Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jansen knows skater's pain

On an emotional night for Canadian figure skater Joanie Rochette, NBC had the right person in the right place to provide some needed perspective.

Jansen knows skater's pain

On an emotional night for Canadian figure skater Joanie Rochette, NBC had the right person in the right place to provide some needed perspective.

No one can know exactly what Rochette is experiencing, although the tears after her short program routine last night provided just a small example of how tough this all has been. Rochette's mother passed away earlier this week after her parents had made the trip from Montreal to Vancouver. She learned of the death when her father visited her in the athlete's village Sunday morning.

Before she skated, NBC interviewed Dan Jansen, who is a commentator on the speedskating for the network. It was Jansen, who memorably fell in the 1988 Olympics, hours after learning that his sister, Jane, had died.

"Hopefully, even with a couple of days of recovery, not that it's going to go away, but maybe it's given her body a little time to prepare for tonight," Jansen said. "Part of me certainly wanted to go out there and give it a shot. But the other part of me wanted to respect what had just happened and I didn't know if it was right in my mind -- if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing."

Jansen sent an email to Rochette this week and said he would be willing to meet with her if she was interested. In the email, Jansen said he wrote, "I don't know if you can prepare for the emotions you're going to feel out there. But if you can get through it, there are millions of people supporting you. And most of all, skate with your mother in your heart. And if she does that, she'll be fine."

Rochette is third after her short program with the long program tomorrow night and with an entire nation behind her.

About this blog

SAM DONNELLON's career began in Biddeford, Me., in 1981, and has included stops in Wilkes-Barre, Norfolk, and New York, where he worked as a national writer for the short-lived but highly acclaimed National Sports Daily. He has received state and national awards at each stop and since joining the Daily News in 1992 has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Associated Press Managing Editors of Pennsylvania and the Keystone Awards. He and his wife have raised three fine children, none of whom are even the least bit impressed with the above. Sam is veteran of Olympics coverage for the Daily News, including the Games in Sydney and Turin, among others.

MARCUS HAYES grew up on a small farm outside of Hermon, NY., a small town near the Canadian border about the size of Reading Terminal Market. In high school he played three varsity sports and aspired to be faster, or more skilled, or taller. Having failed in those aspirations and seeking a warmer climate, Marcus attended Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and eventually graduated with a degree in Magazine Writing. He also earned a degree in English from the College of Arts and Sciences. To date he has written for no magazines. His English is spotty at best. Upon graduation in 1990, with Jim Boeheim's talent-leaden SU basketball teams having won no titles, Marcus spent 4½ years working for the now-absorbed Syracuse Herald-Journal covering high school sports, local small college sports and non-revenue sports at SU. Marcus joined the Daily News as a feature story writer in 1995. Among other assignments he has covered the Eagles and Phillies beats for most of his tenure. Still, the paper soldiers on.

Sam Donnellon and Marcus Hayes
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