Lacoste can bolster Canadian Olympic hopes at worlds | Figure Skating | CBC Sports

Figure SkatingLacoste can bolster Canadian Olympic hopes at worlds

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | 11:29 AM

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Amelie Lacoste's performance at the world championships could impact how many Canadians are allowed to compete at the 2014 Olympics. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press) Amelie Lacoste's performance at the world championships could impact how many Canadians are allowed to compete at the 2014 Olympics. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

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For Canadian skaters, there's a lot riding on the results at the World Figure Skating Championships in Nice, France. Patrick Chan is defending his men's title, while dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are trying to re-claim theirs after finishing second in 2011 to Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

But I think in some ways the most challenging competition will be for Canadian champion Amelie Lacoste, who's the country's lone representative in the ladies' event. In order for Canada to be able to send two women next year, Lacoste has to finish in the top 10.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the preparation that the athletes are currently undergoing to get ready for next week's World Figure Skating Championships in Nice, France.

For Canadian skaters in particular, there's a lot riding on the results this year. Patrick Chan is defending his men's title, while dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are trying to re-claim theirs after finishing second in 2011 to Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

But I think in some ways the most challenging competition will be for Canadian champion Amelie Lacoste, who's the country's lone representative in the ladies' event. In order for Canada to be able to send two women next year, Lacoste has to finish in the top 10.

Earning as many entries as possible in next year's worlds has taken on increased performance this year. That's because in 2013, when the worlds return to Canada in London, Ont., countries will be vying for the number of spots they will qualify for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Is Lacoste up to the challenge? It seems so by the enthusiastic post the Delson, Que., native made recently on her Facebook wall. Translated from French, it reads: "10 days before the great start! Wow! I am so excited! :)"

There's been a lot of talk about the lack of depth in women's skating in Canada, but I don't find it entirely fair.  After all, the last time that Canada qualified only one woman to compete at worlds was in 2002. Jennifer Robinson had to bear the burden of her poor 15th-place finish from the year before, along with the equally disastrous 21st-place showing posted by teammate Annie Bellemare. The result was only one woman competing for Canada in 2002 at both the world championships and the Olympics.

In this generation of Canadian women's skaters, Joannie Rochette has been the "world beater." It's true that her absence has left a hole in the ranks. But it's also true that her performances varied wildly at world championships, where she finished as high as second place and as low as 17th. In other words, every competition offers a unique opportunity to either succeed or fail.



Lacoste rose to the challenge of securing her spot at this year's worlds by claiming her first national title and then taking the highest Canadian ladies' placement at the Four Continents Championships. Rising to the challenge is what Lacoste now needs to do in Nice.

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