Monday, February 16, 2009

With Olympic rings come wedding rings

One year after Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon started skating together in ice dancing competitions, the inevitable happened. They fell in love.

At first, they fought the unmistakable attraction, but it was a force as irresistible as a heavy duty magnet. The Montreal skaters became a couple, something they initially struggled to hide from their coach and the skating world alike.

Coaches generally don't like love affairs among ice dancing pairs for one simple reason: if the off-ice relationship founders, the on-ice performance tends to follow the same path.

Dubreuil found the initial attraction frustrating.

``It was like pushing away from something that was obviously going to happen, '' she said from Sacramento, Calif., where she and Lauzon were touring with Stars on Ice. ``Even people around us saw that we were made for each other, so one thing led to another and it happened.''

The pair - five-time national champions and two-time world silver medallists - admit there are advantages and disadvantages to being an Olympic couple.

The most obvious advantage is the passion they bring to their performances. They also share a knowledge and belief in a sport, as well as the same schedule.

``We're together 24 hours,'' said Dubreuil.

But that can also create challenges. The couple, who married last August, finds it difficult sometimes to separate their professional from their personal lives.

``If we have a little fight on the ice, it's hard not to bring it home or vice versa,'' she said. ``It happens, just because we do a sport that is so perfectionist in the little details. You have to sometimes work six hours in a row and you get physically and mentally tired.''

It can be difficult, too, to see the one you love suffer in the sport. Lauzon was in that position when Dubreuil suffered a terrible fall in a final lift at the 2006 Turin Olympics. She had to be helped off the ice and they withdrew from the competition.

Full article.

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