and skate on their own terms.
Duhamel and Radford decided to up the ante this season by adding a throw quad Salchow to their free skate, and the move has elevated them to a slew of gold medals.
The Canadian gay website Daily Xtra has a great video interview with Radford and asks him why other skaters won't come out openly:
"I think that the biggest reason would just be fear of the unknown," said Radford. "There's anxiety, there's fear, because you don't know how the other person is going to react. And being in the public eye, that's just multiplying it by, like, times five. But I'm just in a place in my life and in my career where I'm surrounded by amazing people and friends and have so much support that I felt completely comfortable to do it. My fear of coming out wasn't as strong as my want to just get my story out and help people.
Radford came out publicly to Outsports in December and any notion that this would hurt him or be a "distraction" has been shattered. Here's hoping that he and Duhamel bring home the gold for Canada this week.