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Brilliant, Brave, Bronze Medal

posted on Friday, 26th February 2010 | find under 

ON WEDNESDAY I had the absolute pleasure of watching Canadian figure skater, Joannie Rochette, skate her short programme (pictured here as she finished).

I'm a bit of a figure skating junkie. I just find it phenominal, that a sport which requires such grace, also requires immense power.

If you aren't a follower, individual figure skating medals are decided on a combination of scores from both a short programme with required elements and a long programme (usually the more flashy one), which is usually skated a few days later.

After her short programme, Joannie was lying in third place. Although she was behind the favourite, Kim Yu-na of South Korea (who incidentally went on to skate herself into a world record score and gold medal last night), Joannie's performance earned her the only standing ovation of the night, a cheer that could have been heard in Hawaii and I'm quite sure I detected a little tear from the mighty Sue Barker ... why?

Yes, she was on home turf. Yes, Joannie represented thet exquisite blend of power, grace, style and skill that is mesmerising figure skating. But what is incredible, is that her mother and mentor died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack, shortly after her arrival at the games on Sunday.  Just two days before 24-year-old Joannie was scheduled to skate.

Imagine ... Joannie Rochette did not quit.  At the pinnacle of her career, her life's work and ambition, Joannie chose to skate on. Two days after the shocking death of her mommy, she went out onto the biggest stage in the world and gave the performance of her life, in a sport which literally balances on a blade edge. 

She wasn't skating for a medal but she truly skated out of her skin, giving the performance of the night because, to my mind, she had let go of the outcome and just wanted to be her best.

I am pleased to say as I write this morning that she did get that bronze last night ... anything is possible xx



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