Dizzying heights

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

HALIFAX -- It was vertigo a go-go.

Marie-France Dubreuil almost decided to be a no-show, but danced the nights away here this week to win a fifth Canadian figure skating championship with dance partner Patrice Lauzon.

"I had big dizziness," she said of coming close to withdrawing before it began.

"I thought it was because of a virus. But something in my inner ear shifted. Every time I turned my head, I had vertigo.

"It was horrible. I was so dizzy that at one point I almost fainted because of the vertigo. I fell and sprained my knee and my ankle.

"Monday night I thought I wasn't going to come, but at the last minute I found a doctor who specializes in inner ear. He did a manipulation to fix it.

"For 48 hours I had to sleep sitting up. I couldn't move my head. The first practices here I couldn't do any head movements, and could barely walk. I had a hard time dealing with it."

But deal with it she did as she and Lauzon put a fourth consecutive title away.

FORCED TO WITHDRAW

The first time Dubreuil & Lauzon won a Canadian title was when Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz were forced to withdraw due to injury back in 2000.

Bourne & Kraatz, who won the first-ever dance world title by a North American duo, were inducted into the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame here yesterday.

Dubreuil & Lauzon spent three years finishing second to Bourne & Kraatz before it was their turn on top. It's their show now.

The Montreal-born skaters who live and train in Leon, France, won a silver medal at last year's Worlds in Calgary and are Canada's best medal bet at this year's championships in Tokyo.

Joining them in Toyko will be London, Ont. teenagers Tessa Virtue, 17, and Scott Moir, 19, who moved up from third last year to second here.

Kaitlyn Weaver, 17, and Andrew Poje, 19, were put together as a team on July 24 and ended up in third.

Poje is from Waterloo, Ont., while Weaver was born in Houston, Texas, and is attempting to win Canadian citizenship in time for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Having two teenage teams on the podium with the champions was encouraging for the future.

New director of high performance Michael Slipchuk said you could pick a performance and see it.

"Use dance," he said.

"Weaver & Poje basically came on the scene in October. Christopher Mabee was a really good story finishing second in the men's. And look at the kids. Kevin Reynolds did two quads here," he said of the 16-year-old from Vancouver.

Canadian champ Jeff Buttle doesn't have a quad. But the kids coming look like they'll all be the complete package, said Slipchuk.

"Joey Russell was our junior champion last year and ended up sixth in the country. Patrick Chan was our junior champion the year before and he was fifth."

FLIGHT OF LADIES

Chan is 16 and Russell 18.

"We have a new young pairs champion," Slipchuk said of Jessica Dube, 19, and Bryce Davison, 20. "And the last flight of ladies was as good as we've seen in 10 years," he added of the event where Mira Leung, 16, looked like she dethroned Joannie Rochette to everybody but the judges.

But, this event drew fewer than 5,000 every performance.

That doesn't bode well for taking this show to the Olympic venue, the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, Jan. 16-20 next year.


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