The International Skating Union (ISU) has granted permission for six-time Canadian champion, 2009 World silver medalist and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette to perform an exhibition for a U.S.-based television program.
“We appreciate the ISU working with us to find a solution for this situation,” said William Thompson, Skate Canada’s CEO. “They have agreed to relax ISU rule 136 for Joannie in this instance, due to the unique and extenuating circumstances of this particular request. We want to thank the ISU for their consideration and understanding in reviewing this in light of Joannie's situation.”
Rochette plans to pay tribute to her late mother, Thérèse Rochette, by performing a special piece at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods's Premier Ballroom in Mashantucket, Conn. on March 19. The performance will be part of the made-for-TV reality competition "Thin Ice."
Thérèse Rochette died suddenly in a Vancouver hospital on Feb. 21. She was just 55 years old and had traveled to British Columbia to see her daughter compete at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Just days later Rochette skated in honor of her mother and earned Canada's first ladies medal in figure skating since 1988.
Rochette withdrew from the 2010 World Championships yesterday. Had she skated in the TV show without ISU approval, Rochette could have lost her eligibility to compete in future ISU-sanctioned events.
Figure skaters who compete under the ISU require a sanction from their national federation to take part in non-ISU events. There is an ISU regulation that protects the integrity of ISU championships, which does not allow skaters to perform exhibitions where they have chosen to withdraw from an ISU event that conflicts or is in close proximity to the ISU event. With the ISU agreeing to relax its regulation, Skate Canada has approved the sanction, allowing Rochette to perform.
The emotional toll of the last three weeks played a significant role in Rochette’s decision not to compete at the World Championships. “With everything that has happened over the past few weeks, I have missed a significant amount of training time," Rochette said. "That means I’m not prepared either emotionally or physically to skate well at these championships and once again challenge for the podium."
The ISU’s decision will allow Rochette to skate the exhibition routine; she plans to reprise the routine she skated at the exhibition gala in Vancouver after she claimed the bronze medal. The program is choreographed to "Vole" sung by Céline Dion. It was a program that Rochette skated a few years ago, and it was one of her mother's favorites.
For more on “Thin Ice,” click HERE.
Rochette has signed on to perform in the first four shows in Smucker’s Stars on Ice beginning on Thursday, April 1 in Fort Myers, FLa. at Germain Arena.
In addition to performing in the first Smucker’s Stars on Ice tour’s U.S. performance, Rochette also will skate in three other shows including April 2 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at BankAtlantic Center; April 3 in Orlando, Fla. at Amway Arena and also on April 4 in Tampa, Fla. at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The Smucker’s Stars on Ice tour is headlined by 2010 Olympic men's gold medalist Evan Lysacek; 2010 Olympic ice dance silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White; 2006 Olympic silver medalists and 2010 Olympians Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto; two-time and reigning U.S. champion and 2010 Olympian Jeremy Abbott and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen.
They will be joined on the ice by World champion and six-time U.S. champion Todd Eldredge; two-time World bronze medalist and three-time U.S. champion Michael Weiss; World champion and two-time Japanese ladies champion Yuka Sato and 2009 U.S. champion Alissa Czisny.
Many more stars are expected to make select guest appearances throughout the 41-city tour, including 2010 Olympic gold medalists Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, 2010 Olympic silver medalists Qing Pang and Jian Tong; 2010 U.S. pairs champions and 2010 Olympians Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett; 2008 U.S. ladies champion and 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu; 2010 U.S. ladies champion and 2010 Olympian Rachael Flatt; and 2007 World champion and 2006 and 2010 Olympian Miki Ando. Guest skaters vary per city; check the Stars on Ice website for more info.