Friday Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder, who won the world title in 2008, officially announced that they would have to let their teammates go to the 2009 worlds without them after learning Delobel's recovery will require more time.
"We had given ourselves a deadline for participating in the world championships in Los Angeles," Delobel stated. "If I could have resumed training by March 1, it would have left three weeks for training. Given my physical condition, which is excellent, it would have been enough.
"The amplitude of my shoulder is not at its peak yet."
Delobel's rehabilitation process has been a long one, since she started it six weeks ago.
"At the beginning," she explained, "I could not cut my steaks or lettuce with my right arm. Now, I can."
She can actually lift her arm up to the horizontal position, but not beyond yet.
"And, I can not pull it backward either," she explained with a grin. "You know, I have two metal screws in the front of my shoulder, and four smaller ones in the rear, as well as eight Kevlar knots in there, all of which I am going to keep all my life."
The plan for Delobel now is to go back to her rehabilitation center in Cap Breton, by the Atlantic Ocean. "They plan to keep me there until the end of March," she said. "The doctors are very optimistic, however. I should recover my shoulder 100%, and even more!" she added in laughter.
"There, it is really hard work, you know, just like a real training. Some days I make 30 degree amplitude moves, some other days I make only 10 degrees. It is just like on the ice, when you try to acquire a technical move."
The duo will have to skip the rest of the season. "It will allow us to start our Olympic season earlier," Schoenfelder said.
"Actually, announcing our decision is really a relief," Delobel added.
"We have several new ideas," Schoenfelder said. "And we are very motivated. We have absolutely no doubt that we can go further, since we have dominated the first half of this season [the duo won every competition they participated in this season, prior to Delobel's injury]. We certainly are eager to go for the Olympic gold in Vancouver. And guess what, we will skate the Olympic free dance on my saint day!"