The French Ice dance discipline is in turmoil again. Just a week after Isabelle Delobel announced she was pregnant, Pernelle Carron advised her skating partner Matthieu Jost that she was calling it quits and was switching partners.
The announcement came right after the conclusion of the French Stars sur Glace tour, which ended on April 26.
Muriel Boucher-Zazoui, their coach of four years, was not surprised by the split. “The partnership could have ended two years ago as they were constantly quarreling,” she told IFS. “Had they not participated at the Worlds in Los Angeles last March (where they ranked 9th), the split would have taken place earlier.”
Carron has already found a new partner in Lloyd Jones from Great Britain. He competed twice for his nation at Junior Worlds (20th in 2006 and 17th in 2007) with Leigh Rogers.
Since then, he has not competed internationally. Jones came to Lyon and was associated at times with Elodie Brouiller. He has asked for a release from the British association, in order to be able to skate with Carron and represent France. They are training right now under the tutelage of Zazoui and hope to compete at the French Masters in mid-September in Orléans.
Carron and Jost joined forces in 2005. Carron was 13th at the 2005 World Juniors with Edouard Dezutter but she decided to change partners and teamed with Matthieu.
Jost was quite upset to be dumped by Carron, according to the former duo's coach. He is looking for another partner but Zazoui has not been able yet to provide him with one in her own center in Lyon.
Jost and his previous partner Roxane Petetin were three-time runners-up at French Nationals from 2002 to 2004. The duo’s best international placement was 12th at the 2004 Europeans in Budapest. Petetin was forced to retire because of a serious groin injury.
Jost relocated from Epinal, where he was coached by Russia’s Oleg Volkov, to Lyon. Carron and Jost rapidly achieved good results. Last season they earned a sixth-place finish at Europeans and were ninth at Worlds.
Splitting just 10 months prior to the Olympic Games is quite surprising. If Delobel and skating partner Olivier Schoenfelder (the 2008 World champions) are unable to compete at the 2010 Olympic Games, the second berth on the French team could have been theirs. (Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat are most likely to get the other ticket to the 2010 Games).
Delobel will give birth to her child in September and may not be ready in time for the Games in Vancouver.
On a more positive note, Jost, who is now a certified engineer, will become a father at the beginning of the summer. His long-time girlfriend Vanessa Gusmeroli (1997 World bronze medalist) is pregnant.