February 20, 2006
Fall dents Canadian pair's hopes
KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

TURIN -- Canadian ice dancer Marie-France Dubreuil lost her grip on her partner's arm while in a rotational lift and crashed to the ice last night during the original dance.

The fall came near the end of her routine with Patrice Lauzon. Dubreuil, who landed on her hip, was able to skate off the Palavela ice. But she was carried to a seat by Lauzon to receive their marks.

"Maybe there was too much force on the rotation. It's something that's never happened so far for a dance lift," Lauzon said.

He had one arm around Dubreuil's left leg and they were spinning when she slipped. Dubreuil had her back, pelvis and hip X-rayed, but there were no fractures.

Dancing to Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don't Leave Me), Dubreuil and Lauzon were skating cleanly, with strong emotion, before the fall. They are now in sixth, with 91.80 points, down from fourth after the compulsory dance Saturday.

Astonishingly, Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali of Italy, skating right after the Canadians, also fell. So did teammates Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizo Margaglio, who skated two programs later. Fusar Poli and Margaglio led after the compulsory dance, but are now seventh. Faiella and Scali are in 15th.

Lithuanians Margarita Drobizako and Povilas Vanagas, skating in their fifth Olympics, and Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France also had tumbles in their programs.

"Competition at the Olympics Games is much more pressure. That's why I think some couples did mistakes," said Russian Roman Kostomarov, who is in first place with partner Tatiana Navka with 99.27 points.

American Benjamin Agosto, in second with Canadian-born partner Tanith Belbin, with 97.89 points, said the Palavela is electric and some dancers are getting too revved up.

"It's a very exciting event. It's hard to keep from being over-exicted," said Agosto.

Elena Grushina and Rusian Goncharov of the Ukraine are third with 96.68 points.

With a fluent program and a impressive rotational lift, the other Canadians, Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe, said they performed their best original dance. Judges, however, gave them 49.17 for the original; their personal best, set at last month's nationals, is 52.22.

"When you do have Canadian judges (at nationals), those are the ones that give us feedback all year long and throughout our career," Wing said. "So of course we're going to please them. It's different when it's internationals."

Wing and Lowe have been training together for almost 20 years and this is their first Olympics. They're 12th with 80.59 points.

Former Canadian world champion and Chatham native Shae-Lynn Bourne is here as a coach. Her students, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov of the U.S., are in 14th.

The free skate goes tonight.