Gotta love a happy ending

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It\'s their last chance. It\'s their best chance. And after the compulsory dance, they\'ve got a great chance.

No couple representing Canada has ever won a World Figure Skating Championship gold medal in dance before.

Canadian sister and brother Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, raised in Alymer, Que., quit Canada to represent France and won it in 1991.

But Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, who will call it a career here, won their compulsory dance group yesterday to sit tied with Group A winner Irena Lobacheva and llia Averbukh of Russia heading into Thursday\'s original dance.

ANY COLOUR

A medal of any colour would make it 22 consecutive years a Canadian has appeared on the podium at Worlds.

Fourth in Nagano and fourth again last year at Salt Lake, the two failed to win an Olympic medal. They\'ve won four bronze medals at Worlds, including one on Canadian ice in Edmonton in \'96 and last year won a silver in Japan.

The two Canadians, who were the centre of a major judging controversy at the Nagano Olympics, skated in blissful ignorance of the formation of the World Skating Federation here yesterday.

\"This is news to me, the first time I have heard of it,\'\' said Kraatz.

\"We need more facts before we can form an opinion,\'\' said Bourne.

It\'s too late to help them here. But the two have put themselves in perfect position not to need much help.

\"It was awesome,\'\' said Bourne of the skate.

\"It felt great. We\'ve never felt this great. This is the best feeling we\'ve had skating. We\'re at the top of our game. We can\'t wait for the next two skates,\'\' she said of the original dance and the free-skate final.

\"It was the first time we skated this dance in competition and the last time we will skate a compulsory dance,\'\' she said of missing the international Grand Prix event season due to injury.

\"Maybe it was a blessing we didn\'t skate internationally this year. No one knew what we were going to do.\'\'

The two made their season debut winning their 10th Canadian title in Saskatoon in January before heading to Four Continents in Beijing where they finished first.

WORKED WELL

\"I think it worked well because we dealt with all the emotion of our last time at Canadians and then put ourselves before the international judges at Four Seasons,\'\' said Kraatz.

Here yesterday it was kind of a combination of the two.

\"There were so many supporters for us in the audience it felt like it was a Canadian Nationals,\'\' said Bourne.

\"It\'s a nice feeling. But we can\'t think about it being our last,\'\' said Kraatz.

Bourne says the two are completely comfortable with leaving the sport regardless of the result here.

\"If we leave with whatever medal, no matter, we\'ll be at ease with what happens,\'\' said Bourne.

\"We\'ll probably be sentimental when it\'s all over.

\'\'But it probably won\'t be until it\'s over that it will hit. We might have a few tears.\'\'

Tears of joy would be perfect.


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