Banking on a triple-triple

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

GOTEBORG, Sweden -- Joannie Rochette lost a hundred bucks here yesterday.

And maybe a medal.

The $100 brings her back to even for the season.

Every time Rochette does a triple-triple combination, even if she fails, her coach Manon Perron gives her $100.

Every time she does a double instead of a triple on the back end of the combo, Rochette has to fork over a C-note. Yesterday she paid.

Some might say she paid big time.

If Rochette had won the bet, she might be in position to win Canada's first medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in 20 years tonight. Instead she sits sixth. You can get there from there. But you wouldn't bet $100 on it.

MAKING A POINT

The difference between a triple-triple and a triple-double in the highly complicated new scoring system used in the sport is supposedly 2.7 points, although some suggest it can be stretched to as much as five points.

Rochette collected 59.53 points for her short program, in which she landed the triple flip front end but pulled the parachute on the triple toe loop back end to double out of the jump. She also stepped out of her Triple Lutz.

Carolina Kostner of Italy (64.28), Mao Asada of Japan (64.10), Yukari Nakano of Japan (61.10), Kiri Korpi of Finland (60.58), Yu-Na Kim (Korea) 59.85) all go into tonight's free skate final in front of her, the majority of them having landed triple-triples yesterday.

Like the quad in men's singles, the triple-triple has become the nuclear warhead in women's skating and Rocket Rochette needs it tonight before the capacity crowd which will await for the free skate final at the Scandinavium Arena.

On the other hand, she's still on the up elevator. The previous two world champions really blew up on the launching pad here yesterday, placing eighth and ninth.

Kimmie Meissner of the U.S., who won Worlds two years ago in Calgary, also did a triple-double and had lower levels for other elements, which puts her ninth. Last year's champ, Mikindo of Japan, did a triple Lutz, double loop and placed eighth.

"I've won $100 three times and paid $100 three times," Rochette said of the wagering so far this year.

"My coach made me the bet before the season started to just try to get me to try it. She knows how much I love to go shopping. She made me the bet for motivation."

Rochette, who is the only Canadian ever to win the national title in novice, junior and senior, admits the bet is more about motivating her to win a medal.

"If I'm to get back to the top five and get to the podium, I know I need my triple-triple," said the 22-year-old from Ile Dupas, Que., who won her fourth straight Canadian title this year. She has proceeded to finish eighth 11th, seventh and 10th, in order, skating as Canadian champion at the past four Worlds. She peaked with a fifth-place performance at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

"In warmup, I just didn't feel it," she said of being able to pull off the triple-triple. "It was not that good in warmup and the flip was not that solid, either. In the competition after I landed the triple flip, I felt for sure it was going to be a miss," she said of the second jump.

The difference between her and some of the other girls here, says Rochette, is age.

"It's easier to do when you're young and then your body changes and you lose it and it's really tough to get back. I'm already a woman."

When she does get it, she says, she's not going to be like some of these kids and lose it.

STARVING FOR SUCCESS

Canada has had no lack of men's skating world champions, including four-time champion Kurt Browning, but the ultimate to most skating fans is to have an Ice Queen at the top of the podium.

It's been 20 years since Canada has even had a woman on the podium - Liz Manley at both the Olympics and Worlds. It's been 35 years since we've had a world champion in Karen Magnussen.

And it's been 60 years since we've had an Olympic champion in Barbara Ann Scott.

You want to bet 100 bucks we might have one at Vancouver 2010? If you are, you're betting on Rochette getting that triple-triple down.


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