[Many thanks to peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Bernews reports:
After a barrier breaking career and multiple Olympic appearances, Vanessa James said she will “hang up my competitive figure skates.”
The Skate Canada website said, “Pair world bronze medalists Vanessa James, 34, Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford, 37, Balmertown, Ont., have decided to retire from competitive skating. James and Radford announced their partnership in April 2021.“The pair competed in several events this season which included four top five finishes, a silver medal at the 2021 Autumn Classic International, a 12th place finish at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and they capped off their season with a bronze medal at the 2022 ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
Ms James posted on Instagram, quoting Nelson Mandela… “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
She said, “Through ups and downs, joy and disappointment, I have been blessed with many people who have believed in me, encouraged me, and provided me with the skillset both on and off the ice, to make my dreams come true. I am endlessly grateful for each and every coach, mentor, teammate and staff member that has contributed to my journey and success throughout the last 23 years. To my fans, your constant love and support through the years means the world to me,” said James.
She continued, “To Skate Canada, Julie and Eric specifically, thank you for giving me the opportunity and the courage to rise again, and continue my passion and love for skating. To my parents, who have relentlessly and unshakably continued to support me in all of my endeavors, I owe you everything. Representing Canada has been an honor, and a privilege. I truly feel like the stars have aligned and everything has come full circle. As I hang up my competitive figure skates, I feel complete, and my heart is so full!”
The website noted, “Both James and Radford found success internationally before teaming up this past season. Previously representing France, James was partnered with Morgan Ciprès, together they won a gold medal at the 2019 ISU European Figure Skating Championships and a bronze medal at the 2018 ISU World Figure Skating Championships®. James and Ciprès also represented France twice on the Olympic stage.
“Radford was previously partnered with Meagan Duhamel. The pair had much success over the years having won back-to-back gold medals at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships [2015,2016] and were seven-time Canadian national champions from 2012-2018. The pair won two medals at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, bringing home a gold medal in the team event and a bronze medal in the pair event.”
Ms James — whose father is Bermudian and lived on the island when she was young — previously told Bernews, “I love Bermy, I have my grandparents and my cousins and everyone cheering for me in Bermuda,” she said. It’s a piece of me; I grew up in Bermuda, my childhood is in Bermuda. I’ll never forget that.”
Throughout her career she broke barriers, she was Britain’s first black figure skating champion and she, along with her previous partner Yannick Bonheur, were the first black couple to compete in the Winter Olympics pairs skating, and she was the only Black figure skater at the last Olympics.
“I feel so proud to be a trailblazer for young Black girls and boys in figure skating,” Ms James said.
Vanessa James retires from competitive figure skating for second time
Sam Murley, Royal Gazette, July 12, 2022