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James, Bonheur make history

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM

HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC):

Bermudian Vanessa James, who now turns out for France, made history at the Vancouver Games when she and her partner Yannick Bonheur became the first black couple to compete in Olympic pairs skating.

James, 22, who attended school in Bermuda until she was 10 before moving to the United States to take advantage of greater skating opportunities, had a well-travelled road to the Olympics in which she and Bonheur finished 14th after the long programme on Monday night.

Apart from France, Canada-born James also previously competed for Great Britain.

She was allowed to skate for Great Britain because her father Kevin is Bermudian. She became the first black skating champion in Britain in 2006 and was runner-up the following year.

In 2008, she switched to pairs to team up with Bonheur. They won the French national championships.

This week, they electrified the crowd at the Pacific Coliseum with an acrobatic free skate programme.