Monday, June 21

Karma in France? And Elections are This Weekend

I'll catch you up quickly on the situation with Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur. The team split, he says that he arrived to a practice one day to find her skating with Maximin Coia with no prior knowledge of this happening, she says that they talked following the World Championships and he was well aware of the try-out. Vanessa even went as far as to post her side of the story on Figure Skating Universe, the internet's most popular forum on the sport, saying:
After worlds we had reached a breaking point! We both talked to the federation about our feelings and the federation was very understanding! I took the decision that I didn’t have the motivation to continue working the way we had been for the last year and a half! I didn’t believe things would change! [...] It’s an amazing experience but when skating gets to a point where it is not fun anymore because we don’t work together, we don’t listen, we don’t get along EVERY DAY… it gets very hard! I love skating and I want to love it every day, even when it is hard, or frustrating. Yannick and I were far past this point! It was made clear to the federation and Yannick that I did not believe in our partnership. The federation said they would find a solution to help us both! We decided together to finish the galas because we had responsibilities to those clubs!
Maximin and I had a tryout last week, yes! It was one of the solutions the federation found because Maximin was without a partner also. They thought it would be a good idea to see how we looked together and worked together! Of course it was something new and fun and my motivation had returned but no decision was made! I assure you Yannick was told about this tryout! He was told that Maximin would be skating with me at Bercy and that he was free to come, but perhaps it was better that he did not! So I wish people would not talk about things they do not know! 
James and Coia were already nominated to skate at Trophee Eric Bompard, the last of six events around the world in the 2010/2011 Grand Prix series, while Bonheur found a new partner in Adeline Canac-- the former partner of Coia.

And then it all became calm, until James posted her information today on, a popular website that helps pairs skaters locate others around the world who are also looking for partners. Does this mean that James and Coia are already finished after all of that drama? While we can't rule out the possibility of someone playing a mean joke, the fact that Vanessa lists her e-mail address and also links to videos on Facebook makes this seem like the partnership is over.

So, now we have poor Yannick Bonheur. I talked to a respected French source today prior to even hearing about James' listing on the website, and he informed me that Yannick would be holding a press conference in a few days to discuss the situation and once again reiterate that he had no idea he and James were splitting. The story, according to the source, is that Didier Gailhaguet (President of the FFSG) arranged the try-out behind Yannick's back, and he indeed walked into the rink one day to find the two skating together. Obviously, someone is completely lying about what happened. However, I really trust the person I spoke to about the situation, so I'm leaning towards it being James. If she really is already looking for another partner because she and Coia didn't work out, it looks like there was some definite karma against her!

One of the reasons that Bonheur might plan to hold a press conference now rather than when everything happened is that the election for President of the FFSG takes place Saturday, and he might want to strengthen a case versus current President Gailhaguet and encourage people not to vote for him. Also running are infamous judge from the Salt Lake City Olympics Marie-Reine Le Gougne, former dancer Alexandre Piton, and Michel-Ange Marie-Calixte, former bobsledder. Running with Piton for Vice-President is two-time Olympic bronze medalist Philippe Candeloro, while Marie-Calixte is scheduled to speak but support Le Gougne in her efforts to become President.

As always, I'll post updates as I hear them.


Anonymous said...

Surely Gailhaguet is just as infamous for having been the French fed president who pressured Le Gougne into biased judging in the first place? What do we know about the other candidates, competence-wise? Because the only two I recognize look like bad eggs to me...

Tony said...

The word in France seems to be that many people actually feel really bad for Le Gougne and they seem to be in agreement that she actually is a smart lady and just got caught in the unfortunate situation. Gailhaguet seems lined up to win again, but it's not like he has a huge following. He just (apparently) has the people that count most on his side.

I honestly don't know anything about the other candidates. I can try to find out some additional information, but as I mentioned, I'm hearing that Marie-Calixte might side with Le Gougne in her campaign to lead the Federation.