Rochette finds solace on ice

Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:51pm EST
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By Pritha Sarkar

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Joannie Rochette once again found solace in her white leather boots as she skated round the Olympic rings embedded under the ice in the Pacific Coliseum just a day after her mother's sudden death.

The 40-minute training session seemed to provide the 24-year-old with a welcome distraction on Monday and she smiled several times during a run through of her program just a day before the women's competition gets under way.

What the last 30 hours have been like for the Canadian sweetheart one can only imagine but on the ice, she was professional to the end as she executed soaring jumps and dizzying spins that drew nods of approval from her coach Manon Perron.

"Joannie is showing us the level of readiness that is required before a short program. You saw she was able to do all her jumps, everything is ready. I was really pleased to see that all the levels in the spins were there, there were no hesitations," said Skate Canada president Benoit Lavoie.

"It's one step at a time. We're going to follow Joannie's progress until tomorrow. It's her decision but at this point I think it's looking pretty good."

The Canadian Olympic community have thrown a veil of protection around Rochette following the tragedy and although the skater is not expected to talk publicly until the end of the women's event on Thursday, she has many people supporting her.

While she has a team of psychologists and other specialists at her disposal in the Athletes' Village, where she has chosen to stay on, she has also been comforted by former synchronized swimmer Sylvie Frechette who knows only too well what Rochette is going through.

The swimmer's then fiance Sylvain Lake committed suicide a week before Frechette competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.   Continued...

<p>Figure skater Joannie Rochette of Canada practises her routine at a training session during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 22, 2010. REUTERS/Lyle Stafford</p>