- Category : Figure Skater
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (16,57)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Wishes 1
Jamie Rae Salé (born April 21, 1977) is a Canadian pair skater. With partner David Pelletier, she is a 2002 Olympic Champion and the 2001 World Champion. Salé & Pelletier's Olympic gold medal was shared with the Russian pair Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze after the 2002 Olympic Winter Games figure skating scandal.
Early life and career
Salé was born in Calgary, Alberta. She competed first as a singles skater, winning the novice bronze medal and placing 8th in junior ladies at the Canadian Championships. In 1994, Salé won the short program and finished with the bronze medal in the junior event at the Canadian Championships. That same year, she achieved her biggest success to date by winning the senior bronze medal with her pairs partner, Jason Turner. They were named to the 1994 Canadian Olympic team and placed 12th at the Lillehammer Olympics. They placed 16th at the 1994 World Championships in Chiba, Japan, but ended their partnership that August.
Salé returned to singles skating. She placed 5th at the 1995 Canadian Championships, but struggled with injuries which caused her to withdraw from the 1997 Championships. Salé returned in 1998 and skated a strong short program, but was only able to land one of five planned triples in her long program and placed 6th.
Return to pair skating
Salé had a tryout with David Pelletier in the summer of 1996, but it did not lead to a partnership. After her moderate success in singles, she decided to give pairs one last shot. Coach Richard Gaulthier, who was helping Pelletier find a partner, suggested Salé. He and Pelletier went to Edmonton in February 1998 to try out with Salé again. "The first time we grabbed hands, it was just great," said Pelletier, and by the next month Salé had moved to Montréal to skate with Pelletier.
The Canadian Figure Skating Association invited the pair to compete at Skate Canada, where they placed second in the short program – ahead of reigning Canadian Champions Kristy Sargeant and Kris Wirtz – and third in the long program to win the bronze medal. Because of their success, they were invited to the NHK Trophy in Japan and won another bronze medal.
Their fall successes made them favorites for the Canadian title, but they struggled technically and finished second. The silver medal earned them a spot on the Four Continents and World team, but Pelletier's back pain forced the pair to withdraw from both competitions. They spent two months off the ice recuperating.
In the summer of 1999, Gaulthier enlisted the help of Lori Nichol, a successful Canadian choreographer who was known for her work with Michelle Kwan. She created a playful tango piece for their short program, and, after a suggestion from coach Marijane Stong, set their long program to music from the movie Love Story.
They won several competitions with this program. At the 1999 Skate America competition, they defeated the reigning and two-time world champions and Olympic silver medalists Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze by winning both the short and long programs. At their second Grand Prix event, Nations Cup, they finished second to Russians Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov. With these solid results they went into the Grand Prix Final with high hopes and even higher expectations. However, several errors in both programs landed them in fifth place.
They competed at the 2000 Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Salé's hometown of Calgary. They skated a strong short program but exceeded even their own expectations by skating a nearly flawless long program, earning five 6.0 marks in presentation – the first for a pair at the championships. They also captured another 6.0 and the gold medal at the Four Continents Championships in Osaka, Japan.
Expectations mounted before the 2000 World Championships in Nice, France. There, Salé had a major error on a spin in the short program, and they were placed third. During the long program, she again struggled, this time with her jumps, and they placed fourth overall.
Salé and Pelletier returned to Lori Nichol for their 2000–01 programs. She choreographed a jazzy short to "Come Rain or Come Shine" and a dramatic, mature long to Wagner's opera "Tristan und Isolde." They returned to Skate America and Skate Canada that fall, winning both over Shen/Zhao and Berezhnaia/Sikharulidze, respectively. Berezhnaia/Sikharulidze then defeated them at Trophée Lalique.
The pair was again successful at the 2001 Canadian Championships in Winnipeg, but did not earn the string of 6.0s that "Love Story" had brought them the previous year. They went on to win again at Four Continents in Salt Lake City, the site for the 2002 Olympics, and revived "Love Story" to win the Grand Prix Final – despite Salé missing the side by side triple toe loop in all three phases of the competition.
The 2001 World Championships were held in Vancouver, and Salé and Pelletier entered as heavy favorites. Trouble on the side by side jumps landed them in third place in the short program, but the team was placed first in the long program despite Salé singling a side-by-side double axel. They were the first Canadian pair to win Worlds since Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler in 1993, and the first pair to win at a Worlds held in Canada since Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini in 1984. They would later win the Lou Marsh Trophy as outstanding Canadian athlete in 2001.
2002 Winter Olympics
Salé and Pelletier again had early success in the 2001–02 season, winning both Skate America and Skate Canada with their new long program to "Adagio Sostenuto" by Rachmaninoff, nicknamed "Orchid" for its flower theme.
The Grand Prix Final, held in Kitchener, Ontario, was important because it was the only chance to test their programs against the top contenders before the Olympics. Despite a rough performance of "Orchid" in the first long program, Salé and Pelletier once again won the event, skating a clean performance of "Love Story" for their second long program. They headed into the 2002 Canadian Championships in Hamilton, Ontario with confidence, having defeated Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze, their biggest rivals. They were able to win the title despite missing several elements in the long program, and the performance increased talks that they would revert to "Love Story" for the Olympic Games.
The pressure for the Olympics was intense. Despite several silvers and bronzes, Canada had only won two gold medals in figure skating, in 1948 and 1960. All eyes were on Salé and Pelletier to break the streak and win, overcoming the Russian pairs dominance that had lasted for 40 years. They skated a clean short program, only to trip and fall on their closing pose. Because the fall was not on an element, it did not receive a deduction. They placed second behind Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze. In the long program, Sale and Pelletier also placed second. A minor jump step out error from Sikharulidze and a clean program from the Canadians had many convinced that Salé and Pelletier had won the gold but when the judges' scores came up, Salé and Pelletier were placed second in the long program. Five judges had awarded the long program to Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze, and only four to Salé and Pelletier. This result spurred an outcry from the North American media and booing from many audience members, but Salé and Pelletier accepted the silver medal. The next day, the French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne admitted she had been pressured into awarding the long program to the Russians in exchange for a first-place vote for the French ice dancing team of Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, and a judging controversy quickly blew up. The scandal ultimately resulted in the suspension of several judges and officials, and Le Gougne's vote was discarded, leaving the long program a tie. Salé and Pelletier were awarded gold medals in a special ceremony later in the week.
The controversy resulted in several changes to the judging system. First, anonymous judging was incorporated to "relieve outside pressure" from judges by separating their names from their marks so pressurers could not assert whether the judge had acted as they wished. After two years of this system, the Code of Points was implemented and began use in the Grand Prix season of 2003–04, and full usage for all 2004–05 competitions and thereafter.
Since Salt Lake City
Since the Olympics, the pair has turned professional and are now touring North America with Stars on Ice, a figure skating show.
Salé and Pelletier were engaged on Christmas Day of 2004 at their Edmonton, Alberta home and married on December 30, 2005 at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in Alberta. In 2006, they served as commentators on Olympic Ice which aired on USA Network during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. They welcomed their first child, a boy named Jesse Joe Pelletier, on September 30, 2007 at the Sturgeon Community Hospital and Health Centre in St. Albert, Alberta.
Salé and Pelletier were inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 2008. They were inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame on March 26, 2009.
In the first year of the CBC's Battle of the Blades, Salé won the competition with hockey player Craig Simpson, (currently lead analyst for Hockey Night in Canada). On the second season of Battle of the Blades, Salé was paired with Theoren Fleury.
On June 4, 2010, it was reported that Salé and Pelletier would divorce; however, they will remain skating partners.
On June 20, 2012 Salé married her Battle of the Blades partner, Craig Simpson. The couple had their first child Samantha Rae Simpson on Sunday July 7th 2013.
Salé is currently a judge on Battle of The Blades Season 4.