'Performance of a lifetime': Memorable Canadian figure skating moments at home

With the upcoming world figure skating championships set to descend upon Montreal's Bell Centre, we remember some of Canadian figure skating's most memorable moments on home soil.

Joannie Rochette's 2010 Vancouver short program captivated audiences

Canada's Joannie Rochette competes in ladies' singles free skating during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Rochette struck unforgettable bronze on home soil. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Montreal's Bell Centre is set to serve as the host venue of the 2020 World Figure Skating Championships — arguably the most prestigious stop on the circuit in advance of the Olympics.

It was at the 2013 world championships in London, Ont., where Ottawa's Patrick Chan became the last Canadian to win a gold medal at home in a competition of such significance.

All of the festivities will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca. Competition begins on Wednesday, March 18 at 10:30 a.m. ET, restarting at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday and 11:25 a.m. ET on Friday. On the weekend, actions picks up at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and noon ET on Sunday, March 22.

The event will also be featured on CBC TV's Road to the Olympic Games at 3 p.m. ET from March 18-20, 3:30 p.m. ET on March 21 and noon ET on March 22.

With the likes of skilled twosome Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro in the pairs or Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier in the ice dance among Canada's strongest medal threats at the upcoming Worlds, we revisit some of the nation's greatest figure skating moments on home ice.

Elizabeth Manley, 1988 Calgary Olympic Games

In a time when Canada wasn't as prolific in the world of figure skating as it is today, the 1988 Olympics in Calgary — the first Winter Games hosted on home soil — provided the ultimate platform for Elizabeth Manley.

The 22-year-old from Trenton, Ont., went against all odds by winning the ladies' singles silver medal in a field that included heavy gold-medal favourites Katarina Witt of East Germany and Debi Thomas of the United States.

With all eyes fixed on Witt and Thomas in the rivalry informally dubbed the 'Battle of the Carmens' — as each competitor skated to selections from the opera Carmen — Manley put forth the performance of her lifetime.

WATCH | CBC Sports' Scott Russell, Elizabeth Manley discuss 1988 silver medal:

Greats of '88: Elizabeth Manley

4 years ago
Duration 2:40
The Canadian skated out of the shadows of her competitors, capturing ladies figure skating silver at the 1988 Games in Calgary.

Skating a clean long program with a higher degree of difficulty in comparison to Witt or Thomas, Manley received a standing ovation from attendees. While she ultimately fell just short of Witt's overall score for the gold medal, Manley overtook Thomas for second on the podium.

Despite entering the competition with no sponsorship support due to her longshot status, Manley was later made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Jamie Salé and David Pellettier, 2001 Vancouver world championships

Entering the 2001 World Championships, the ascendant pair of Jamie Salé and David Pelletier from Edmonton faced history. No Canadian pairing had been victorious at worlds in nearly a decade, nor had any won worlds on home soil since 1984.

While regarded as favourites entering the competition, the pair endured early adversity after struggling to cohesively land side-by-side jumps, which resulted in a third-place finish at the conclusion of the short program.

WATCH | Salé, Pelletier take gold at 2001 worlds:

World Championship Rewind: Sale, Pelletier break through at 2001 Figure Skating Worlds

3 years ago
Duration 3:07
Take a look back in history at Jamie Sale and David Pelletier's gold medal winning skate from the 2001 World Figure Skating Championships.

However, Salé and Pelletier's understanding shone through in the long program as they recovered with a dominant performance that earned them first place. Their gold at the 2001 worlds would be the only medal Canada won in the competition, salvaging an otherwise tumultuous national ru on home ice.

The touted tandem was later awarded the 2001 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's most outstanding athlete(s) for their achievements that year.

Joannie Rochette, 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

One of the most captivating performances in the sport's recent history came after Montreal's Joannie Rochette received tragic news in the lead-up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Two days before competing in the ladies' singles short program, Rochette was informed of her mother Therese's sudden death from a heart attack.

WATCH | Rochette sets personal best after mother's passing:

Revisit Joannie Rochette's emotional bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympics

3 years ago
Duration 5:42
Just two days after her mother passed away, Joannie Rochette fought through tears to deliver an emotional short program on her way to earning a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Hours after hearing the news, a 24-year-old Rochette took the ice in preparation of her scheduled short program with intentions of honouring her mother by performing.

On Feb. 23, 2010, an emotion-packed Pacific Coliseum witnessed Rochette score a personal best of 71.36 to claim third place. She would then solidify her podium spot two days later in the free skate, claiming bronze.

An emotional Rochette later said, "I just went out there and did what my mother would have wanted me to do."


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