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Dube and Davison feel the satisfaction

Canadian team exuberant after worlds

Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison.
Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison. (Getty Images)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(03/26/2008) - At the suggestion of his sports psychologist, Canadian pair skater Bryce Davison bought three little boxes at a crafts store. "I wrote simply 'first Grand Prix medal,' 'first world medal' and 'first Olympic medal.' Now I have medals to put in two of those boxes. There's only one left," said Davison, who with his partner of nearly five years, Jessica Dubé, won the bronze medal at the 2008 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

"This medal has given me a little more confidence towards 2010," said Dubé. "Now we know that we're in the game. We have to work very hard, but we know it's possible. We're so excited the Winter Olympics are in Canada."

Having competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin (where they placed 10th), Dubé, 20, and Davison, 22, know the excitement of Olympic competition. The Canadian team's road to Vancouver took some quantum leaps forward with bronze, silver and gold medals at worlds. Dubé and Davison were the first to ascend the medal podium, and they loved setting the positive tone for their teammates.

"All week we were feeding off each other's enthusiasm," said Davison. "All our practices were going really well. Jess and I were feeling the whole spirit. In our first team meeting when we got there, everyone came together, and the mood was set right from the start. We never looked back.

"After the competition was done, the whole team, as well as judges and our families, got together, and we toasted the team. We all kind of looked around and we were dumbfounded by it all. A huge satisfaction. All the people from Skate Canada were expecting great things. But normally, you expect great things, and you're upset by one or two disappointments. This year no one was really upset by anything."

Davison said the conditions were excellent, and he loved the fact that the official hotel was attached to the rink. "You didn't have to worry about bus schedules or anything like that," he explained. "It really helps a competitor totally focus on the skating."

Although the pair competition was done by Wednesday, Dubé and Davison did not adventure off to nearby Denmark, preferring to stay close and cheer on their teammates. When ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the free dance and the silver medal and when Jeffrey Buttle took gold in the men's, the mood was electric.

"There was an incredible energy in the building," Davison says. "At times it was tense, and no one really wanted to say anything. Then there were times where no one could say anything. It wasn't just the Canadian team; it was everyone around us. People were just completely mesmerized. That feeling was throughout the stadium. You could hear a pin drop, and then the next second when an element was done, you couldn't hear the music over the screaming. It was an incredible feeling to be there for it all."

Dubé and Davison took a very short break after returning to Canada from Gothenburg and then started practice. On the technical front, they are trying to improve their twist and work on another side-by-side triple before they begin choreographing their programs for next season.

For their 2008-09 long program, they will work with both choreographer David Wilson and former Canadian ice dance champions Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. "We're so excited," Davison said. "They will bring so much to our skating." The pair hopes to work with Lori Nichol for the short program.

This spring they'll make a couple of guest appearances with Stars on Ice Canada and do some other shows before taking a serious vacation in May. "I have to say I'm looking forward to that because we're a little bit tired," said Dubé.

Then it's onto their roles as vital members of Skate Canada.

"One of our goals with the three pair teams at worlds was to keep the three pair spots, just to give more opportunity for other teams in Canada," said Davison. "We like to think of not just ourselves. [For the 2010 Winter Olympics] there will be strength in numbers. The more competitors you have in the event, the stronger your nation looks. I can't wait!"