Kraatz ends skating partnership with Bourne

After winning their first world championship last March and turning pro, ice dancers Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz are going their separate ways.

The 10-time Canadian champions will keep touring commitments until mid-December, then stop skating as a pair.

Bourne, from Chatham, Ont., and Kraatz, of Vancouver, will perform for the last time in Owen Sound, Ont., on December 21.

"It's been a great partnership," said Kraatz, 32. "I have no regrets."

Although the split was amicable, it was Kraatz's decision to dissolve the partnership.

"I have always wanted to maintain a degree of excellence," Kraatz said. "But the way things are going, with us working less together, the quality and intensity of our skating will diminish.

"I've always given 100 per cent to the sport. And I always said that the moment I believe that will no longer be the case, then it's time to move on."

"I cannot change how he feels," Bourne conceded. "I was upset.

"But he's made his decision and I have to move on, basically."

Bourne, 27, will look for other opportunities on the Stars on Ice tour.

"Before, I thought as a team," she said. "Now I have to think more as an individual."

Kraatz approached Bourne with his decision two weeks ago, claiming he did not want to continue in pro skating and was looking into other career opportunities.

"It was not happy news," Bourne admitted. "For me, it came as a surprise.

"Two weeks ago it was a real shock. But I've had some time to get used to it.

"It just seems like now was our chance to enjoy it, perform without the pressure and really become creative."

The pair's agent from IMG and several friends tried to convince Kraatz to take more time to reconsider, but he refused to change his mind.

"You don't want to overstay your welcome," Kraatz explained. "We created an image for over 12 years and created interesting programs that the public likes.

"But, really, the time has come to experiment with other things and follow up on other dreams that I have. There are a number of things on my plate that I've been looking into."

As for Bourne, she plans to keep figure skating.

"What I want to say to Canadian fans is that I am not really ready to let go of skating," she said. "I want to keep the doors open, whether it's for touring or skating as a single or whatever.

"It's kind of like a marriage and now a divorce. It's like I want to get married again."

"I wish Victor all happiness," she continued. "I told him I respect him so much for being honest with me.

"But I don't like it."

Nor do those within the Canadian figure skating community.

"It's unfortunate that it has come to this," Jennifer Robinson said. "They captured a magic.

"But you have to wish each of them well."

"They had so many magical skates," Emanuel Sandhu echoed. "As teammates, they were always really nice.

"I have fond memories of them both."

with files from CP Online