Joannie Rochette is one woman who knows how to pack a lot of living on and off the  ice. Catching up with her recently in Toronto at the annual Canadian National Exhibition where she is the headliner in a fun-filled half hour ISF Entertainment skating show, her warm smile was as big as ever.

The 2010 Olympic Games is where many people first came to know Joannie where she captured the Bronze medal only days after the sudden death of her mother Therese. How did she do it? “We’re lucky in skating to have music to relate to in our programs and my goal was always to step on the ice and push the “go” button and let the training take over.” Does she remember skating those outstanding programs in Vancouver? “No. I remember stepping on the ice and the music starting but I don’t really remember skating. I do remember talking to family and friends after and trying to over compensate for how I was feeling. I wanted to look good so that people wouldn’t feel bad for me.”

It is this sense of compassion for ‘the other guy” that has led Joannie to numerous charity projects including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Audi Best Buddies and World Vision to name a few.

On the ice, she is up to her eyeballs in performance work as one of the mainstays of the Stars on Ice cast since 2006, also in shows like the one at the CNE and  at upcoming Disson shows like Fashion on Ice where she will get the chance to perform “She Works Hard for the Money” in a maid costume being designed by legendary Betsey Johnson.  In a somewhat awestruck tone, she also revealed that she will be skating to a live rendition of one of Aretha Franklin’s newest songs sung by the lady herself!

“I thought when I wasn’t competing that the stress would be over but now there is stress in a different way from having to travel and have always new programs.” This year those programs were put together by David Wilson and Shae-Lynn Bourne and Joannie acknowledges that she would love to be able to work with Lori Nichol again sometime.While at the CNE, she says she wishes she could skate more in the show and loves the fun and games going on backstage. “It is so much fun. And did you see the gymnasts? Cool eh?”She told me that when she signed on it was for a grueling 36 shows in 18 days;no days off and yet she is having a great time.

The question on everybody’s mind is about Joannie coming back to competition: “I want to keep my options open. I don’t know if I will need it (my eligibility) but I want to have it until 2014. Past 2014; I will let it go.”

Joannie explains the huge differences in training between competiton and show work this way: “When you practice for competition it’s very methodical.” With 3 triples in her show program, it looked to me as if she was staying at the top of her game which she does by skating at least one hour a day when she is home.

Are there any perks being Joannie Rochette? Well, at a function last Fall with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Scott got to chatting with an Audi executive about how cool it would be to have an Audi to drive to the rink. Audi now sponsors Joannie’s ride and when asked about the car she almost purrs that it is a white A5 convertible whose top she has down even when has to wear a down jacket in Montreal to do it!Thanks Scott AND IMG for making it happen!The other perk for Joannie is being able to work at something she loves, surrounded by the love friends, family and fans.this is the story of how Joannie “got her groove back.”

Tagged with: , , ,