It's the off-season, and that means that it's time for the Summer Interview with Jonathan!  Thank you to everyone who sent questions.  A great caliber of fans sending a great caliber of questions resulted in well, a great interview, what else?  So without further ado, let's get to the good stuff and find out about Jonathan's future in skating, what he thinks of bad movies and of course, answers to your questions on the 2004 World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

JG.com:  There has been a LOT of talk about the ISU and the size of the rink in Gothenburg because it was too small.  What do you have to say about the rink's size and how it affected the skating at the competition?  Do you think that it had something to do with the other injuries and the severity of the injuries that skaters suffered?

Jonathan:  Probably, it sure didn't help anything.  As we know it now, the size of the rink was too small.  I don't think it affected the skating in general, only the falls.  The mats were not very good, either.

JG.com:  Why did Canada pull out of the 3000m and 5000m races?

Jonathan:  Because of those things:  the size of the rink, the mats, the injuries.

JG.com:  As you started to fall, did you think you might be able to recover and stand back up?

Jonathan:  No, because when the Korean skater hit my blade, I fell on my side and I knew I could not recover before hitting the mats.


JG.com:  As you slid toward the wall, did you know you would be hurt?

Jonathan:  I was not sure, but the way I was going into the mats I was afraid so.  The only thing I was thinking about was the blades.  I did not want to get cut.  Seung-Jae's blades were very close to my body, and I didn't want either of us to get cut, so I raised my legs in the air to avoid cutting him.

JG.com:  When you hit the wall, did you know that you had broken something?

Jonathan:  I did not know that it was broken, but the amount of pain was considerable in my back.  I knew I could not stand up and I had to go out on a stretcher.

Photographer Unknown ~ Submitted by Klaude Lauzon
Jo's placed on a stretcher after crashing into the boards headfirst in Gothenburg, March 20, 2004



JG.com:  What was your surgery like?  How long did it take to perform?  Will the rods and pins be removed eventually, or will they stay in your back?

Jonathan:  Surgery went very well.  It took 3 hours.  They will remove the metal pieces in about 4 months, so around August.

JG.com:  What is the name of the doctor (or doctors) who performed the surgery?

Jonathan:  I don't remember his name.  But I remember his face.  ;o)  I'm not good with names, but I never forget a face.

JG.com:  Who stayed with you in the hospital while you were in Sweden?

Jonathan:  My girlfriend Amélie and my coach Guy Thibault were there the whole time and my mother arrived just after my surgery.

JG.com:  What was it like flying home on the plane?  Was a doctor there with you?  What special provisions were made to assure a safe trip home?

Jonathan:  It was great.  I was in first class on Air France.  Good service.  ;o)  There was a nurse who was traveling with me (the insurance company wanted that).

JG.com:  What has your recovery been like?  What will you have to do for your physical therapy?

Jonathan:  Right now I only have to rest for a month so the bone can heal.  Once that's done, I will start to do some rehab for the muscles and ligaments.  I have a very good team of people around me in Montréal.

JG.com:  How will recovery from this injury differ from your femur fracture (other than the fact that one was a leg and one was a back injury?)

Jonathan:  Well, like you are saying, this one is the back.  The other time it was the femur.  Because this is a sport that uses the legs a lot, I would say that the recovery for my femur fracture was the hardest one.  I could not walk at all for a month then.  Now, with my back, I am able to walk, sit by myself, go to bed by myself and take my shower alone.  I am much more independent and I feel less like an handicapped person than I felt 5 years ago.

JG.com:  Will you be able to return to skating?

Jonathan:  Oh yes, I was pretty lucky.  The vertebra fractured horizontally and opened when I hit the boards, then came back to the same place right after.  It could have touched the neural part easily [the spinal cord] and I could have been paralyzed for the rest of my life.  But thankfully it's only the bone that was affected, so as soon as that is healed (takes 4 to 6 weeks) I will be able to bend over again and then start training easily.  In 3 months I can start skating again.

JG.com:  This is sort of silly, but does it hurt when you sneeze or when you laugh?

Jonathan:  The first 2 weeks it did a lot.  Now it's getting better.  At the hospital after the surgery I was having some secretions and it made me cough a lot.  I had to concentrate to control that because it was hurting a lot.  Same thing when I was laughing or sneezing.  I think its like a rib fracture.  It would hurt when you do those things, too.

Photographer Unknown
Palm trees are silhouetted againgst a brilliant sunset in Thailand.


JG.com:  Is there anything else about the incident, the surgery or the recovery that was not asked that you would like to share?

Jonathan:  Yes, there is.  I had planned a long vacation with my girlfriend after the World Championships.  We were supposed to come back to Montréal for a week and then leave for forty days in southeast Asia:  one week in Cambodia and the rest in Thailand and maybe Malaysia, too.  Our plane tickets were booked and paid for, but I will have to take this trip next year instead.  That was the first thing I thought about when I was lying on the ice.  I was so frustrated because of that, and I still am.

Down, But Not Out ... page 2