Let’s forget about the results for a moment.

The fact that Canada’s six-time champion and defending world silver medallist was able to skate the short program on Tuesday night after the sudden loss of her mother over the weekend was nothing short of a miracle. Not only did she skate the program, but she skated it well enough to put her in third place heading into the free.

The mood in the building was subdued as if the spectators felt collectively that they didn’t want to do anything to compromise Joannie’s skate. Element by element the applause was encouraging and there was a lot of it, but it came and went very quickly registering support without becoming a distraction. Even before her music ended, the audience was on its’ feet and it was at that point that Joannie started to break down. Speaking is what I am supposed to do and keeping the lump in my own throat at bay in order to call the marks as others were openly weeping around me was probably the most difficult professional challenge I have ever faced.

Earlier, both Yu-Na Kim of the Republic of Korea and Mao Asada of Japan had skated clean.

Kim took the lead in a display that was confident and mature and with a vixen-like flirtyness to her James Bond medley. Asada’s program boasted a triple Axel combination and after the results, Japanese TV friends were texting to ask why the big spread in the scores? Easy. Canadian choreographer David Wilson’s programs leave nothing to chance in their construction and Kim was easily able to capitalize on elements like choreography, transitions and interpretation to maximize her program component scores.

The ladies take the ice this evening for the free skate.

Pj’s Podium Picks still stand:



BRONZE Joannie Rochette CAN

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