From gory to bronze glory

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

GOTEBORG, Sweden -- In a sport where no guts, no glory is often the story, Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison became one of the gutsiest glory stories of all time here last night.

On a night when all three Canadian pairs showed an abundance of intestinal fortitude, Dube and Davison manufactured the first medal in the pairs event for Canada since Jamie Sale and David Pelletier won world and Olympic gold.

Thirteen months ago, the two were involved in one of the most horrifying and bloody accidents in the history of the sport - his skate slicing her face open for 83 stitches on side-by-side camel spins at the Four Continents in Colorado Springs.

Last night they won bronze medals for Canada at the World Figure Skating Championships.

How many times did they watch the gory scene over and over and over again on YouTube? And how many times will they watch what they just did in the pairs free skate final?

The gathering at the podium press conference gasped at Davison's answer to the question your correspondent tossed out for openers.

"I don't know if I can ever count the number of times," said Davison. "Over 200 times, I'd say. It did the job.

"I'm sure I'll watch tonight's program a couple of times, but when I do that it will be to look at what we can improve upon."

Two hundred times he watched the gory? And only a couple times he'll watch the glory?

"Our sports psychologist wanted us to desensitize ourselves to it - to be able to watch it without feeling a thing. It took a while because even a person who never knew us watching the video would feel something," explained Davison.

Dube struggled to explain it, requiring her partner to pronounce "desensitizing" again for her.

What he said, she said. But it was different for her.

"I was watching it to see what happened. I watched it to make sure it didn't happen again. I'm sure I'll go back and watch this performance more than once to see what we did tonight."

What they did was also what the doctor ordered for Canada to put the lean times which followed the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic gold by Sale and Pelletier in the past and launch Canada forward to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

"They're idols to us. It would be realizing a huge dream to follow in their footsteps," said Davison. "To win any Olympic medal, to have a chance to be Olympic champions ...

"This just feels awesome for us. We are so proud that we came through with a medal for Canada.

"It's huge that a Canadian pairs team did this. Three pairs broke through to the top 10 like we said we'd do before we came here."

The order was a little different than most expected. But the guts were there down the lineup as Craig Buntin skated through pain with a busted shoulder (which will require surgery) to finish sixth with Meagan Duhamel skating at her first Worlds. And the Canadian champions ended up eighth with Cody Hay going directly off the ice to spend the next hour vomiting while partner Anabelle Langlois explained that it was he who was solid here despite the 'flu-like after-effect.'

But the bronze medal came as a total surprise from a pair which made a complete mess of it in finishing fifth in the short program at nationals in Vancouver and failing to come here as Canadian champions.

Even after the short program here, where they were placed fourth, it was believed they were too far back from the top three to move up.

"Our coach told us to skate from our hearts and stay cold in our heads," said Davison of doing just that to finish second in the free skate and hold on to third place while Russians Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov dropped to fourth.

The gold medal went to Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany with Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang of China winning silver.

"Wow," said Davison, who watched the Russian marks go up on the TV monitor as they stood with the Canadian media continent in the mixed zone here last night.

"It's a surprise," he added.

"I'm just so happy," said Dube.

"We're still a relatively young team," said the 22-year-old Davison of Cambridge, Ont., and the 20-year-old Dube from St. Cyrille de Wendover, Que.

"This success comes so early. It's great for us. Right now we're a step ahead of where we wanted to be. It's a result of all the work we did this summer and never letting the dream go."

Now their Olympic dreaming begins for real.


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