Even if you didn’t watch the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, it would have been hard not to have heard their story. Initially robbed of a Gold Medal after skating a flawless routine, husband and wife pair-skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier stood by their “Love Story” and became Canada’s Golden Couple.
Years before they found each other, Jamie and David had been on a search for the perfect partner – skating partner, that is. They grew up on opposite sides of Canada. At 12 years old, David moved from his hometown of Sayebec, Quebec, to a larger town of Rimouski to train. Meanwhile 10 year old Jamie was driving 2hrs with her mom to Edmonton three times a week to train. When Jamie was 15, they moved their permanently.
In 1996, when Jamie was 17 and David was 20, they had their first tryout. Unfortunately, neither skater was “in love” with the idea yet; David was not committed to moving West and Jamie was too young to move East alone. They parted ways, disappointed and still without their perfect match.
They each had moderate success with other partners, and even had brief careers as single skaters, but Jamie and David knew they were meant to be part of a pair. Two years later, after more failed partnerships (and a failed marriage for David), Jamie and David gave it one more shot. This time their on-ice chemistry was unmistakeable. The pair was complete.
Their romantic pairing stumbled at the gate. There was a definite language barrier as David was brought up speaking French and Jamie only spoke English. As the year went on things got easier and it wasn’t until the next year, when they began their Gold Medal Routine, that the real love story began to unfold.
Their choreographer at the time reported to People Magazine that “Every time they do the ‘spoon’ maneuver, Jamie likes remembering how special it felt the first time, but obviously she had to deny the feelings because there wasn’t a relationship yet.”
Fast forward 4 years to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. The romantic dips and lifts of their routine keep every spectator wondering, “are they, or aren’t they?” Jamie and David have just skated the performance of their lives and the crowd can only think one thing: Gold. The Canadians main competition are the Russian skaters, Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, who were actually good friends of Jamie and David.
The votes are in, the crowd can feel the excitement bubbling out of the Canadians, the winner is announced and… The Russians win by 5 votes to 4.
Canadian televisions and hearts are shattered across the country. There has to be some mistake.
Six days later, the world finds out there was a mistake. The French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne revealed that she was pressured to vote for the Russians regardless of the performances. After much debate, there is a tie for first place.
Jamie Sale and David Pelletier received their well-deserved Gold Medals, and in post-ceremony interviews finally answered the question on everyone’s minds: yes, they were a couple. They married on December 30, 2005. They have one son together and although their marriage did not last (they divorced on June 4, 2010), the still remain skating partners. They will forever be a perfect match on the ice.