Cheered on by champs

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

The mentors want to share an important moment with their training partners and friends.

When Hull\'s Anabelle Langlois and partner Patrice Archetto take the ice for their pairs free program tonight at the world figure skating championships, they will have two special -- and eminently recognizable -- cheerleaders in the stands.

Former world champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier say they\'ll be at Washington\'s MCI Center to watch Langlois and Archetto -- their training partners at Edmonton\'s Royal Glenora Skating Club -- who finished an impressive sixth in Monday\'s pairs short program.

\"They\'re really excited,\" said Sale yesterday from Jacksonville, Fla., the latest stop for her and Pelletier on the gruelling U.S. Stars On Ice tour. \"We\'ve got three days off from the tour, so we\'re going to watch them in Washington.\"

Langlois and Archetto finished 10th at their first worlds a year ago in Japan but are wellpositioned to possibly make a quantum leap into the world\'s top five.

\"I\'m not really surprised -- they do have the potential to be in the top five in the world,\" said Pelletier. \"They\'re in a good spot. As long as they improve their placement from last year, that\'s good. If they can be in the top five this year, it would be amazing.\"

Langlois and Archetto left their Montreal home base last spring to head west to work with Sale, Pelletier and their coach, Jan Ullmark. The move has paid off with strong international results through the year, including a berth in the Grand Prix final.

\"Jan has all the experience in the world, and he handled us so well,\" Sale said. \"There\'s a lot of pressure on them and the other Canadian (pairs) this year. We\'re gone, and they have to fill our shoes. We know what that\'s like because we had to do the same thing ourselves.

\"But (Langlois and Archetto) are great people. They love what they do, and they\'re passionate about what they do.\"

DISAPPOINTING FINISH

Perhaps the biggest hurdle they had to overcome this year was getting past a disappointing finish at the Canadian championships in Saskatoon. Langlois and Archetto led after the short program but fell apart in the free and tumbled to second place behind Jacinthe Lariviere and Lenny Faustino.

That\'s when the 2002 Olympic gold medallists stepped in and offered some sage advice.

\"They kind of dwelled on it after nationals -- they were pretty embarrassed and disappointed,\" said Sale. \"We just said to them, you have to let it go. It\'s nationals, and I know it\'s important, but it\'s not the most important one.

\"It\'s great to have that (national) title, but the big goals are Olympics and worlds. It\'s a hard thing to not skate well at nationals. It\'s embarrassing. I know I felt that way when we didn\'t skate well at nationals (in Hamilton) last year -- I was humiliated. But it didn\'t take us long to get past that.\"

So far in Washington, at least, Langlois and Archetto are showing they\'ve learned a thing or two about resiliency as well.

Then again, they\'ve been taking lessons from the best.


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