Canadian Joannie Rochette skated a technically strong and incredibly moving short program Tuesday night, just days after the death of her mother. Her program scored her a 71.36, her personal best and a score that has her in third place going into Thursday's long program.
The crowd began a rousing cheer for her before Rochette's name was even called. She skated well, landing a triple Lutz/double toe loop combination, a triple flip, and a double axel. Her spins and spirals were also spot-on. Rochette didn't lose any value in her grade of execution, showing a technically strong program.
As she ended her routine, the crowd at the Pacific Coliseum came to its feet, and Rochette broke down in tears. She stayed on the ice as long as she could, crying while also acknowledging the support of the 11,700 in the arena. In the "kiss and cry" area, she hugged her coach while hearing her best-ever score.
It's hard to imagine the strength that it took for Rochette to get on the ice and perform that well during such a tough time in her life. Perhaps she found solace on the ice, or in the fact that the thousands in the arena and the millions watching on television were supporting her through her every jump, spin, and twist.
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