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Maggie Hendricks

Fans flock to the Internet to share support for Rochette

Fourth-Place Medal

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The story of Joannie Rochette, the Canadian figure skater who lost her mother days before skating a brilliant short program, has touched the hearts of many figure skating fans. Many have been moved to show support, but instead of sending a letter via snail mail, fans have taken to Facebook, Twitter, and comment sections of news websites to send condolences and good wishes.

On Facebook, many people identified with the sadness of losing a loved one, and said that they admired Rochette's courage to take the ice. One fan wrote:

Your courage has been such an inspiration to me. I lost my best friend a few years ago, and I found comfort with skating. No matter how upset I was, I was able to put it all aside and skate all my emotions out on the ice. I watched your performance and cried the whole time -- I was so proud of you -- of your courage, your will and your tribute to your mother. She would be so proud. I know you still have your free program to skate, but no matter how you place, today I am proud to be Canadian because of you and your strength.

Hundreds of messages like these are on her Facebook page.

Twitter has seen a similar flood of messages of not only support, but awe at Rochette's strength. One message came from a man who has something that Rochette wants: an Olympic gold medal in figure skating.

Joannie Rochette was so inspiring last night. I've never seen an arena filled with more love. We are all skating with you Jo! So proud of U -- Evan Lysacek

The support continued on this very site, where hundreds of readers used the comment sections of Fourth-Place Medal posts to offer solace to Rochette. From Julie H: "What a true profile in courage! Beautifully done, Her mother would have been proud."

Some said Rochette's emotional routine is what they will remember from these Olympics. Reader Thursday said, "A rock solid performance under excruciating circumstances. We'll remember her strength." and Chuck added, "The definition of 'Character' was once again on display at the Olympics in Vancouver ... No one would have blamed Joannie if she had fallen or stumbled on the ice. But, those moment never came. That made the whole experience much more meaningful."

Judging by the response of fans, Rochette's performance did much more than just earn her a third-place finish in the short program. It inspired all who watched it.

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