Delobel, Schoenfelder aim for 2010 Olympics

Despite reports to the contrary, world champs will not retire

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder will aim for 2010 Olympics.
Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder will aim for 2010 Olympics. (Getty Images)


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By Jean-Christophe Berlot, special to
(05/19/2008) - The skating season is now over in France, and most elite skaters are starting their summer break. When you are the world champions, however, you are never too sure about when your season really ends. The three French world medalists are still in the news. Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder have just announced that they will keep skating competitively, and Brian Joubert has been elected as "honorary president" of his figure skating regional league.

The 2008 season will remain as one of the best for French figure skating, with a world title for Delobel and Schoenfelder and a silver for Joubert. Delobel and Schoenfelder also won the ISU world bonus, which makes them the overall world contestants this season.

Even after they completed the 28-stage French tour, vacation was not on the horizon. Delobel and Schoenfelder started the tour with a tough decision to make: keep competing or quit after their 2008 world victory.

Their decision was not an easy one: "I was feeling exhausted," Schoenfelder explained afterwards. "This season was long and tedious, and I had told myself it would be the last one."

Delobel had less doubt about continuing to skate competitively, as she has always recognized that skating was her life dream.

Throughout the French tour, both realized how much their home audiences loved them. The duo received standing ovations each time they skated. That was enough to convince them to keep going.

The duo has now forged a renewed motivation. "We will work toward that Olympic medal we still miss," they said. After a one-month break, they will head back to their home rink in Lyon and start working again with Muriel Zazoui-Boucher and Romain Haguenauer, their coaches.

Joubert was not ready for vacation either. He received the "special award from the French Senate" for his sports achievements and ended his season by applying to the official management board of his regional league, where he was elected as an "honorary chairman."