Sunday, October 5, 2008

Preaubert surprises Joubert at French Masters

No one would have ever thought it could happen. Brian Joubert was leading the pack at the French Masters after a nearly flawless short program. He had not been defeated in competition in France in the last four years. Yet the most improbable comeback happened Saturday night in Orléans, when Alban Préaubert won the free program and the overall competition.

Joubert fell on his opening quad then put a hand down on his triple Axel and had a hard time landing even his triple jumps properly. He confirmed afterwards that his blade sharpening problem had really penalized him, at least in his mind, if not on the ice. Joubert even admitted that he had considered not coming to Orléans at all when he felt he had a problem with his blades.

Meanwhile, Préaubert presented a very strong long program that included a beautiful quad. However, ecstatic about his first national victory at this level, Préaubert was quick to recognize that this was just one competition and that Joubert remained the "boss" anyway.

Last season, Préaubert had to withdraw from worlds after a bad back injury. He spent his summer resting and recovering, before creating his new programs.

"As you may remember," he said, "I had to withdraw from worlds. Then I stopped skating completely for one full month. After a month, I could start skating again, although without any jumping. I went to Lyon to train with Muriel Boucher-Zazoui and Romain Haguenauer [coaches of 2008 ice dancing world gold medalists Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder]. They helped me build my short and long programs for this season."

Full article.

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