February 19, 2006
Ice dancers a step away from medal
KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

TURIN -- Canadian ice dancer Marie-France Dubreuil, sitting in fourth along with partner Patrice Lauzon, believes one step away from the podium is the place to be right now, with two segments remaining.

Dubreuil and Lauzon, of Longueuil, Que., are considered a medal threat in their second Olympics but not a heavy favourite. They are less than a quarter-point out of third, which is held by Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria, with 37.65 following the compulsory dance Friday.

"It's the best place to be right now," Dubreuil said yesterday after practising for today's original dance at the Palavela.

"Anyone in the top six can aim for the podium."

Italians Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio, who came out of retirement to compete at home at the Olympics, stand first after the compulsory dance with 38.78 points.

Dubreuil said she's surprised the Italians are in first, but thinks their fans helped.

"I knew being in Italy they'd get support from the crowd and they were also able to skate a lot on the (Palavela) ice."

Russians Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov, the reigning world champions, are close behind with 38.20 points.

The music for today's original dance has to be of the Latin variety.

Dubreuil and Lauzon are performing a salsa-rumba.

"It's very refreshing and nice," Dubreuil said.

The other Canadian couple, Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe, are in 12th spot, the same position that Dubreuil and Lauzon finished in at the 2002 Olympics.

Wing and Lowe, with 31.42 points, have skated together for close to 20 years and joined the national team in 1994. This is their first Olympics.

"Being (here) has been wonderful. It's very rewarding after all of this time," said Lowe, of Windsor.

They will skate first in tonight's competition, to a mambo-rumba-samba mix.

"We love doing the . . . Latin (rhythm). You feel like you're in a night club," Lowe said.

Friday's compulsory was the Ravensburger waltz. Dubreuil said the Olympic competition was the first time she and her partner have performed that waltz this season.

"We were right on the beat and we were still able to carry the speed through . . . the patterns."

The last segment of the ice dancing competition, the free dance, is set for tomorrow.