VANCOUVER -- If only the crowd could have hugged Joannie Rochette for three solid minutes, ensuring she stayed on her feet through a performance that we're told was cathartic but surely must have been hellacious too, they would have all felt better.
The figure skater from Ile Dupas, Que. was everyone's daughter on Tuesday night at Pacific Coliseum, essentially adopted by Canadians not long after her mother Therese died early Sunday of a heart attack at age 55, leaving Joannie and father Normand to grieve under the sporting world's microscope.
But then she did the remarkable, she stood on her own, taller even than anyone could have hoped, with a medal chance still in her grasp at the end of the short program. She's third, locked in for bronze at 71.36, seven points clear of Japan's Miki Ando in fourth.