Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder won a surprise (yet deserved) gold medal in ice dance last March. Now, they are preparing for their first international competition of the season -- Skate America. "We are in a great shape," Delobel said. "We are heading to the United States with a big heart, and we are eager to display our new programs. We are so happy to have made the decision to stay eligible and to be able to make this trip." Delobel and Schoenfelder decided to keep competing after their world gold medal. Their decision was not a simple one. "Our world title was an intense personal satisfaction for us," Delobel explained. "We have believed in something, we have fought for it and we have made it happened. This is absolutely irreplaceable in one's life. Then the question was whether to keep skating competitively or not. We love what we do, we still feel fit and healthy for it, so we decided to keep going." Yet, once their decision was made, the duo needed to be up to the task -- many wondered whether they could renew themselves enough to still be competitive on the world scene. At first glance, their new programs would tend to answer an enthusiastic "yes" to this question. They devised their new programs with their former teammates Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, of Canada, who had just retired from competitive skating (and subsequently got married during the summer). "They have brought us some of their style," Schoenfelder said. "And the way they create a program, which is much more open in Northern America." "They trained together in Lyon for several seasons with Isabelle and Olivier," Muriel Boucher Zazoui, their coach, explained. "The two couples had tremendous respect for one another. So, I thought Marie-France and Patrice could bring their own way of performing to Isabelle and Olivier, which they did. You know, at their age, with their experience, the decision they made to keep competing is one of a man and a woman at the peak of their art; who really deserve to be looked at as great professionals of their sport."