Grieving Canadian Figure Skater Wins Bronze

rochette.jpgSusan notes: this is such an inspiring story. Still, I think it's important to remember that medals aren't everything: see my blog post Still Worth Your Weight (And More) In Gold.

Canada's bronze medal-winning figure skater Joannie Rochette said that her Vancouver success was predicted by her mother just days before her tragic death.

The world silver medallist's 55-year-old mother Therese died from a heart attack four days ago in Vancouver. And the young skater put her grief behind her to pull out a gutsy performance which gave her an Olympic bronze in a tough field led by runaway South Korean gold-medal winner Kim Yu-Na.

Rochette explained how she had been having a problem with one of her triple jumps, the lutz, and she phoned her mother.

"It was my goal coming here to be on the podium and my mom told me last week 'you're going to get it. I know it,'" said Rochette.

"I'm sure if she could have seen my triple lutz tonight, she would have been proud."

The 24-year-old admitted it was a battle to compete but she had been boosted by the thousands of messages of support she received from around the world.

"I felt so much love in so little time," she said. "All of your comments and all of your letters really helped me in one way or another get on the ice and skate here for myself, for my country and for my mother."

Taking to the ice for Tuesday's short programme was the toughest, she said.

"It was the first competition since it happened and it's the first important competition that my mom was not in the stands attending.

"Even though I was trying to be an athlete focused on my goals, emotions just took the best out of me. I was proud that I could control them.

"I really didn't feel like skating because my mind was not really here and I'm glad I did it because in 10 years and the pain is gone away a little bit, I would have wished I had skated here and that's one of the reasons why I did it and I know that's what my mom would have wanted me to do."

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