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Pairs competitor taken off ice after being cut by skate

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Canadian coach Annie Barabe
visited pairs skater Jessica Dube in the hospital and said she's
doing "OK" after being hit below the left eye by partner Bryce
Davison's skate in the free skate competition Thursday at Four
Continents.

"She's in good spirits and sent her well wishes to all of the
skaters," Barabe said in a statement. "She's being attended to at
the hospital right now and is receiving excellent medical
attention."

After being struck by Davison's skate, Dube immediately fell to
the ice and clutched at her face as blood pooled on the ice.
Davison comforted her as the medical staff rushed onto the ice, put
her on a stretcher and took her to a local hospital.

Dube underwent surgery Thursday night to repair the laceration. She will be kept overnight at a Colorado Springs hospital for observation.

"She has a significant laceration to the left cheek," said International Skating Union medical advisor Jane Moran, who wouldn't elaborate on the length of the cut.

Moran said the eye was not affected and nothing was broken.

The pair was on their third rotation of a side-by-side camel --
where one leg is parallel to the ice as they spin -- when Davison
began to drift toward Dube, catching her with his skate.

She was crying as she was being attended to on the ice.

"It's one of those things -- you want to be close. But how close
is close?" said Paul Martini, a 1984 world champion in pairs and a
Canadian commentator.

The couple missed the 2006-07 Grand Prix Series as Dube
recovered from a knee injury. They won the Canadian nationals in
late January.

They were in eighth place coming into Thursday's performance
after Dube fell on her entry into a salchow in Wednesday's short
program.

The injury had an effect on the Canadian team.

"We're all pretty close. We all know each other," Anabelle
Langlois said. "We definitely know the dangers of every spin,
every move. So when something does happens, it's a shock. It kind
of rattles everyone a little bit."

American John Baldwin was definitely thinking about it during
his free skate routine with Rena Inoue.

"It's a little distracting because it kind of puts in your mind
how dangerous pairs skating is," Baldwin said. "There are so many
things that can go wrong. What happened tonight is just a freak
occurrence. The girls take a lot of risks out there. We're kind of
the strength and they're the daredevils."

Even the winning pairs team of Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo was more
cautious after the accident.

"We were [farther] apart from each other [on the side-by-side
spin]," Shen said.