Canadian coaches tutor gold, silver medalists in Olympic ice dance


GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) – Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon never experienced what it felt like to stand on an Olympic podium when the Canadian ice dancers made their two trips to the Winter Games.

Well, they got to experience a little of the magic Tuesday.

Twice, in fact.

Now renowned coaches based in Montreal, Dubreuil and Lauzon have spent the past two years tutoring Canadian stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and French rivals Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, the two duos who swept the top two steps of the podium at the Pyeongchang Games.

It was the second gold medal of these games for Vitue and Moir, who helped Canada win team gold, and their fifth medal overall – a record for figure skaters in the Olympics

“I cannot feel anymore, honestly,” Dubreuil said, exhaling. “I can’t feel anymore. It was a very stressful day, honestly.”

Dubreuil and Lauzon, who married following their retirement in 2008, nearly managed a podium sweep with Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. But the American skaters made a couple of minor mistakes during their free dance Tuesday, dropping them from third after the short dance to fourth place.

“We hoped Maddie and Zach would stay third. It was a real rollercoaster of emotions,” Dubreuil said. “As coaches we look at how all the teams performed, how they were trained, handled nerves and the expectations, and I think, you know, we’re super proud of them.”

Virtue and Moir worked with another pair of well-known coaches, Igor Shpilband and Marina Zueva, at their facility in Michigan before a brief retirement. When they decided to mount a comeback a couple of years ago, they decided to remain in Canada and chose Dubreuil and Lauzon’s school.

They were actually the last team to join the mix.

Papadakis and Cizeron had started training with them about two years earlier, after spending time with coaches in France. Hubbell and Donohue had jumped aboard in 2015, when they decided they wanted to train where there were no other American skaters competing for time.

All three couples are close friends – “Patch and Marie-France wouldn’t have it any other way,” Moir said. And all three performed well on the biggest stage in figure skating.

“These kids, we train them five hours a day. We see them grow and we know what their goals are and we just support that,” Dubreuil said. “The competition is about them, not us.

“It was fun to see them so happy.”

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