Web Exclusive

Joannie Rochette Withdraws From Worlds

Joannie Rochette has withdrawn from the ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Rochette’s spot on the Canadian team will be filled by Myriane Samson, 22, of St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. The global competition is being held in Torino, Italy from March 22-28.

Rochette, 24, has been on an emotional roller coaster since her mother, Thérèse Rochette died suddenly 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. The six-time Canadian champion was scheduled to compete just two days later. She moved forward with the well wishes and heartfelt messages of sympathy from people around the globe. Rochette went on to claim the bronze medal.

The emotional toll of the last three weeks played a significant role in Rochette’s decision not to compete at the World Championships, according to a press release from Skate Canada.

“With everything that has happened over the past few weeks, I have missed a significant amount of training time. That means I’m not prepared either emotionally or physically to skate well at these championships and once again challenge for the podium," Rochette said. “Whenever I compete I want to give my best to the fans, and to respect the competitive nature of the sport. I just would not be able to do that for either the fans or myself next week.”

Rochette also acknowledged her supporters. "I want to thank everyone in both Canada and around the world who have been so supportive of me,” she said. “There has been so much kindness shown to me and to my family. I want you all to know that your words of encouragement have truly helped me to get through this very difficult time. I also want to wish our Canadian team members all the very best as they compete in Torino. They all have my best wishes for a great competition.”

Samson is coached by Nathalie Martin, Danièle Robillard, and Manon Perron at CPA Saint-Léonard in Montreal. She joins Cynthia Phaneuf, 22 of Contrecoeur, Quebec as Canada’s two representatives in the ladies event at the championships.

There was no other word on Rochette's plans for the future, regarding her decision to stay in the competitive ranks of the sport.

The 2009 World's silver medalist, Rochette will pay tribute to her late mother 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." For more on that event, click HERE.