I caught up with Joannie Rochette, 2010 Olympic bronze medalist, in NYC at Figure Skating in Harlem's 2011 benefit gala in April. For those unaware, Joannie was the face of courage and inspiration at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. A few days before the ladies short program, her mother (and also best friend and confidante) died of a massive heart attack. Joannie continued to compete, put together two strong programs, and won the bronze. It's hard, actually it's impossible, for me to imagine what she was feeling on the podium, as her mother was the biggest supporter of her skating career and wasn't there to share in one of her biggest victories.
Since the Olympics, Joannie took time off from competition and has been involved in various charities, which include World Vision Canada and organizations that promote women's heart health. She also toured with the US and Canada Stars on Ice, is in high demand as a speaker, and continues to perform in ice shows. The next chapter in Joannie's life has just begun! (Photo at right, Joannie Rochette performs at Rockefeller Skating Rink for the Today Show)
Other attendees and supporters at Figure Skating in Harlem's annual gala included Sarah Hughes (she was also the honoree for her long-time support of the organization), Evan Lysacek, Johnny Weir, Jeremy Abbott, Adam Rippon, Tanith Belbin, Ben Agosto, Todd Eldredge, Timothy Goebel, Lucinda Ruh, Emily Hughes, and many more. See complete coverage of the gala here.