LOS ANGELES -- Once upon a time, there was a little girl in Ile Dupas, Que., who put on her first pair of white figure skates and dared dream the little-girl dream that hardly ever comes true for a Canadian.
"It's one thing to dream it, but you really have to believe it," said Joannie Rochette, who last night joined Patrick Chan as a silver-medal winner at the World Figure Skating Championships.
"I believed in me. Some people doubted it. But I believed it.
"But now, I've done it. I don't believe it."
In the last 36 years, there have only been two other Canadian women to win a medal at the Worlds -- Liz Manley winning silver in 1988, and Karen Magnussen getting gold in 1973.
Rochette was two years old when Manley won her silver at the Calgary Olympics that year and repeated the feat at the Worlds in Budapest, Hungary.
"I'm just so happy," Rochette said. "For myself, I'm just so happy to do it. I'm so proud of myself."
Fifth at the Torino 2006 Olympics, Rochette finished 17th, eighth, 11th, seventh, 10th and sixth in her first six World Figure Skating Championships. Second spot is a long way up the ladder.
"Five years ago, no one thought that I'd have this day. Maybe even three years ago."
Coach Manon Perron believed even more than her skater did. At some points, she was the only one who believed.
"I never stopped believing. I knew this day would happen. You believe it, but when it happens, it's something special," Perron said. "I have no way to express what happened tonight. What she won here, she deserved. She was calm and confident all day. She wanted that podium."
With Kim, who had finished third at the previous two world championships, setting a world record score in the short program Friday and having a massive lead on both Rochette and 2007 world champion Asada, the gold was essentially hers before the skaters came to the rink.
Asada skated first and fell on her triple-Axel, landed five triple-jumps and scored 188.09.
Rochette, skating next in the group, doubled a planned triple-flip and stepped out of a triple-Lutz but recovered nicely from both and scored 192.29.
"On a night I didn't feel my best, I was able to deliver. I did six triples," Rochette said.
"I hope this inspires young Canadian girls."