February 16, 2006
Canadian ice dancers ready this time around
KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

TURIN -- Canadian ice dancers Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon admitted the 2002 Olympics were overwhelming.

Trying to avoid the hype this time, the couple waited till Tuesday to arrive at the athletes village. In their first practice yesterday, they didn't look composed.

Skating their original dance, the couple lacked energy and, early on, Lauzon lost an edge and fell.

They made light of it afterward. "I did it in the first practice, I don't have to do it again," Lauzon said.

Ice dancing begins at Palavela tomorrow night, with compulsories to the Ravensburg Waltz.

Dubreuil and Lauzon, who moved to Lyon, France, from Longueuil, Que., four years ago to train with Muriel Boucher-Zazoui, are on the bubble for a medal.

They've won two gold medals in international competition this season, including at Skate Canada International.

They said to win a medal they need to be better focused than they were in 2002, when they finished 12th.

They came to Turin for the opening ceremony, then returned to Lyon.

"We went away from the village, from all of the distractions," Dubreuil said. "In Salt Lake, that's what happened. We got distracted. There are other sports, other athletes; a lot of people moving around."

As in all of the other skating disciplines, the Russians are favoured for gold.

Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov come in as two-time world champions. They have the best score in the world with a total of 227.81.

Dubreuil and Lauzon have a personal best of 203.69, which is seventh.

Canada's other dancers, Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe of Vancouver, who had a scheduled day off yesterday, have scored as high as 180.42. That ranks them 12th.

Dubreuil and Lauzon, who have trained together for more than a decade, said they're ready to have the spotlight on them after the retirement of world champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz a couple of years ago.

"We were getting ready while they were ahead. We were getting ready to step up," Dubreuil said. "We had stuff to do while they were there (on top)."

Dubreuil promised they can handle the pressure. "When the competition starts, we'll be ready to aim at the podium."