Radford skating with new freedom at GP final

Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford perform during the senior pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating Final 2014 in the Barcelona International Convention Centre, on December 11, 2014.

By Emmeline Moore ,AFP

BARCELONA, Spain — Canada’s Eric Radford admitted that he was skating with a new-found freedom as he and pairs partner Meagan Duhamel surged to the lead after the short programme at the ISU Grand Prix final on Thursday. Radford, 29, was performing in Barcelona just days after coming out as gay. And the pair drew gasps from the audience for their fluid and acrobatic display as they led Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov by 2.17 points going into Saturday’s free skating final. The Canadians spoilt what would have been a dream opening day for Russia who dominated the women’s event on the first day of competition with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva leading the way ahead of three countrywomen �X Julia Lipnitskaya, Elena Radionova and Anna Pogorilaya �X in the six-woman field. ��The support I’ve received since (coming out) has been phenomenal and overwhelming,�� said Radford.

��I’ve received numerous messages from athletes and young people saying it has made a difference. I would have killed for that when I was young. ��I know that my message is getting out there so it feels great.��