If you're a fan of figure skating, there's a book by a local author you may want to pick up.
Laura Young's second book, “Soulmates on Ice: From Hometown Glory to the Top of the Podium,” put out by Sudbury publisher Latitude 46 in October, focuses on the careers of pairs figure skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford.
Earlier this year, the skating team, who are both in their early thirties, won a bronze medal in the pairs event and a gold medal in the team event at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
They announced their retirement from competitive skating in April, and are currently taking part in the Thank You Canada Tour figure skating show, which visited the Sudbury Arena last week.
Both Duhamel and Radford are originally from Northern Ontario — Duhamel is from Lively, while Radford grew up in Balmertown in the northwest part of the province.
Young, who's covered the Sudbury sports scene as a journalist for many years, said she's written about Duhamel off and on since the beginning of the athlete's career.
“I was always amazed at her relentlessness,” said Young.
“She kept skating and she kept skating, and then when I knew her career was wrapping up, I thought why don't I see if she'd be interested in putting a book together about her career? I was so curious about why she kept pursuing skating and how come she was now having success later in her career.”
Young, also the author of the award-winning 2014 Latitude 46 book “Solo Yet Never Alone: Swimming the Great Lakes,” said she did most of the interviews with Duhamel and Radford a year ago in the fall.
Then she sat back and watched their performance at the Olympics.
“I really appreciated that they won and helped to write a really cool ending to their book, because it could have gone the other way, and we address that in the book,” she said.
Eight years ago, both Duhamel and Radford, who were then skating with other partners, considered retiring from competitive skating after they failed to make the Olympics.
A coach paired them up and convinced them to give their dream another try.
“I know it sounds like a cliché, but they have a lot of grit to be able to stick with it,” said Young.
By the way, a note about the book's title: Duhamel and Radford don't call themselves soulmates in a romantic sense. Duhamel is married to skating coach Bruno Marcotte, while Radford is engaged to skater Luis Fenero.
It's instead because they're long-time friends, and when it came to skating, they had finally found their perfect partners.
Reached on a train while travelling as part of the Thank You Canada Tour figure skating show, Duhamel said she's really happy with the book.
“I have been wanting to share my story for a really long time, and of course competing and the schedule that I had doesn't allow me much time to focus on writing a book,” she said.
“So Laura was really helpful in working around that and sharing her gift of being able to write.”
Duhamel said she hopes the book inspires the next generation of figure skaters or anybody who reads it.
“That's the basis of our story, was overcoming obstacle after obstacle after obstacle,” she said.
“It's a really in-depth look at our lives and our sport and our highs and our lows, and it's also so honest. I don't think I've ever read a sports book that has the honesty and the openness that we've given this.”