- SKATING - Canadian pair primed for home ice Worlds

Friday, March 23, 2001
Canadian pair primed for home ice Worlds

Jamie Sale vows that another meltdown, like the one that cost her and pairs partner David Pelletier a podium finish at last year's World Figure Skating Championships, will not happen on home ice at the 2001 Worlds.

"I've proven this year that I can miss the first jump and it won't affect me for the rest of the program," she said.

"If you make a mistake, you can't dwell on that. That's what I had to learn," said the twice Canadian champion who worked with a sports psychologist throughout the summer to put last year's disappointing fourth place finish behind her.

In Nice, Sale missed her triple toe loop jump in the opening seconds of their signature Love Story routine then unraveled as she flubbed two more scheduled jumps before the night was out.

With that, the medal that the couple had been touted to win slipped through their fingers.

Already this season, the sports psychology sessions have paid off handsomely. Sale and Pelletier posted wins at two ISU Grand Prix events, the Grand Prix Final and Four Continents Championships, making them favorites for gold here this week and $250,000 richer.

Russians return
Their greatest challenge is expected to come from Russia's 1998 and 1999 world champions Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.

The Russian pair did not compete at the 2000 event after she tested positive for a banned substance -- attributed to a cold remedy -- at the European Championships.

Sale says she is anxious to prove that she has exorcised her World Championships demons when the pair event begins Monday.

"We're all human and we all make mistakes in our careers. We've been saying ever since, we don't look back, we move forward," said Sale, adding that she does not feel any added pressure skating at home.

"Every competition in Canada is almost the same. There are lots of fans here for practice, cheering for you, asking for autographs, more media attention, but we're used to that," she noted prior to Saturday's practice at GM Place.

Pelletier said he is happy to deal with the pressure of being a front-runner.

"That's perfect. If they were expecting us to finish fifth, there would be a problem," he joked.

The Canadian duo has even caught the eye of British ice dance great Christopher Dean.

"Sale and Pelletier, I like what they are doing, what they are bringing to the event," Dean said, of their emotionally dramatic Tristan and Isolde interpretation.

"What they're doing is almost putting an ice dance routine together with the elements of pair skating... The Russians are doing the same with their (Charlie) Chaplin piece."

The 2000 world bronze medalists Sarah Abitbol and Stephane Bernadis had also been skating to Tristan and Isolde this season, but it was announced Saturday the French team had reverted to last year's musical selection.

"I didn't know that," Sale said. "I have no idea why they changed."

Sale and Pelletier will be two of six Canadian Olympic athletes featured on the Cheerios box in the months leading up to the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

"If your face is on a cereal box, you must be doing something right," Pelletier laughed.

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