SPORTS

Olympic bronze medallist Rochette hasn't closed door on competitive comeback

03/12/2013 07:04 EDT | Updated 05/12/2013 05:12 EDT
LONDON, Ont. - The day after Carolina Kostner won the women's world figure skating title last year, Joannie Rochette went to her Montreal rink and "trained like crazy."

The skater who captured the country's heart at the Vancouver Olympics hasn't closed the door on competitive skating, and is in fact considering making a run at the 2014 Sochi Games.

"That kind of gave me the motivation to see Carolina do so well there," Rochette said.

Rochette captured bronze at the Vancouver Olympics just days after her mom died of a heart attack. She carried Canada's flag in the closing ceremony and then returned home to grieve. She hasn't competed in a major international event since.

The 27-year-old from Ile-Dupas, Que., who is the athlete ambassador for the world figure skating championships this week, said she'll announce her decision on her future when this season is over.

Kostner's gold-medal performance last year in Nice, France, was inspiring because Rochette has competed against the Italian skater for years.

"(Kostner) had a tough year the Olympic season. She came back, she won worlds, that to me was very impressive," Rochette said. "She did two beautiful programs, and she keeps improving. I always feel a bit old, but she's kind of from my generation (Kostner is 26), so that's why it inspired me when she won and stood on the top of the podium."

The team event — which will make its Olympic debut in Sochi — is what's tempting Rochette's return, but she was hesitant to say anything at all about a possible return Tuesday.

"Is there another question?" Rochette said, laughing. "We'll see this week, I don't want to jinx anything. At this point in my career, I'll take any decision and be happy with it."

The skater, looking fit in her leather leggings and silver knit top Tuesday, can still land all her triple jumps, thanks to her participation in "Stars on Ice." She recently wrapped up tours of the United States and Japan.

But she suddenly has stiff competition on the national scene from rising star Kaetlyn Osmond. The 17-year-old from Marystown, N.L., won Skate Canada International this season and is making her world debut in London.

A good result by Osmond could play into Rochette's decision. If the young Canadian finishes in the top 10, Canada can have two entries in women's singles in Sochi.

"I don't want to jinx anything. It's a lot of pressure on her, and I don't want her to read that," Rochette said. "Whether or not she's in the top-10, I want to take my decision for myself. Of course if I decide to come back, I would have to fight for it at nationals, and I know how great she is."

Rochette, who won silver at the 2009 world championships, had kind words for the young Osmond, who was virtually unknown at the national level before she finished third at last year's Canadian championships.

"She's young, she seems fearless, she just fights, it's fun to see that," Rochette said.

Rochette's coach Manon Perron has retired since the Vancouver Games, but she said she wouldn't leave her Montreal home to train elsewhere. She spoke about how excited she was about the kitten she and her boyfriend are getting.

"I'm a bit older and I'm looking to have a more complete life," she said.

Rochette said another Olympics or not, she plans to keep skating in shows and would love to make a career out of it like Kurt Browning has.

"It's kind of my goal to go as long as Kurt," she said of the 46-year-old. "Hopefully there will still be a place for a skater doing shows. I look at Kurt's career, and it's every skater's dream to be able to do that physically and mentally. Sometimes his knee hurts, but he's in great shape, he still amazes us."

Another veteran skater is making a comeback this season. South Korean star Kim Yu-Na, the 2010 Olympic gold medallist, will compete at the worlds for the first time since she won in 2011 in Moscow.

MORE:cpSports