By her own admission, Canadian Ice Dance Champion Vanessa Crone is easy going, dedicated, motivated and competitive who says “skating is…my life.” By my admission she is also friendly, warm and intelligent. Having parted ways with her partner of over 10 years, Paul Poirier, she finds herself at a crossroads. To understand where she’s going, you have to understand where she’s been.

Vanessa says that her partnership was valuable in so many ways:

“I was able to see what a best friend was like and going through good and bad. Paul liked me for me.”

That support was key.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without Paul as my partner and accomplish as much. Although there is success and failure he taught me that there is passion outside of skating.”

There is no doubt that both skaters had lessons to offer each other.

“I think something that Paul taught was to do your best and expect nothing less. I think I taught Paul to stay grounded and to never get caught up in anything positive or negative; to stay focused on ourselves.”

This focus was possible through the love and strong support not only from fans, but her parents, coaches, judges, Skate Canada, sponsors, mentors and the media – Vanessa is quick to express her profound thanks.

She shared two highlights among the many from her skating career to date: taking the ice for their first Olympic practice in Vancouver, they realized that there was as much applause and support for them as Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Then there was winning the senior national title this year:

“We wanted that for a very long time so standing on the podium and getting the medals was a really special moment.”

That was then and this is now and Vanessa talks about continuing in skating and has been on the ice since the split happened around the beginning of May: “I have been on the ice a couple of times a week doing my own thing; just training and keeping myself busy. I don’t want my skills to get rusty and I have even just ordered new skates.” Being on the ice alone has been difficult: “I am so used to having someone there.” Bit by bit she is adapting to her new “normal”.

“I am definitely looking for a new dance partner and I want to find one and continue competing and if I don’t I might start skating singles again or even get into coaching.”

Of the many possibilities available to this talented skater, it is clear that her heart is still in ice dance:

“I am starting try outs around the beginning of July and would prefer to find a Canadian partner but am keeping myself open to other possibilities.”

It would seem to me that the possibilities could be endless for Vanessa on and off the ice. School is important to her and Vanessa’s plans include the University of Toronto in September 2012 where she wants to study nutrition, psychology with an interest in kinesiology.

The talk though always comes back to skating and what her future holds on the ice:

“As far as who I get – I am open to moving to different coaches and locations if that’s what happens. I feel like this is a new chapter and I want to start over with everything. Starting fresh would be my hope and a different atmosphere and location could be helpful.”

As skating fans, we are used to only ever seeing Vanessa with Paul – which doesn’t mean to suggest that there is no Vanessa without Paul. Some of skating’s best stories come from the “comebacks” and the “re-births” and I for one am looking forward to the next chapter in the Vanessa Crone story – look for her in a rink near you – very soon.

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