Grande Prairie skater sees partner do the Turin tumble

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:45 PM ET

OTTAWA -- You don't find many figure skaters in the Olympic village named Cody.

And it wasn't his fault that there won't be one in Turin.

It could have been one of the best stories to come out of the wild West since the son of an outfitter came out of Caroline, and the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, to make his international debut.

That kid, Kurt Browning, became a legend. This one, Cody Hay of Grande Prairie in Alberta's Peace River country, did his part to write what would have been one of the best Oly trials stories in years.

It started with a love story gone sour.

Last year Patrice Archetto quit as partner with Anabelle Langlois because of a broken heart. He fell in love with her while skating out of Edmonton's Royal Glenora Club and finished fifth in one year at Worlds. Archetto couldn't face skating with a partner and dealing with unrequited love.

Thus the need for a new partner. Enter Hay.

Half a year later they were second at Canadians after the short program and an Olympic berth was within their grasp.

And what happens?

"He skated like a pro. I'm the one who made the mistakes. I'm the seasoned competitor and I made the mistakes,'' said Langlois.

On a night when Valerie Marcoux and Craig Button, the defending champs, made a mess of the long program and still won, Langlois fell on a side-by-side triple toe loop, stepped out of her side-by-side double Axel on the front end of a combination and had to put her hands down to save herself on a throw.

They fell to fourth and handed the second Canadian Olympic berth to Quebec pair Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison.

"I'm extremely angry at myself,'' said Langlois. "The hardest part is we were sitting in second.''

Hay handled it like Rod or Denny Hay from up that way, after a bad day in saddle bronc at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

"The Olympics add a lot of pressure. That has a lot to do with it,'' said Cody. "You can't help but think of the Olympics a little bit. I was definitely nervous at practice in the morning. I'm not going to tell you I'm not disappointed and that it's not a letdown.

"But I was in fifth place in junior pairs at Canadians a year ago, I skated well and we started this together, aiming for the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.''

After what we watched here yesterday, if Canada is going to defend the gold medal won by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier at the Salt Lake Olympics, it's going to have to be our judge to put the fix in.

Button two-footed a side-by-side triple and didn't do the second half of a combination, touching down on a side-by-side triple Axel . Marcoux touched down on a throw triple Salchow. The judges somehow didn't notice all that, and sent them to Turin as Canadian champions again, regardless. Like what has changed here?

"Did we deserve it? I'd have to go back and look at it from element to element,'' said Button. "Certainly we have mixed emotions. I couldn't find my knees. Maybe it's a good thing. If we peaked here, we might not be peaking at Olympics and worlds.''

The worlds are in Calgary in March.

Cody would have been big in Calgary.


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