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

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read