Figure skaters happy to have the chance to shine at the Montreal Worlds

The misfortune of some is sometimes the happiness of others, and the Canadian skaters who were unable to participate in the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal in 2020 are happy to have the chance to perform in front of family and friends four years later.

Montreal was scheduled to host the event in March 2020, but it was ultimately canceled on a few days’ notice due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Skate Canada had to submit a new application and once again won the presentation of the Worlds, which will finally take place in the Quebec metropolis from March 20 to 24 at the Bell Center.

“Someone told Maxime and I that if the Worlds were canceled in 2020, it was to allow us to participate,” said Deanna Stellato-Dudek after training on the ice at the Bell Center on Monday.

She and Maxime Deschamps had just started their partnership in 2019 and would not have participated in the event in Montreal if it had taken place in 2020. It’s the same for several members of the Canadian team.

Of the 15 Canadian skaters who will be in action this week, only five were named to the team in 2020 — Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier in dance, as well as Trennt Michaud, Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha in pairs.

“I think everything happens for a reason,” Madeline Schizas said during a first training session at the Bell Center earlier in March. I don’t think I would have been really ready if I had been named to the team four years ago. But now I feel ready. »

The pair of Deschamps and Stellato-Dudek as well as the dance duo composed of Gilles and Poirier represent the two best medal hopes for Canada during these Worlds.

A dazzling progression

Deschamps, from Vaudreuil-Dorion, and Stellato-Dudek, who is originally from Chicago but now trains in Montreal, have experienced meteoric progress since the start of their association.

Double reigning national champions, they have three Grand Prix victories to their name, including a triumph at Skate Canada International last fall. They recently won the Four Continents Championships last month in Shanghai, China.

“The most important thing is to have fun,” said Deschamps. We do this because we love it. We want to replicate what we manage to do in training, and we hope that will allow us to get on the podium. »

Stellato-Dudek, who is 40, returned to the sport in 2016 after a 16-year hiatus. Her journey led her to an on-ice union with Deschamps, 32, who was looking for a partner.

“Life is always full of funny coincidences,” said Deschamps. She arrived at the right time. I took my chance to skate with her, and she took that chance to move here. She made several sacrifices. »

For their part, Gilles and Poirier are veterans of the Canadian delegation, having even experienced the last Worlds in Canada, in 2013 in London, Ontario.

“It was our first Worlds at the time,” recalled Poirier. The cancellation was difficult four years ago. We had prepared a special program on the music of a Canadian artist, but we were unable to present it. We can’t wait to finally be able to skate here at the Bell Centre. »

Gilles and Poirier won bronze at the Worlds in 2021 and 2023. They won the last three Canadian Championships and also triumphed at the recent Four Continents Championships.

The dance competition will, however, be presented despite a dark cloud hovering over the duo composed of Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen. The latter was accused of sexual assault by an American coach and former skater. The allegations have not been proven in court and the matter is under the supervision of the Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner (BCIS).

Asked about ticket sales earlier in March, Senior Director, Event Services and Production at Skate Canada, Terry Sheahan, mentioned that sales were good, but especially on Saturday, during the program presentations. free in dance and among men. There were still “many” tickets to sell on the other days, he added.

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