Paul Poirier and Vanessa Crone

Paul Poirier and Vanessa Crone at the 2011 Canadian Figure Skating Championships (Photo by Justine Chiu)

The dynamic Canadian Dance Champions Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier have ended their partnership. Paul spoke to me:

“I am doing ok. It was definitely a hard decision for both Vanessa and I. As you know we have both been a huge part of each other’s lives for a very long time.”

His tone is thoughtful and his responses are considered and articulate.

“We had a difficult Worlds and I know some people are going to think that this is about that. I can honestly say that isn’t true. We are not quitters and we have never looked at a defeat as the end of the road. I can tell you it wasn’t any one specific thing, but we just weren’t moving in the same direction anymore.”

He acknowledges that he started thinking about this once Worlds were over and they each had some time off.

“This was not a decision that was months and months in the making. I embraced last seaon wholeheartedly but when I had a good think, I knew the decision was right.”

Is there any one thing the partnership has taught him?

“It’s hard to choose just one thing, there are so many but I think the value of taking in other people’s perspectives. I am a stubborn person and like to have my way and over the years to learn to work as team to get where you want to go has been so important.The value of hard work and how to work with other people. Also she’s taught me things to improve myself as an artist, as a skater and a dancer. It’s been more than half of my life.”

He continues by talking about what he will miss about Vanessa:

“She has been a staple in almost every day of my life. It’s going to be a bit different. I will miss a lot of the conversations we had and our ability to work and still fit fit in conversations about our life.”

Paul admits to being uncertain about what the future holds and is sure that Vanessa is in the same spot. With that uncertainty though, there is a feeling of apprehension (in a good way) – excited for what the future holds while still being a little intimidated. Not one to back away from a challenge, he is back on the ice. Two weeks ago he skated for the first time without Vanessa and is still getting used to it. He is finding it difficult to fill his time without programs to focus on but has found satisfaction in helping some of the younger teams at the rink. He also says that he feels kind of lonely and that being on the ice kind of empty. Paul is quick to point out though that he still wants to skate. In the not too distant future the hunt for a new partner begins which could extend across Canada and beyond:

“I could be looking outside of Canadian borders. International partners are a lot more common than they used to be. I will be doing many tryouts to find out what will be best for me as a skater and as a person too — not just a cold hearted athlete. Success is never at the cost of our happiness.I have to look around. I haven’t even given it much thought…yet.”

He says that if he needs to sit out a year to create an international partnership, he accepts it as the price to pay.

“I think I would like to talk about how grateful I have been for the last 10 years. It has brought me through the years that have made me the adult I am today. I am grateful for all of the support that I have received and I am so grateful for the gift I have been given to express myself through and to be able to live my passion for skating.”

The real gift as far as I can tell has been to us, the audience.

Thank you Vanessa and Paul for 10 great years and a great ride!

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