Friday, January 8, 2010

Joannie Rochette is focused on training

Joannie Rochette is looking forward to next week's BMO Canadian figure skating championships.

She won her first Canadian ladies title in London, Ontario, in 2005, so the city holds special meaning. Her family will be in attendance as she goes for title number six.

Next week is also do or die for Canada's top skaters. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Canadian Olympic figure skating team will be based on placements in the Canadian championships. While skaters like Rochette, Patrick Chan and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, all of who are reigning world medalists, are likely not in danger of being left home, they want to put their best skates forward as a preview of what is to come in Vancouver.

"It's one of the most stressful competitions of the year because I know everyone that's there," said Rochette. "People are looking at you and the young junior skaters are there. It's fun too because you see some skaters coming there for the first time and they're really excited to be part of it. It's fun and of course stressful. Every year is a different story. Every year I have good memories of it."

Expectations for Rochette, 24, have been high this season after she finished second at the 2009 world championships. Although she did medal at both her Grand Prix assignments -- third at Cup of China and first at Skate Canada -- and she qualified for the Grand Prix Final, she finished a somewhat disappointing fifth.

Rochette felt she didn't have enough preparation time at home.

"During an Olympic season there's so much more to do," she said. "So many more media opportunities. Sometimes it's hard just to say no and stay in your rink and train.

"I traveled a lot," she added. "When I got to the Grand Prix season, I felt more fatigue and stress than usual. That wasn't my best season. The Final, my long program was rough for me. So I think I need to start back to zero and start to train it. I think when you start fresh, it doesn't take so long, maybe four weeks, but in a row."

After the Japan Open, she had less than two weeks before Cup of China. Then a relatively short period between Cup of China and Skate Canada. She recently cancelled appearances in Europe to prepare for the Canadian championships.

Full article.

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