After her mother died, Joannie had no other choice but to go on and skate. She had to. It was the Olympics. Her mother would have wanted her to do it. It was Joannie's dream for herself. It was what she was made to do.
However, I imagine that there was a part of Joannie that wanted to NOT skate, not compete, not participate at all-- to call it a day, hang up the skates, go home, curl up into the fetal position and be done.
She might have wondered how she could possibly breathe much less skate since she had no mother. What strength would she have in her legs to jump and propel herself across the ice? Perhaps, the moves that she had tirelessly practiced and perfected in preparation for the Olympics now seemed like fuzzy memories that really didn't matter. Triple salchow, triple-Lutz, double-toe-loop combo... What do they matter in the big scheme of things? Except that they do matter. They mattered because they were what made her who she was.
So, Joannie made a decision. She decided to go out there and skate with strength, courage and perseverance to show the world the kind of champion her mother had raised.
I cried to watch her skate so beautifully and gracefully. Knowing that she carried such a heavy burden of pain. Knowing that what pushed her to give an extraordinary performance was born out of that same pain.
In no way to diminish this skater's grief and spectacular strength under pressure, I don't believe that her skating is any less beautiful than the strength, courage, and perseverance that the rest of us show when we go on with our lives in the midst of grief, pain and suffering. Her courage was just more public. We have no cameras, no emotion evoking music, no announcers to champion our courage and bravery to get up and go on with the show without our loved ones.
But we must persevere. We must become who we are intended to become even though our hearts are missing a part.
Joannie Rochette made it to the podium. I hope to see you there as well.