Skaters recover from slash, ready to defend title
Updated Wed. Jan. 16 2008 3:16 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Pairs figure-skating champions Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison will return to the ice this weekend to defend their Canadian title, a challenge complicated by a horrible on-ice accident last year that left the pair with both physical and emotional wounds.
The accident footage was watched around the world as the clip of Davison's skate slashing Dube's face exploded in popularity on the video sharing website YouTube.
The video shows the pair performing a side-by-side camel spin. The next moment, Dube's head snaps back and she collapses on the blood-spattered ice.
Dube, a petite French-speaking 20-year-old woman from rural Quebec, was left with a 10-centimetre gash on her cheek and nose that required 80 stitches to repair.
The physical wound healed quickly, but it was the mental scars that threatened to tear the gold-medal team apart.
Dube and Davison watched the accident, which occurred at the 2007 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Feb. 8, over and over again as part of their post-traumatic stress therapy.
"Every time I was talking to Bryce I was telling him that it was just an accident and was making sure he didn't (think) he did that to me (intentionally)," Dube told CTV News.
The pair, who initially couldn't even speak the same language, instantly clicked when they first teamed up in 2003.
"When we were doing lifts off the ice before we even went on the ice, it was really something very special," Davison, an English speaker born in the United States but raised in Ontario, told CTV News.
Davison , who turns 22 at the end of this month, says it was "their instant chemistry" that first led them to become champions and it was that chemistry that glued them together during Dube's recovery.
Dube and Davison used the accident to sharpen their focus and after just eight days of rest they were back on the ice performing.
Dube says the first time the pair took to the ice, she was shaking.
Figure-skating commentator Debbie Wilkes watched their first post-accident performance and said the pair demonstrated true bravery.
"We watched them take each other's hand. Did they flinch? Not even a bit. That is courage," she told CTV News.
The pair has been putting in solid performances since the accident and will defend their pairs title at the 2008 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships, which run from January 16 to 20, at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver.
"It made us mature, a ton, as skaters and as people," Davison said of the accident.
With a report from CTV's Genevieve Beauchemin