Saturday, January 1, 2011

O Canada! A Tribute to Canadian Figure Skating: Jamie Salé and David Pelletier's "Come Away with Me" by Nora Jones

Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were thrust into the spotlight in a big way during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, when they were at the center of a monumental media maelstrom: the judging scandal in the pairs event. Jamie and David, who originally had been awarded highly-controversial silver medals, behind gold medalists, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia, were later upgraded to co-gold medalists after an internal assessment by the International Skating Union discovered foul play in the judging of the competition. The International Olympic Committee's decision to award a set of co-gold medals was a completely unprecedented action, but under the wacky circumstances, only seemed fair. Since the scores from the dishonest judge were thrown out, the votes for the Russians and the Canadians were split 4-4 from the eight remaining judges on the panel. The result truly was a tie. Both teams handled the bizarre situation with dignity and grace.

Following the scandal at the Olympic Games, Jamie and David, newly-crowned North American sweethearts, went on to have a prosperous professional career. They skated in a few of the last professional competitions (which are virtually non-existent today), and toured with Stars on Ice. Jamie and David were married in 2005, and acted as commentators for many skating events. In 2007, they welcomed a son, Jesse Joe Pelletier. In June, the couple announced that they have filed for divorce, but will continue to skate together. They are slated to skate in this year's 25th-anniversary Stars on Ice tour.

Jamie and David are 3-time Canadian champions, 2-time 4 Continents Champions, 2-time Grand Prix Final Champions, and the 2001 World Champions. They are best known for their "Love Story" freeskate, which they used in the 1999-2000 season, and revived for the 2002 Olympics, where they skated it to perfection. It remains an iconic Olympic performance.

The performance I've chosen to highlight is one that I was fortunate enough to see live during Stars on Ice in 2003. Jamie and David skated to "Come Away with Me" by Nora Jones. I remember being mesmerized. This program is soft, and sensual. Jamie and David are outstanding athletes, sparkling performers, and terrific role models for how athletes should handle themselves under fire. They've had a grand effect on pairs skating, and I'm delighted that they are once again touring with Stars on Ice this year so all their fans, such as myself, will have the opportunity to enjoy their superb skating in person!

Enjoy Jamie and David's "Come Away with Me":

1 comment:

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