Canada’s Lacoste Makes Huge Comeback
Amélie Lacoste returned to skating after a long absence by winning the bronze medal in senior ladies at the 2009 Canadian Nationals.
“I knew it was possible to medal, but it wasn’t my first idea,” she said. “I just wanted to skate two good programs and make the National team.”
After nationals, however, Lacoste became ill with a fever, sinus infection, and bronchitis. “The week after Nationals I didn’t train on or off the ice,” said the 20-year-old.
Back on the ice only four days before the Four Continents, Lacoste finished tenth, even after drawing to skate second in a field of 36 in the short program.
Nevertheless, she accomplished her goal of finishing in the top ten. “My technical score was good, but the second mark always depends on where you skate,” she said.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” Lacoste added. “After my first jump, I couldn’t even hear my music anymore. It’s my best performance of the year. My goal was to land five triples and I did it. I felt very calm and confident.”
“It was a good experience competing against the best,” said Lacoste of the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. “Almost like being at the World Championships. It’s good preparation for Worlds and the Olympics.”
Lacoste’s goal is now to make it to the Olympics.
“I have Olympic rings on my ceiling in my room,” said the student from Quebec. “Every night I see it when I go to sleep. It’s my dream and I will work hard to achieve it. Being back on the international scene gives me a lot of confidence.”
Lacoste was flying high in 2006, placing fifth at Canadians and 11th at the Four Continents Championships, but then she suffered a career-threatening injury that cost her the 2006-07 season.
“I hurt my right foot while I was practicing my triple Lutz in a practice in the Czech Republic for the Junior Grand Prix and had to withdraw,” Lacoste recounted. “I didn’t skate for five months, then tried to skate again but the pain was still bad. I saw lots of doctors but they didn’t know what I had. Eventually I saw a surgeon in Atlanta who found that I had a fracture on my talus bone.”
“I was still going to my rink, while I was off of skating, to see the skaters I train with because I was missing skating so much, but it was very hard,” Lacoste said. “I realized how much I loved skating. It’s my passion. That made me stronger.”
“It took a long time for my foot to heal,” she continued. “I didn’t start back on the ice until June 2007 and I couldn’t do the flip and the Lutz because my foot was still sore.”
So she decided to give pairs skating a try.
“I tried out in pairs after the Québec Summer Provincials in 2007,” Lacoste recalled. “I went to France to try with Yannick Bonheur. Then he came to Canada to keep training with me for three weeks. During the three weeks, I decided I didn’t want to continue, because my foot was still hurting in the throws, and I preferred to continue in singles.”
Lacoste then returned to perfecting her freestyle programs, but it took a while to build up her endurance. “I worked very hard. I did a full long and short every day. After a few weeks, it got easier.”
However, Lacoste then became sick at nationals and things did not go as planned. “I got eighth but I wasn’t satisfied with that. I wanted to be on the National team. I decided I’d have to be smart with my training and not skate too much.”
Lynn McKay and Thierry Ivars coach Lacoste, who trains in La Prairie and St. Hubert, Quebec.
“My foot is all healed now, but I’m only skating about three hours a day,” Lacoste noted. “Three days a week, I skate in the morning and the afternoon, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I only skate in the afternoon. I do ballet and gym about six or seven hours a week and I do some special exercises to improve the elasticity of my foot.”
“My jumps never really went away while I was injured,” she added. “I just had to train them and get them back into my programs.”
This season, Lacoste included a triple loop-double loop combination, triple flip and a double Axel in her short program.
In her long program, Lacoste opens with a triple loop-double loop-double loop combination, a triple flip, and a triple Salchow-double loop combination. Later she performs a triple loop-double loop combination, triple Lutz, triple Salchow, and double Axel.
“I’m landing the triple loop-triple loop in practice,” Lacoste stated. “I’m also working on the triple flip-triple loop, triple Lutz-triple loop, and triple toe-triple toe. I’m hoping to have the triple toe-triple toe and maybe two triple-triples in my program next season.”
Lacoste usually changes one program each season. This season, she kept her long program, a flamenco that was choreographed by Julie Marcotte and Marc-Olivier Bosse.
“I went to Hugo Chouinard, who makes my music, and told him I wanted something in that style,” Lacoste explained. “There are seven different pieces in it.”
“I like to skate to powerful music,” she continued, “especially flamenco and tango music. I would like to try skating a samba eventually.”
Marcotte choreographed her new short program to Otonal by Raul di Blasio. “I saw Nana Takeda doing it in the long,” Lacoste explained. “I loved it and I wanted to skate to it.”
Lacoste choreographs her own footwork sequences. She also works as much as ten hours a week, helping her coach teach skating and doing choreography. “She’s very good at it,” McKay said.
Lacoste is also working hard on her post-skating career. She is in her third year at CEGEP studying human sciences as she works towards a career in sports psychology. “I’m taking two courses in school and two by Internet,” she stated.
Off ice, Lacoste likes to go shopping and relaxes with her friends and family. “I have a sister who just had a new baby two and a half months ago,” she noted.
Next season, Lacoste is hoping to do two ISU Grand Prixs, preferably Russia and Japan. “Japan was the favorite country I’ve visited,” she said. “I’d like to go back. I’ve never been to Russia and I’d like to see it. For sure, I want to continue until 2014 because the Olympics are in Russia then. After that, I’d like to do some shows and tours, maybe on a cruise.”