Flatt plans to savor Vancouver experience

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Like lots of other young athletes, Rachael Flatt leads a double life. One week she’s the cool, collected competitor, striking poses and hitting jumps to the strains of Rachmaninoff; the next, she’s just another kid sitting in French class. “She’s awesome,” said Lizzy Hyde, Flatt’s friend and French conversation partner at Colorado Springs’ Cheyenne Mountain High School. “Everyone knows she travels a lot, and she might be out of school for a week, but she never talks about her skating unless you ask her. I don’t know how she manages to get it all done, but she never seems stressed. She’s just a lot of fun.”

Virtue, Moir have tunnel vision for Olympic gold

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are keeping their blinders on, hoping their laser-like focus will lead them to gold. And if journalists keep asking them about a possible North American sweep of the ice dance medals, they’re going to get very bored, Moir warned on a media teleconference yesterday. “We haven’t even seen two of the better European teams this season [Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia, and Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France],” he said. “I think the biggest [thing] for Tessa and I going into the Olympic Games is not to focus [on] the other competition, just focus on ourselves. We believe in the product we have. We’re not really concerned with matching ourselves up against the European teams, or the American teams, as a matter of fact.”

Men’s event shaping up to be a nailbiter in Vancouver

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Brian Orser has two words to say about his prediction for the men’s figure skating event in Vancouver: Wide open. “I wouldn’t put anyone on the podium guaranteed for sure,” Orser said. “There’s no real shoo-in.” The last time the Winter Games were held in Canada, back in 1988 in Calgary, there were two clear-cut contenders for the gold medal: Orser and Brian Boitano. Indeed the “Battle of the Brians” lived up to the hype and Boitano edged Orser for the Olympic title. But that was 22 years ago, and plenty has changed in figure skating. Back then, the 6.0 judging system was in place and favorites frequently would hold their positions in the standings even with stumbles. Now, with the advent of a much more complex and unforgiving system, positions change as fast as hosts of late-night television.

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