Day 12: Resilient Rochette hits ice

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — It’s a tale of two Canadian women at the 2010 Winter Olympics on Tuesday.

Joannie Rochette begins the quest for a women’s figure skating medal in what could become one of the defining moments of the Vancouver Games.

Canadian chef de mission Nathalie Lambert expects an outpouring of support from the Pacific Coliseum crowd during the women’s short program that will “express the love of the whole country.”

Rochette, 24, woke up Sunday morning to the news of her mother Therese’s death, but decided to remain at the Games.

“She is smiling, she is fighting, she just wants to go through this week and enjoy the Games,” Lambert said.

Ski-crosser Ashleigh McIvor, 26, hopes to be the first women’s gold medallist in the newest Olympic sport. The Pemberton, B.C. resident won the world championship last year in Inawashiro, Japan and is ranked No. 2 on the world cup circuit.

“Standing on the podium last year at Cypress (for the world cup test event), it hit me that I have a shot at an Olympic medal,” McIvor said. “I’ve kept putting pressure on myself by winning all season.”

For those who missed the sport’s debut on Sunday, McIvor describes it as “motocross on skis, four people racing head-to-head downhill, jumps, bank turns, lots of action, a fair amount of carnage, so it’s very exciting to watch.”

North Vancouver’s Robbie Dixon is 40th in the world in men’s giant slalom, a technical event in which Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah is favoured at Whistler Creekside.

Women’s doubles bobsledding begins with Calgary’s Kaillie Humphries and Summerside, P.E.I. native Heather Moyse in one maple leaf sled and Pickering, Ont. native Shelley Ann Brown and Helen Upperton of Calgary in another.

Canadian curling skip Cheryl Bernard faces Great Britain in the morning and Russia at night. Kevin Martin of Edmonton meets China in the afternoon.

Canada’s disappointing 1-1-1 men’s hockey team meets underdog Germany in a quarterfinal qualifier. A win and Canada meets Russia on Wednesday. A loss? Simply unthinkable for Canadian hockey fans.

“I hate to say it but I think we just need to play more games,” said goaltender Martin Brodeur. “There’s things we need to work on, and hopefully that extra game will give us just that.”

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

POLL