Canadian Rochette's mother dies

Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:53pm EST
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U.S. champion Rachael Flatt said: "It's really unfortunate, I can't imagine what it's like to lose a parent... especially when you're trying to compete."

Her compatriot Mirai Nagasu was stunned to hear the news when informed by reporters.

"Wow," said Nagasu, blinking back tears. "I think this will spur her on to do even better because here she will skate for her mum."

The 16-year-old Nagasu revealed why the news had hit a raw nerve.

"If it was me it would give me motivation as it has since my mum has thyroid cancer," she said. "I'm hoping that she'll be able to pull through and she's been really strong for me so I want to skate for my mum here as well.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

<p>Canada's Joannie Rochette performs during the Senior Women Free Program at the 2010 Canadian Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario, January 16, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>