Silver for Rochette

Elizabeth Manley leaned over a barrier in the bowels of the Staples Center, gathering up Joannie Rochette in a long embrace.

Canada’s Joannie Rochette skated to a silver medal at the World Figure Skating Championships on Saturday in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — Elizabeth Manley leaned over a barrier in the bowels of the Staples Center, gathering up Joannie Rochette in a long embrace.

It was a fitting ending to a thrilling night for Rochette, and a sort of passing of the torch — finally. The skater from Ile-Dupas, Que., captured a silver medal in the women’s singles at the world figure skating championships, ending a medal drought in the event that stretched back 21 years.

“This is unbelievable, it’s been so, so long and now to be able to deliver it . . .,” Rochette said. “For myself, I’m so, so happy to do it, it’s my little girl’s dream, since I was very young I’ve been dreaming about that.”

Rochette, who was making her seventh world championship appearance, overcame several missteps in an otherwise elegant free skate performance to Concierto de Aranjuez scoring 123.39 for a total of 191.92, earning Canada’s third medal of these world championships.

South Korean sensation Kim Yu-na, who trains in Toronto with former Canadian star Brian Orser, scored 131.59 for a total 207.71 to take the gold. Miki Ando of Japan won bronze with a score of 126.26 for a total 190.38.

Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecouer, Que., finished 15th.

Manley herself won Canada’s last women’s singles medal, a silver in 1988 in Budapest, and until Saturday night, her’s was the only one in 36 years.

“I just hope to inspire some young girls who want to achieve big things in skating and make them believe it’s possible,” Rochette said. “They know my history and know that five years ago no-one would have thought — or even three years ago — that I would be on the podium, that I had the talent to be on it.

“But through hard work I think anything is possible and I proved that to myself and hopefully proved that to all the other Canadian ladies.”

The 23-year-old Rochette, a five-time Canadian champion, went into the free skate trailing the 18-year-old Kim, but the South Korean had built a stunning 8.2-point lead over the Canadian that would have been nearly impossible to make up. Kim thrilled the crowd Saturday with an all-but-flawless free skate to Sheherazade. She landed five triples, her one mistep was a botched triple Salchow.

“Winning the world championships was my dream and I did it,” Kim said. “It is amazing.”

Rochette completed six triples, but her free skate performance wasn’t without its mistakes. She bounced on the landing of a double toeloop as part of her opening combination, and doubled a planned triple loop. But the errors were relatively small, and coupled with her exquisite spins and the grace with which she delivered her program, it was good enough to hold onto silver.

“Even on a night when I didn’t feel my best I was still able to deliver, with the great year I had and the consistent programs I’ve done through the season, and now to do six triples here is pretty good,” Rochette said.

The silver caps a coming-of-age season for Rochette that’s been a long time coming. She was fifth at the 2006 Olympics and fifth at last year’s world championships. She opened this season with a pair of Grand Prix titles, cruised to Canadian title No. 5, and then won silver at the ISU Four Continents in January in Vancouver. Her improvement, she said, comes from a newfound sense of confidence and ease on the ice.

“First time I was at worlds, I would have dreamed it would happen but never believed it,” Rochette said. “This year what made the difference was I started to believe I could accomplish it, and I think it showed in my performance, it gave me more confidence.”

Manley said she’d been nervous for Rochette all day, but thrilled with her breakthrough season.

“I’m probably as exhausted as she is right now,” Manley said, laughing. “It’s good to see her come out of her shell, and say, ‘This is me, this is what I do.’ That’s why I love her.”

Just Posted

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

Red Deer RCMP look for fraud suspect

Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify a fraud… Continue reading

Blood donations needed in Central Alberta: Canadian Blood Services

357 donors are needed before Aug. 26 at the Red Deer clinic

WATCH: Red Deer man shaves beard for Mustard Seed

‘I have spent 30 years of my life being addicted to both alcohol and drugs’

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

GENOA, Italy — The death toll from the collapse of a highway… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month