Hip hop!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

CALGARY -- When their music ended and the crowd shot to their feet, Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon fell to their knees, touched foreheads and kissed.

On a night when Canada was hoping they'd be able to win a bronze to prevent a second home country World Figure Skating Championship shutout, they scored a silver.

But you could tell the colour of the medal really didn't matter.

This wasn't about the medal. It was about the moment.

It was the moment taken away from them at the Torino Olympic Winter Games when Dubreuil had a spectacular fall and suffered a bone bruise on her hip which resulted in their having to withdraw from the Olympics after the original dance. They never had the chance to skate the final.

"It was our time to skate the free dance,'' said Dubreuil.

BOTTLED EMOTIONS

When it was over, the scene was the popping of a cork on four weeks of bottled-up emotion more than a popping of champagne.

"We had all the emotion bottled in since the Olympics,'' she said. "It just came out at that final moment with all that energy and love around us. It gave us the chills. We didn't want to leave the ice. It was a good thing we skated last.

"We wanted to come to Calgary and skate our hearts out and that's what we did.''

Lauzon, an hour later in the podium press conference, was still choked up and let his skating partner and significant other do most of the talking. When he did talk it sounded like he was about to break down and cry.

"She just did so much work to come back. She was really strong,'' he choked.

Before he came unravelled, she took over.

"Four weeks ago I was in a wheelchair,'' she said. "We came here with very little practice. I couldn't start practice until two weeks ago and it was quite painful. The last four weeks were very difficult.''

They were .45 points from a gold in the new scoring system, and that would have made it the perfect story, a rewrite of the one written at the Ottawa Worlds in 1984.

At the Sarajevo Olympics that year, Paul Martini and Barbara Underhill experienced a skating disaster when she fell on a side-by-side jump in pairs, taking him out with her. Three weeks later, at the Worlds in Ottawa, they won gold.

This gold went to Albena Denova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria. Olympic silver medal winners Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the USA won the bronze.

The street value of a silver medal in the often predetermined event of dance at a World Figure Skating Championships when the Olympic gold and bronze medal winners don't show up, is open to debate.

But after being shut out in pairs and men's and with Joannie Rochette dropping from first to fifth after yesterday's short program in women's, there was a chance this could have been another Ottawa Worlds - the first one in 1978.

That was the only hosting of eight Worlds in our nation when Canada didn't win a medal.

Instead, Dubreuil & Lauzon matched what Jeffrey Buttle did last year in Moscow when after a 22-year run of Canada being on the podium at the Worlds, he won silver.

Buttle's silver came with Russia's Evgeni Plushenko out with an injury. So his accomplishment came with an asterisk, too.

But this silver, won in front of 8,062 fans, came with a story. And that makes it a medal Canadians can treasure forever.

It's not just a skating story. It's a love story.

The two hooked up together in 1995 at a cottage party in the Laurentians with other figure skaters. Both were looking for partners and found each other.

"We met through skating. I was skating on the South Shore in Montreal and Patrice was skating on the North Shore,'' she said.

'PERFECT MATCH'

"I went to a test session two years earlier with him and I was two categories higher than him. But I could see he was a good skater.

"Then a friend of mine told me this guy would be the perfect match for me.

"He'd already quit skating to work in his father's business.''

She wouldn't take no for an answer.

"She said 'Come on, come on.' ''

They now live and train together in Lyon, France where they moved fulltime to train under coach Muriel Zazoui. Their Canadian-based coach is Steffany Hanlen of Edmonton.

Now they get to live happily ever after.

All the great stories end like that, don't they?


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