"For sure, you don't want to put too much pressure on yourself, but you'd be lying trying to convince yourself that it's not a big year. A home country Olympics is huge. It's something that is very special and you can't treat it any other way," says two-time Canadian pair champion Bryce Davison.
While the pressure of an Olympic Games in your home country can be intense, there are also some significant advantages. Davison, 23, and partner Jessica Dubé, 21, along with other members of the Canadian national team have had the advantage of attending training camps in Vancouver, B.C., for several years.
"It's become very comfortable for everyone on the team going to that rink," Davison says. "It helps because you know all the little details of what Vancouver is going to be like."
The most recent camp was two weeks ago, where all the invited skaters were asked to perform short program and free skate or original dance and free dance before a panel of judges and technical specialists. Each skater or team received detailed feedback.
"The short program still needs a little bit of work... but people really liked it, so we were really pleased with that," says Dubé. "It's giving us a bit of confidence to go into this season.
"It's really good to have that camp before the competitions so we're sure about the stuff we're doing. It takes a little bit of pressure off of our shoulders."
Dubé and Davison are going with new short and free programs for this season. The short was choreographed by ice dance coach Pasquale Camerlengo. It was the first time the pair worked with him. For the long they returned to longtime choreographer David Wilson.
They found working with Camerlengo quite enjoyable. "He's very innovative," says Davison. "If you didn't like something or if he could see you weren't comfortable with it, he'd find a new way to do it. It came together very quickly. We loved it and we love it still. It's going to be something a little different for us."