Eric Radford & Vanessa James
Pairs Figure Skating — Targeting Beijing 2022
2018 Olympic Gold Medalist – Team Event
2018 Olympic Bronze Medalist – Pairs Event
2015, 2016 World Championships – Gold Medalist
2013, 2015 Four Continents Championships – Gold Medalist
2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – Team Event
Founding Ambassador of One Team – COC's LGBTQ Initiative
Social Followers: Instagram, 53,700
Hometown: Red Lake, Ontario
Three-time Olympian – Team France
2019 European Championships – Gold Medalist
2018 World Championships – Bronze Medalist
2018 Grand Prix Final Vancouver – Gold Medalist
2017 European Championships – Bronze Medalist
Social Followers: Instagram, 51,400
Hometown: Scarborough, Ontario
Sometimes chemistry is crafted over decades and sometimes it just falls gently into your arms.
Three-time Olympic medalist Eric Radford and World Championship bronze medalist Vanessa James had both settled into retirement from competitive pairs figure skating when a chance meeting on the set of CBC's ratings-juggernaut Battle of the Blades brought them both together.
During practices with their celebrity partners for Season 6 they decided to take a few turns as a pair.
The chemistry was so immediate and powerful that they decided to reconsider retirement and extend their careers.
Now, the newly-formed pair will focus all of their creative energy on developing choreography that combines their athleticism and artistry into an Olympic ambition.
For Eric, the way the partnership has effortlessly evolved has become reason to believe in their potential for greatness.
"I've learned that the best way to know you're on the right path is when the universe manifests the right opportunities at the right times," he noted. "That's precisely what happened with Vanessa and I without us even trying."
For Vanessa, Eric has given her the opportunity to pursue unfinished business leading into Beijing 2022.
"I truly believe that the stars have aligned and I have full faith that this partnership will flourish into a successful and memorable journey," she added.
Now, they'll work together to surprise and delight figure skating fans across Canada with each and every performance.
That's truly serendipity.
Off the ice, Eric has been a leading voice in the LGBTQ athlete community as a Founding Ambasador of the Canadian Olympic Committe's One Team Initiative that celebratres Canada's diversity and inclusivity.
Since coming out in 2015, he speaks passionately about the need for Canada's sport community and Team Canada's fans to recognize that many of the incredible moments in Canadian sport history, and many to come, have been delivered by LGBTQ athletes.
"I feel lucky that I was able to come out publicly when I did and that is partly because of the courage of a few LGBTQ athletes who came out before me and paved the way. I want to do the same for young LGBTQ athletes who may be struggling with their identity or sexuality," Eric noted.
"The One Team initiative has helped me share my experience with LGBTQ youth and send a message that you can achieve anything you dream of no matter your background."
Eric plans to continue this important work after Beijing 2022.