Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Update: She WINS Medal for MOTHER: Joannie & Therese Rochette

Again, hard work, courage and the support of fans help win the moment! Rochette embraces her engaged and comforting coach

(Be sure also to see the blogpost here above on Pakistan's debut with a one-man team for another example of family and others encouragement along with the star's own courage and hard work)

Recent Saturday Report: In the hours since Canada's Joannie Rochette won the bronze medal in the ladies' figure skating competition at the Vancouver Olympics, the 24-year-old, whose mother died of a heart attack Sunday has been navigating a maze of mixed emotions."I miss my mom," Rochette, who is skating in Saturday's exhibition of Olympic champions, told PEOPLE on Friday. "But I want to enjoy the moment. I'm happy with what I accomplished, but it's tragic she wasn't here to see it. But wherever she is right now, she's smiling at me." Read Morehere

Last Report (From Thursday eve.)Joannie Rochette golden in winning bronze for her mother Therese Rochette

“Right now I think her mother is jumping up and down in the sky,” William Thompson of Skate Canada said. “That was the dream performance.”

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Dressed in black, Joannie Rochette wiped her eyes and took a deep breath before stepping on the ice. Early Sunday, Rochette's mother, Therese, died of a massive heart attack just a few hours after arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter compete.

The writing is especially eloquent and emotional here by Dan Wetzel where you can also find a video and photos: here

Not 48 hours after she lost her mother, Therese, to a heart attack, Joannie Rochette refused to let grief derail their shared dream of skating here. With her father, Normand, overcome with emotion as he watched from the stands, Rochette sailed through a courageous program, cleanly landing all of her jumps and leaving the skating world
More 2010 Olympics Videos Related Olympic Stories
Canadian skater keeping mother's dream alive

Rochette, who few thought would even take the ice, didn’t just compete, she delivered. She didn’t just attempt, she soared. She didn’t just inspire with her determination, she thrilled with her grace, poise and ability.

She isn’t just in the competition. She’s sitting in third place heading into Thursday’s long program with a personal season-best 71.36. In storybook fashion, she trails just Korea’s Kim Yu-Na and Japan’s Mao Asada.

“She is here to try to win a medal, if not win the whole thing,” Michael Slipchuk of Skate Canada said.

Win the whole thing?

Oh, my.

Rochette simply taking the ice was cause for roaring cheers and cheeks stained with tears. This was the resilience of the human heart, a daughter trying to honor the sacrifices of her mother by fulfilling their goal of Olympic competition.

They’re small-town people, from a 500-person hamlet in Quebec. Normand was a hockey coach who put little Joannie on blades young and then worked two and three jobs to finance her dream of being an Olympic champion. Mother and daughter used to load up the car and drive through snowstorms and Canadian prairies, one tournament after the next, stitching costumes from the front seat in a shared journey that delivered six Canadian championships, a fifth-place finish at the Turin Olympics and was supposed to culminate here at their home-nation Games.

Rochette had become a contender in the last 18 months, better than ever, and they wanted gold, wanted to surprise everyone, wanted to make “O Canada” ring through the Vancouver night.

Joannie had arrived two weeks ago to take in the Opening Ceremony and finish her training here. Therese and Normand traveled Saturday, visited with their daughter and then retired to an apartment they had rented downtown. That’s when Normand found his wife unresponsive and rushed her to a hospital where she was pronounced dead at age 55.

He then made a lonely, early Sunday morning trip to the Olympic Village to break the news to his only child. Within hours she reaffirmed a single goal. She was going to skate. She was going to show the world the champion Therese had raised.

And show she did.

With the arena holding its breath, her face cracked with emotion as she took the center of the ice to begin. Then just as quickly it went back to full concentration.

When the first bars of La Cumparsita tango began you couldn’t tell anything was wrong. She was a rock. She was a pro. By the time she landed a triple-Lutz, double-toe-loop combo, the sold-out arena was going wild. They clapped to the music. They cheered every spin, rejoiced in every twirl and took in a simply magical effort.

At the end they roared like a hockey crowd. The often demur elites that watch international figure skating were screaming into the air. The melting pot of nationalities gave up their own rooting interests and applauded like she was their own daughter.

Rochette just stood and wept as the cheers tumbled down onto the ice.

“Hard to handle,” she said of the crowd. “But appreciate the support. I will remember this forever … I have no regrets.”

Her brilliance had been too much to ask. To take the ice was going to be enough. To stay upright throughout would’ve been legendary.

To wind up third? To hit the program better than she had all year? To face down what is immense pressure in the best times and deliver perfection in the worst?

“She put a performance that was so heroic,” said Skate Canada’s Thompson, himself crying at the end for the first time ever at a skating competition. “It’s an incredible story.”

In the locker room Rochette was still in tears, according to Slipchuk, still coming to terms with everything. As brilliant as the skate was, it didn’t change the reality of her life. Her mother isn’t coming back. The mourning process still must come.

“It’s been a long 48 hours for her and a lot built up,” Slipchuk said. “I think it was a release today.”

Rochette will take Wednesday off, stay off the ice and regroup, the officials said. Thursday presents an even bigger challenge, an even longer skate, and even more pressure awaits.

It should be too much, but now how do you not believe? She’s in position for a medal. She’s not conceding gold. Joannie Rochette just taught these Games about courage, just rocked this arena with her strength and just laid bare the power of the human will.

Dan Jansen who lost his sister in similar circumstances reaches out here

And she’s not done. She’s not even close. End of Dan Wetzel's latest article on Rochette...watch for more before and after her performance Thursday Evening

Canada's Joannie Rochette blows kisses heavenward following her performance in the ladies free program Thursday that earned her a bronze medal. Rochette's mother passed away last Sunday.


http://www.ehow.com/members/stevemar2-articles.html said...

What an amazing performance in spite of tragic circumstances. Even if she doesn’t win a medal for her performance, Rochette deserves a gold medal for persevering through an extremely difficult time. Her story makes me want to watch her in figure skating just to see how she does.

Connie L. Nash said...

YOU ARE SO RIGHT!! I can't stop tearing up myself...and so does my husband when I tell him about her. I can't wait to watch her AND the Pakistani lone person team who similarly sounds like such a courageous hard-worker...yet for all their work and courage BOTH Abbas and Therese show us HOW very important encouragement and support mean, historical, ongoing and current in any achiever's life. Or I should say anyone's life....such a reminder to us all to so encourage one another and especially the younger generation in our day!

Thanx so much for your comment...keep checking in and let me know what other sorts of subject matter you'd like to see me do that would be appropriate for this blogsite called oneheartforpeace? I'll try to check out your site soon...