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Joannie Rochette to skate tribute to her mother on ABC's 'Thin Ice'

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Image Credit: Rochette:Paul Drinkwater/NBC; Hasselbeck: Bob D’Amico/ABC; Lambiel: Reuters/Ints Kalnins/Landov Details are beginning to emerge about ABC’s live two-night figure skating competition Thin Ice airing March 19 and March 21. Today, it was announced that Canada’s Joannie Rochette, who brought us to tears with the courage she showed competing in Vancouver and earning a bronze medal after her mother’s sudden death, will make a special appearance on the first evening to skate a tribute to her mom. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who’ll host the event with Canada’s four-time World Champion Kurt Browning, told reporters today that like everyone, she was glued to the TV during Rochette’s performances at the Olympics. “I didn’t know I could hold my breath for that long. I believe that there is that relatable compassion, fear, and hope that everyone watching had. Talk about uniting the globe in a matter of minutes. Everyone was pulling for her, feeling for her, having been through the experience or fearing it happening to them too….What a chance to see something like that again,” Hasselbeck said, “to capture that moment and have another dedication to her mom, it’s truly a gift. I can say without any hesitation or doubt that everyone will be holding their breath again.”

Thin Ice will partner 10 professional figure skaters — from all four skating disciplines — into five first-time couples. They’ll perform two two-minute routines, one each night, to pop music. Dancing With the Stars’ Mark Ballas and Fatima Robinson, known for her work with the Black Eyed Peas, are among the choreographers being used. The only program requirement is that it entertains the voting public and the judges (Kristi Yamuguchi, Katarina Witt, and Dick Button). The $220,000 in prize money will be determined by a four-part vote: At-home viewers and the judges on Friday night, and the judges and 3,000 audience members at Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino on Sunday. The pairings:

Switzerland’s Stéphane Lambiel (2006 Olympic Men’s silver medalist, who finished fourth in Vancouver) & Japan’s Shizuka Arakawa (2006 Olympic Ladies’ gold medalist)

Canada’s David Pelletier (2002 Olympic Pairs’ co-gold medalist) & Russia’s Elena Berezhnaya (2002 Olympic Pairs’ co-gold medalist)

Canada’s Patrice Lauzon (five-time Canadian National Ice Dancing champion) & Canada’s Jamie Salé (2002 Olympic Pairs’ gold medalist)

America’s John Zimmerman (three-time U.S. National Pairs’ champion) & Canada’s Shae-Lynn Bourne (2003 World Ice Dancing Champion)

America’s Michael Weiss (three-time U.S. National Men’s champion) & Canada’s Marie-France Dubreuil (five-time Canadian National Ice Dancing champion)

What do you think? Worth tuning in for? Watching Lambiel spin is always a delight, reliving the 2002 Olympic Pairs’ judging scandal is guaranteed with producers shrewdly pairing Pelletier and Berezhnaya, and one never knows who Button will turn on. Also, as I’ve previously admitted, when I was a young, I loved Kurt Browning enough to look up his hometown in an encyclopedia. So, I’m in.

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