London holds special meaning for skaters

STEVE GREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

If Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison successfully defend their pairs title at the Canadian figure skating championships today, they might have London to thank in part for getting them back on their feet.

It was at the John Labatt Centre three years ago that the two returned to the ice only eight days after a horrific accident at the Four Continents meet in Colorado, where Dube was cut by Davison's skate during a side-by-side spin.

She had 86 stitches in three layers placed cross her face during surgery and was told to stay off skates by doctors. But they were back on blades for the London Skating Club's 125th anniversary celebrations, doing the very same spin.

"That moment I like to call our ditch, the lowest possible moment in our career, when one of you has an injury that can be devastating, life-changing, really," Davison, of Huntsville, said after he and Dube, of St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, Que., placed second in the short program yesterday at the JLC with 62.87 points. "To come back from that, that was the moment I decided that this was what I still wanted to do for a career. If I didn't, that would have been the straw that broke the camel's back."

Forced by a psychologist to watch the YouTube footage of the accident over and over again to become desensitized to it was one thing. Getting out on the ice again was another. Hence the decision to skate in London.

"We weren't supposed to," Davison said, "but we ignored that as most skaters do."

"We talked about doing (the spin) again and we felt we had to get back on the horse," Dube said. "That's why we decided to do it right away."

"Once we did it in practice, it was an emotional moment," Davison said. "There was a very strange energy in the building. The other skaters knew what we'd been going through and if I've ever felt a rush of energy, that was it.

"Then doing it for the crowd was something else. There were a lot of teary eyes and it was almost like a big sigh of relief. But it's really put things in perspective. When we don't have a good skate in competition, I always think it could have been a lot worse, because it has."

Both said the ordeal has made them mentally stronger. They'll need that as they're in a tight race for the two Olympic spots. And injuries seem to be a common thread among the leaders heading into today's free skate.

Annabelle Langlois of Hull, Que., and Cody Hay of Edmonton, the 2008 champions who didn't compete last year because of a leg injury to Langlois, lead with 65.47 points after a performance that brought the first standing ovation of the program. Meaghan Duhamel of St-Leonard, Que., and Craig Buntin of Kelowna, B.C., are third at 62.38, with Duhamel battling a nerve problem in her landing leg.

"We're very happy with the program," Hay said.

Kaleigh Hole of Virden, Man., and Adam Johnson of Chatham are 10th with 46.00 points.


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