Virtual Keynote Speaker
Olympic Champion Figure Skater, Medical Doctor and Virtual Motivation Speaker
The audience at Pacific Coliseum, all of Canada, and skating fans all over the world held their breaths as six-time Canadian Ladies Champion Joannie Rochette took the ice for the ladies short program at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Two days earlier her mother, Thérèse, had died of a sudden heart attack. Knowing her mother's dream was to see her win an Olympic medal, Rochette made the difficult decision to compete.
Keeping her emotions in check throughout her program, Rochette delivered an exquisite performance to "La Cumparsita." Two days later, she put the finishing touches on her mother's dream by winning the bronze medal with her free skate set to "Samson and Delilah." In doing so she became the first Canadian ladies figure skater competitor to stand on the Olympic medal podium in 22 years.
As the Olympics concluded, Rochette was named co-recipient of the Vancouver 2010 Terry Fox Award. This award honors athletes who are the epitome of determination in motion, who push on no matter what the pain or obstacles in their path and inspire Canada and the world by displaying humility and selflessness in their treatment of others both on and off the field of play at the Olympic Winter Games. She was also selected for the prestigious honor of being Canada's flag bearer in the Closing Ceremonies.
Rochette has long been known for her powerful, dynamic and lyrical skating. A second-place finish at the 2003 Canadian Championships earned her a trip to the World Championships, to which she has returned every year since, placing in the top 10 four times, including a silver medal finish in 2009. She has won several International Skating Union Grand Prix events, including Trophée Eric Bompard and Skate Canada, and she has qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final three times. She has also medaled three times at the ISU Four Continents Championships.
In 2010, Rochette toured again with Stars on Ice Canada. Rochette has also shown a commitment to humanitarian causes, traveling to Peru last June with World Vision Canada, a charity that helps sponsor disadvantaged children throughout the world. Away from skating, Rochette continues to pursue formal education at the College Andre-Grasset in Montreal, where she is studying natural and health sciences. Other off-ice interests include jumping trampoline, ballet, yoga, roller blading, reading, dancing and music.