Road To The Olympic Games

Figure Skating

Rochette takes bronze at Cup of China

Shrugging off a disappointing opening skate at the Cup of China event in Beijing, Canadian Joannie Rochette powered through her free skate on Saturday to capture a bronze medal.

Shrugging off a disappointing opening skate at the Cup of China event in Beijing, Canadian Joannie Rochette powered through her free skate on Saturday to capture a bronze medal.

Akiko Suzuki of Japan was golden with a score of 176.66 and was followed by Finland's Kiira Korpi, who finished with 163.27.

Rochette, a five-time Canadian champion, used a second-place finish in the free skate to jump to a score of 163.18 and third overall.

The 23-year-old from Île Dupas, Que. opened with a short program that left her seventh after the first day of competition.

It wasn't exactly the ideal beginning to her season, Rochette said, but it wasn't all bad.

"Today everything was better," Rochette said in a conference call.  "I was able to control my breathing and hear the music. I think I showed some character coming back from a disappointing short program but at the same time the alarm bells went off that I need to train even harder.  

"I was skating in the first warm-up so that was a bit harder. To skate that early in the program and still get onto the podium I'm happy of that. But of course I'm not completely satisfied with my program — it's a good lesson right before the Olympics."

Reports from the Chinese news service indicated that Rochette wasn't at full health during her short program, which saw her double her triple Lutz and single her Axel — but it wasn't the case. She said it might have been a bad interpretation that she was a little tired from jet lag, something she says all competitors faced.

"I'm not injured, I'm healthy [and] jet lag is same for everyone —  I can do a double Axel if I haven't slept for days but it's not an excuse," Rochette said. "The last few weeks I haven't been taking enough time to rest and train properly and it's something I'm going to do when I get back home."

Canada's other entry, Diane Szmiett of Watford, Ont., also finished strong — her free skate was judged to be fourth best and she placed eighth overall with a score of 144.28.

"That was the best free skate I've seen from Diane at the international level," said Michael Slipchuk, Skate Canada's director of high performance. "That was a big step for her and really builds on her season."

The event was the third ISU Grand Prix event of the season, following the Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris and the Cup of Russia in Moscow.

With files from Louis Daignault, Canadian Sport News

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