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 Bourne, Kraatz Keep Door Open

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Number of posts : 225
Localisation : London Canada (country of the Battle of the Blades)
Registration date : 2007-06-09

PostSubject: Bourne, Kraatz Keep Door Open   Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:36 am

Globe and Mail
October 5, 2007
article written by Beverly Smith.

You know when Kurt Browning’s seventh Gotta Skate show breezes into town, it’s time to think about figure skating. The summer is over.

The cast won’t arrive in Toronto until next week, but 2003 world ice dancing champion Shae-Lynn Bourne has already been here for a couple of weeks, preparing a special duet with Browning for the show. Not that Browning is an ice dancer, but he could be, so quick and deft are his feet.

The theme of their routine is under wraps, but it’ll have something to do with the Motown motif, as the cast will be skating to live music from The Temptations – yes, that blockbuster group from the 1960s – and Boyz II Men.

“It’ll be a nice little surprise for the audience,’’ Bourne said coyly of the special duet. “People will just have to wait and see.

“I’m just excited about doing Kurt’s show, because it’s going to be such an energetic show because of the style of music. And anything with Kurt is great, because he’s such a great performer. When I was asked to skate [a duet] with him, I was floating afterwards. I couldn’t believe, of all people, that I get to do a duet with such a great skater."

Other cast members in the show include Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen, Olympic bronze medalist Jeffrey Buttle, U.S. champion and two-time world bronze medalist Evan Lysacek, Canadian champion Joannie Rochette, two-time world silver medalists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon and Ryan Bradley, a U.S. silver medalist known for his artistic touch.

Of all people, Bourne, skating with Browning? Suffice it to say that Bourne shouldn’t be so modest. She has the highest skating credentials in this country, having been a 10-time Canadian champion with Victor Kraatz, with whom she also won four world bronze medals before finally breaking through to win a world gold medal in 2003. Frustrated by international judging controversies that didn’t work in their favour, Bourne and Kraatz finally reached the summit after a very long, hard road.

Bourne and Kraatz retired after their win, but their pro career didn’t last long after Kraatz suddenly quit at the end of 2003, saying he would rather be a competitive skater than a show skater, and they just hadn’t been together often enough to continue the excellence that had been their hallmark. He has since married, lives in Vancouver and has a young son, Oliver.

Kraatz’s decision hit Bourne like a hard rain. But don’t count out the Canadian icons, especially with the Vancouver Olympics looming. They’ve talked about making a comeback before the Olympics, not to compete, but to return something to the Canadian public that supported them through thick and thin.

Just before the world championships last March in Tokyo, when Bourne was in nearby Victoria to do a skating seminar, the couple got together to skate for about an hour in Kraatz’s rink, with few spectators to see them.

Their induction into the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame last January also brought them closer together, as Kraatz took the microphone in front of a home crowd, then began to shed tears. The skaters embraced, to a crowd ovation. Tears were falling everywhere.

“It was wonderful,’’ Bourne said on Friday. “I thought it was just really amazing to be inducted with Victor, but to actually see him and to share the stage with him, that was the most amazing moment when we were there together. It was really emotional.

“It brought back a lot of memories. It just felt right. For him, too. To see him emotional and to hear what he had to say, it was a very special moment. And to be connected with the audience again together, it meant a lot. It was something I’ll never forget.’’

Bourne and Kraatz had little contact with each other since 2003, although they’d run into each other at Canadian championships, and then when Kraatz began coaching, at other competitions. But they began to talk again just before the induction.

“Things were better,’’ Bourne said, referring to the stiffness that existed between them for several years. “It was kind of an odd way the way it all finished. It was nice to reconnect with Victor again.

“The whole thing [the breakup] was so bizarre, how it all ended. I was fine, but I think it was hard at the beginning. I wasn’t ready for that. It was a surprise for me. That was a difficult time, but soon after that other doors opened, and the chance for me to skate alone appeared. I tried that and I grew so much, because I was put in that position.’’

Bourne has made a name for herself as an arresting solo skater in shows. This is her fourth Gotta Skate appearance, but she had done only one with Kraatz. About a year ago, Bourne said they began talking together again, when Kraatz apologized to her and said he was sorry. At the time, she was going through a separation with her husband, Russian-born coach Nikolai Morozov and a friendly face was welcome.

“Just to hear those words, it let all that go,’’ Bourne said. “It was really nice to reconnect with him. Now it’s great. It’s nice, because when you spend that much time with somebody and go through all that we went through, you want to have that friend for life and you want to share things with them.’’

Their hour together on ice was for them, and for nobody else. They skated, just for fun, to see how it would feel.

“Some things never change,’’ Bourne said. “It was bizarre, but it was great, just stroking together. We were just messing around, improvising, stroking and feeling the glide with one another. And we had that conversation, what can we do [in the future]?’’

It seems that Bourne’s life is just beginning again. She got a divorce from Morozov during last summer. Although she still maintains a condo in Connecticut where she has been coaching, she recently moved into an apartment in Toronto and intends to spend more time in Canada, close to her family. She’s working with many skaters, including promising Canadian bronze medalists Kaitlin Weaver and Andrew Poje, and also doing choreography for exhibition routines.

Bourne has been working with a Chinese skater, and she may be doing an exhibition routine for the great Chinese pair skaters Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo. She designed the number that Rochette used during her tour with Stars on Ice last summer. Bourne still skates on the Champions on Ice tour. And she’s also working with a U.S-born team that skates for Japan: Cathy and Chris Reed, who had been the U.S. novice dance champions before they switched allegiances.

“Doors are opening,’’ Bourne said. “It’s been great to venture out and try new things. I’ll see Victor more often now. And I’m kind of hoping we’ll do something leading into the Olympics. It would be nice for us and also for Canada to see us again.

“We’ll figure something out."
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