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Dube, Davison plotting road to comeback

He's hitting the weights; she's skating singles

The next time Jessica Dube takes the ice in competition, Bryce Davison won't be by her side.
The next time Jessica Dube takes the ice in competition, Bryce Davison won't be by her side. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(11/15/2010) - Bryce Davison isn't hanging up his skates just yet.

The skater, who underwent complicated surgery to replace a broken bone chip in his knee on Oct. 26, plans to resume his pair skating partnership with Jessica Dubé next season.

"There's no definitive [return date] yet; I have another two months and one week before I can put weight on my right leg," Davison, who is walking with the aid of Canadian (arm held) crutches, said.

"After that, it will take some time to [strengthen] the knee muscles. At the earliest, it's the start of March."

Dubé and Davison won the 2008 world bronze medal as well as three Canadian titles. They finished sixth at both the Vancouver Olympics and the world championships last season.

The 24-year-old Davison, who has moved back to his parent's home in Huntsville, Ont., said he is not considering retirement.

"I have been frustrated, that [the recovery process] is quite long. . . it takes longer to heal a bone," he said.

The injury occurred last month while the team trained for Skate Canada at Toronto's Granite Club. Davison's knee locked up while landing a simple jump.

"It was no big accident; I did a single loop. A three centimeter [fragment of bone] fractured off of my femur and dislodged. I could not straighten it. I had no warning at all."

With skating and a lot of other activities off limits, he's hitting the weights.

"I managed to get back into the gym last week to work on my upper body strength," he said. "I'm also keeping up as much strength as I can in my left leg.

"I've always been told I needed to get larger and stronger looking in my upper body and now is the perfect time, I guess."

Davison has also resumed his academic studies, taking Biology 235, human anatomy and physiology through Athabasca University's online program.

"I started in September," he said. "I know it takes a long time, but I would love to be a medical doctor. I've wanted to get back into school. It's been quite some time since I've been in the learning environment."

Dubé will attempt to qualify for the 2011 Canadian Figure Skating Championships as a singles skater. She last competed in singles in 2008, placing eighth in Canada.

"It was hard to accept at first, [but] all I can do is keep training my skating," the 23-year-old said. "That's what Bryce did when I was injured. It's not what I have to do; it's what I want to do to make sure I'm in good shape when he gets back."

Dubé's injury is one of the most famous in figure skating history. While the pair was doing side-by-side camel spins at the 2007 ISU Four Continents Championships, Davison's blade sliced open Dubé's face. The gash across her cheek and nose required more than 80 stitches.

For singles, Dubé continues to work with the team's coaches, including Annie Barabé and Sophie Richard, to re-gain her triple Lutz and triple flip to compete at the Eastern Canada championships held in Mississauga the first week of December. She received a bye through to the event, due to the team's assignment at Trophee Eric Bompard.

"I was worried I was taking someone else's spot, but [Skate Canada] assured me no, I didn't have to do sectionals," she said. "I don't really have a [placement] goal; I just want to put my programs together. I just want to compete and see how it goes."

Dubé will perform her free skate to music she used in 2008, the soundtrack of Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Her short is set to the soundtrack of another French movie. 1995 Canadian champion Sébastien Britten, who often works in her rink in Quebec, is choreographing both pieces.

"I haven't done these jumps in a long time and also a few of the spins," Dubé, who is not training a triple loop, said. "I'm working on them. They're not as good as they used to be. I'm trying to get them back where they were two years ago, do a little work and get them into the program.

"Of course I could just come to the rink, do double Axel and triple Salchow, but doing singles this year makes me work for something. . . I really miss Bryce a lot, but I guess I'll have to get used to it for the next few months."