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Susan D. Russell
Joannie Rochette

Two Canadian Breakthrough Moments

Joannie Rochette - The Firebird
2005 Canadian Championships -Free Skate

Since debuting on the international scene as a junior in 2000, Joannie Rochette was admired for her fast spins, speed and solid jumping technique. Gaining confidence and experience with each event she skated in, the young athlete rose steadily through the World ranks.

Shortly after taking bronze at the 2004-05 Grand Prix Final, her breakthrough came at the 2005 Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

Well ahead of her nearest rivals after skating a clean short program, the teenager could have easily played it safe leading into the free. Instead, performing to selections from Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird," Rochette electrified the 8,000 strong audience, portraying David Wilson's complex and imaginative choreography.

Her victory was a taste of things to come. Her dynamic style would eventually place the Canadian on both the World and Olympic podiums.

Patrick Chan - The Four Seasons
2008 CanadianChampionships - Free Skate

Quickly catching the attention of international judges, Patrick Chan became known for his soft knees and superb flow across the ice.

These attributes can be traced to the extensive knowledge imparted by his first coach, the late Osborne Colson. Each day Colson would allocate 30 minutes of practice time with skating drills to refine Chan's basic on-ice stroking and edge technique.

Patrick had a great season in the lead-up to the 2008 Canadian Championships. He won medals at both Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard, before finishing fifth in the Grand Prix Final. More significantly, it became the first year that the young skater began landing the triple Axel with any consistency.

Chan was in second place after the short program at Canadians that year. Despite missing the triple Axel, he was only seven points behind the leader and defending champion, Jeffrey Buttle.

Skating directly before Buttle, Chan performed the free skate of his young career,

Free from the pressure of expectations, Chan brought Lori Nichol's masterful choreography set to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" to life. With eight triples (including a solid Axel) under his belt, the audience rose to its feet at the program's conclusion.

In the end, Chan won the free skate by more than 10 points. That combined with his short program score, earned Chan the gold.


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