Canadian pairs skaters Emilie Demers-Boutin, 15, and Pierre-Philippe Joncas, 20, made their international debut at the 2006 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Ljubljana, Slovenia with a seventh place finish. That came on the heels of their fourth-place finish in junior pairs at the 2006 Canadian Nationals in Ottawa. They had finished sixth in 2005, just missing the international team.
Joncas began skating when he was three years old. “I first went skating on a family outing,” he said. “My sister and I both skated. She tried skating for a year, and then switched to hockey and plays in a national league. I tried hockey and some other team sports, but I prefer individual sports so I stayed in skating. I competed in singles, but my best place was tenth in pre-novice in 1999. Then I had a back injury and I knew if I wanted to continue, it would have to be in pairs. I started doing pairs in 2001. I like it because you can do more spectacular things in pairs. There’s less jumps so it’s easier on my back.”
Demers Boutin started skating at four. “I went there only to learn how to skate, but then I realized I was good at it so I kept going,” she recalled. “I was 12th in novice in Sectionals in Quebec. But I started to pairs in 2002 because someone asked me to do it because I was small. I like it because I’m not alone when I practice. There are more things to work on in pairs than in singles, not just jumps and spins.”
The couple started skating together in July 2004. “My partner stopped for no reason,” Joncas said. “Emilie was also my coach’s student so we tried out and it worked well.” They train for two hours a day, five days a week, while Demers Boutin also does an hour and a half of singles practice daily. They do another hour a day off ice together and 2-3 hours in the gym separately. Annik Douaire and Valerie Saurette coach the couple, while Saurette and Julie Brault choreograph their programs.
Their 2005-06 short program, skated to “The Big Turist” by P. Johnson and “The Wild Ones” by L. Busch, was the same as they used in 2004-05. “Our coach skated at Worlds with this music,” Demers Boutin said. “We were comfortable skating to it.” Their long program was new for 2005-06. “After Canadians last year, we were talking about music and thinking about gangsters,” Joncas said. “We thought about using west Side Story and everyone thought it was a good idea. It gives us more energy and keeps us awake. I like music that’s free and happy. With classical music, it’s hard for us to show enough maturity.”
Off ice, Joncas said he listens to classical music “to make me feel more calm”, while Demers Boutin prefers commercial radio music. He also likes to play tennis, read philosophy and Agatha Christie novels, play video games during holidays and draw sketches of architecture. “I also have a great passion for ships,” he said. Demers Boutin enjoys snowboarding, riding horses and reading. Her favorites include fantasy, Harry Potter and Agatha Christie. She keeps all of her stuffed animals including a mouse that she carries in her skate bag because of her nickname, Little Mouse. She also has a pet cat.
She also helps her parents, who build houses, work on the weekends by carrying wood and doing other odd jobs. Joncas is in his first year at the University of Montreal studying architecture. Demers Boutin is in her last year of high school. “I plan to go to university and study something to do with animals,” she said.
During the summer, the couple plans to work on side-by-side triple toe loops and triple salchows. They also hope to make their throw triple flip more consistent and work on their triple twist. “Right now it’s not very good, but they can do it,” Douaire said.