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.