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Wakamatsu and Fecteau retire from eligible figure skating competition

(April 24, 2007 - Ottawa, ON) - Skate Canada announced today that two-time Canadian medallists Utako Wakamatsu and Jean-Sébastien Fecteau have retired from eligible competition.

Wakamatsu, 25, originally from Sendai, Japan, and Fecteau, 31, of St-Leonard, Que., began skating together in April of 2002. They recently placed fourth in the senior pair event at the 2007 BMO Canadian Championships in Halifax in January. They also finished fourth in their debut at the national championships in 2004 and captured silver in 2005 and bronze in 2006.

The duo also achieved international success. They captured gold medals in their first two international competitions, the 2003 Nebelhorn Trophy and the 2003 Finlandia Trophy. Wakamatsu and Fecteau won the silver medal at the 2006 International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Championships, and competed at the 2005 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, where they placed eighth.

“I have had a long and interesting sports career,” said Fecteau, who, in addition to Wakamatsu, also had successful partnerships with Caroline Haddad and Valerie Saurette. “I have realized most of my dreams and objectives during my career. I could not possibly have done half as well without the wonderful support I have received during this time.”

“I cannot believe that it has been almost five years since I started to live in Canada,” said Wakamatsu. “I may have finished my competitive skating career, but I will use these experiences for the rest of my life. Skating changed my life, taught me how to live strong, be mature, be patient and have great discipline.”

In addition to staying involved with figure skating as a coach, Fecteau will go back to school full-time this September and will study at L’école Polytechnique in Montreal to become a civil engineer.

Wakamatsu will return to her hometown of Sendai, Japan and plans to finish her university degree at the Sendai Fukushi University, where she studied social welfare for two years prior to moving to Montreal. She also plans to coach and choreograph when she returns to Japan.

Skate Canada, the national governing body responsible for the development and administration of figure skating in Canada, is the largest figure skating association in the world. With skating programs for athletes of all ages, offered at 1326 clubs across the country, Skate Canada is an association dedicated to providing every Canadian the opportunity to experience the passion, spirit and triumph of skating.