Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette will begin her quest for Olympic gold today with a heavy heart. Just hours before Rochette took to the ice on Sunday, her mother died unexpectedly. Rochette's parents had flown in from their home in Montreal earlier in the day to watch her daughter compete this week.
They had been traveling to watch their daughter compete for years, and before that they had been shuffling her to and from ice skating practice from the time Rochette was a little girl. "She was a very supportive mom," said one friend. "Supportive of the figure skating, but very much in the background of Joannie's career. They had a really tight bond." Rochette's mother's heart attack came completely unexpected, making her passing all the more devastating to the Olympian.
It must surely be difficult, then, for her to head back out onto the ice in pursuit of Olympic gold. Yet her competitors and friends on the Canadian team are full of support and encouragement. Benoit Lavoie, president ...1