Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison were preparing for a final Pre-Olympics training session Friday afternoon at a suburban Vancouver rink when the news filtered down from Whistler.
There had been an accident at the luge run, and it didn't look good for a 21-year-old Georgian named Nodar Kumaritashvili.
Immediately, Dube and Davison's thoughts to Colorado Springs, Colo., three years ago when a near tragedy hit the figure skating ice.
Completing a camel spin in their free program during the Four Continents competition, the skaters lost their bearings and Davison's skate blade knifed through Dube's face.
She fell to the ice, a pool of blood quickly building.
"It's devastating news," Davison said of the luger, who was pronounced dead Friday afternoon, casting a pall over last night's opening ceremonies and the entire Games.
"And you can't help but think back to our accident. It could have been a tragedy, too, but at the end of the day, when you make it through it, everything - sports and otherwise - means that much more to you.
"We're lucky and, I suppose, unlucky to know about having such a terrible accident. It gives a whole new meaning to your skating."
Over 80 stitches were required to close Dube's wound from the middle of her cheek over the her nose. She also had plastic surgery.
Davison took the accident especially hard, blaming himself.
The day it happened, he and coach Annie Barabe were on the phone to the figure skating team's sports psychologist.
"Luckily, he has a brother who is a clinical psychiatrist who specializes in post traumatic stress," Davison said.
"That was great for myself and Annie, who had to see everything. Sure, Jess was the one with the injury, but she was lucky enough to be in shock and not really remember too much.
"Annie and I remembered everything and it took a lot of work for us to come to grips with it."
10th in Torino
The Vancouver Olympics are Dube and Davison's second Games, having finished 10th in Torino four years ago.
They climbed to seventh at the 2007 world championship and then won bronze at the 2008 worlds.
Davison and Dube regressed last year, placing seventh at the worlds in Los Angeles.
The Canadians had a shaky practice Wednesday when Dube fell twice and the pair nearly ran into a German duo.
But they felt much better at Friday's workout, Dube said.
"I think it's been better and better every day," she said. "It looks good for the actual competition, I think."
Among their competitors in the pairs program are current world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, three-time world champs Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo and their Chinese teammates and 2006 Olympic silver medallists, Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao.
The pairs short program goes Sunday.