Calculated shot at podium for Rochette

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

CALGARY -- Rocket Rochette can subtract.

"I'm not a fool," she said "I know that five minus two equals three."

But does it equal No. 1?

That's where Canadian champion Joannie Rochette sat after her qualifying section at the World Figure Skating Championships here yesterday.

Olympic champion Shizuka Arakawa of Japan isn't here. Neither is Olympic bronze medallist Irina Slutskaya of Russia.

Rochette was fifth at Torino 2006.

That suggests a serious shot at a World bronze for the 20-year-old from Ile Dupas, Que., who was 11th last year in Moscow at her first Worlds.

"I know it's possible, but I'm not focusing on that at all. Jeffrey (Buttle) taught me that at the Olympics. He wanted to skate for himself in the long program. That's what I'm trying to hang on to.

"I don't feel extra pressure. I don't look at the other Canadians. I'm just trying to do my job," she said.

Rochette skated a personal best score of 117.12 for the long program used in the qualifying (with one quarter of the score taken forward to the short program and free skate final.)

"It felt good to finally skate in the big rink," she said of the Saddledome instead of next door at the Corral (where the 1972 Worlds were held).

"In a way, it was almost like practising in the big rink before the event starts to feel the ice. Even if there were a few mistakes, I'm very happy to have my personal best.

"I really wanted to do a second Lutz because I popped it in Turin, so I was happy with that today."

Rochette, who skated before 6,520 fans at this event which has yet to draw more than 6,700 for a performance, says she's already left Torino 2006 in her rearview mirror and is looking forward to Vancouver 2010.

"Once I lived that experience, I really want to live it again," she said of Turin.

"I really want to live it again and especially in Canada. So hopefully my old body will stay in shape until then."

Mira Leung, who some project to be Canada's figure skating star by then, is from Vancouver. The Joanne McLeod-coached skater who finished 12th at the Olympics and will turn 17 Tuesday, is projecting herself for a hometown Olympic experience.

Leung finished fourth in her evening qualifying competition.


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