But for the arrival of his current partner, Vanessa James, Yannick’s career could have come to a screeching halt after his former partner, Marylin Pla, retired from figure skating in 2007. A week later, I moved to France," says the pretty skater. 10 days later, despite the language barrier - Vanessa did not speak a word of French -, the couple showed up at an amateur gala in Courchevel.After two years of legal proceedings, and with the intervention of the National Commission of elite sport, Vanessa’s French passport was issued only a few days before Christmas.The selection of the couple was confirmed on February 1, just fifteen days before the Vancouver Olympics.Dancing to the tune of Romeo and Juliette, the duo received a standing ovation after a memorable performance, and although they placed a distant fourteenth, history was made.They are first black figure skating pair ever at the Winter Olympics.Natacha Mikolo is a communications and marketing professional and is an avid entertainment contributor for various panafrican medias.A real world citizen, born in Congo Brazzaville and currently living in France, Natacha has also lived in Cuba, Zimbabwe, Congo and England.
The 28 year old Martinique-island-born Yannick Bonheur is not new on the French sports landscape.
He began participating in French championships in 2002 and held the French championship title, alongside his former partner Marylin Pla, for three consecutive years; 2005, 2006, 2007.
But despite the roaring standing ovation from the audience, this result remains a disappointment for the two. And Vanessa agrees with them: “at the Olympics we will compete against couples that have been skating together from five years to fifteen years”.
In fact, veteran couple Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, skated together for 17 years before taking home a gold medal at the Vancouver games. Despite having already represented France at various international competitions, Canadian-born Vanessa, whose parents are English, needed a French passport to be able to represent France at the Olympics.
She considers herself at home wherever there is great food, music, Wi Fi and, of course, people to write about.
The French skating pair, Yannick Bonheur and Vanessa James electrified spectators at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.