Olympic medalists Joannie Rochette and Patrick Chan could hardly contain their joy Thursday morning at the Atrium 1000 ice rink in downtown Montreal. On the one hand, because they were putting on skates again, and on the other hand, because they will be the ambassadors of the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal, in March 2024.

“It’s something big, I’m jealous. I would have liked to experience that in Montreal,” explained Rochette on the podium, in the center of the ice rink.

A little later, away from the spotlight, she landed. “I have to take off my skates. They’re new and they’re not broken yet,” she said, untying her old work tool.

“It’s not the same as the Olympics in terms of size, but for us — emphasizing the last word — it’s the most important competition of the year,” she said. before retracting: “I say ‘we’, but I mean when I was a skater. »

Present for the announcement of the ambassadors, the vice-president of the International Skating Federation, Benoit Lavoie, did not hide the intentions of the organizing committee: “It will be a high quality event. It will be historic! It will be remembered for a long time,” he said in his Federation jacket.

“Compared to the Olympics, it’s the same level,” says skater Marjorie Lajoie at the edge of the rink, both skates on the red carpet rolled out for the occasion.

Nikolaj Sorensen and Laurence Fournier Beaudry took fifth place two months ago at the last World Championships in Japan, after the best season of their careers.

These Worlds in Montreal will be the chance to achieve their biggest goal: getting on the podium in World Championships. “We’re not hiding it, we want a medal,” Sorensen said.

Last season, the couple ticked all the boxes on their wish list. Both skated up to their own standards. “The pressure, it mostly comes from us. »

In Montreal, in less than a year, perhaps the contribution of an already conquered crowd could propel them to the podium, believes Fournier Beaudry.

For Zachary Lagha, Lajoie’s partner, the key is to forget the context and just do what they do best. “It’s just another ice cream,” he says seriously while his teammate laughs. Whether in Montreal, Sweden or Japan, you just have to skate. It’s great that it’s in Montreal and for sure there will be more noise, but despite everything, it’s still a competition. You just have to skate! »

The other ambassador of the event, Patrick Chan, remembers the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, on Canadian soil. The only advice he would have for Canadian skaters would be to enjoy it as much as possible, because memories are all that will be left once the skates are hooked up.

“It’s super intense to have that in our house. They must all remember the work done to get there. You shouldn’t take everything too seriously. I’m 32 years old, I have some perspective, and I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t take the time to fully enjoy it. I was too serious, too intense, too focused. You have to have fun, it’s sport. »

Tickets go on sale June 15.