Isabelle Delobel is expecting her first child. She is due in September. The news was officially announced today during a press conference at the French federation headquarters in Paris.
She broke the good news to her skating partner Olivier Schoenfelder and their coach Muriel Boucher-Zazoui a few weeks ago.
"At first we were stunned," said Schoenfelder who is married and the father of an almost 3 year old son. "Of course I congratulated Isabelle and then we wondered how we could go on towards the Olympics."
"It is a matter of organization," Delobel added. "Obviously, as time goes by, it will be more and more difficult to train. But with the help of everyone, we will manage it."
They have already crafted next season’s original dance off the ice with choreographer Michel Durand and will adjust it on the ice in the coming weeks.
Delobel and Schoenfelder are the 2008 World champions. Delobel had surgery on her right shoulder last January and the duo was unable to defend its World title in Los Angeles. She resumed on-ice training at the beginning of April.
"In early June, we will work on the new free," Boucher-Zazoui revealed. "Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon (2006 World silver medalists) will help us craft the program in Lyon. When Isabelle will be unable to perform the lifts for example, Marie-France will substitute."
Can Delobel be ready in time for the Olympic Games next February? She will miss the French Masters (scheduled for mid-September in Orléans) and the first ISU Grand Prix legs, including Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris (which will open the Grand Prix season in mid-October).
"During the ISU Grand Prix management group meeting in Vancouver at the end of May, we will ask for them (Delobel-Schoenfelder) to skate as late as possible for their assignments," Didier Gailhaguet, the president of the French federation, conceded. "If they are not fit enough, the following event on their agenda could be the French Nationals (mid-December in Marseille) and the Europeans in Tallin (Estonia) mid-January 2010."
At the press conference today Delobel revealed that in June she will marry her longtime boyfriend, Ludovic Roux (1998 Team Nordic Combined Olympic bronze medalist).