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Thread: Sasha Leaves Tarasova For Robin Wagner

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    Sasha Leaves Tarasova For Robin Wagner

    http://www.sunspot.net/sports/bal-sp...ports-featured

    U.S. figure skater Cohen switching to Hughes' coach

    Sasha Cohen, a two-time U.S. figure skating silver medalist and the Grand Prix final champion last year, has split with Tatiana Tarasova, her coach the past 18 months, and hired Robin Wagner, who coached Sarah Hughes to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics.

    The U.S. championships are Jan. 4-11 in Atlanta.

    Hughes, a Yale freshman, has not competed since finishing sixth at the world championships last March.

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    Skating Diva Kara Bear's Avatar
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    IS THIS A BLOODY JOKE?

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    Genealogy Crazed
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    http://www.ctnow.com/sports/hc-sasha...adlines-sports

    Looks like it's true.

    (you have to register to read the article, but it's free)

    Lynn

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    Wow. I didn't expect this at such a critical time in the competitive season. I'm not really surprised it happened though. I wouldn't be surprised if Cohen becomes known for switching coaches in the next few years.

    I'm disappointed, because I think Tarasova's been mostly good for her. Sasha's become a better competitor and has turned up with some great programs, which Tarasova helped to choreograph. The programs she's had with Tarasova have been very suited to her. I'm not sure what she and Wagner will come up with.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Absurd! Tarasova has been a psychological help to Sasha as well as given her one of the best routines (Swan Lake Act III) among the current competitors.

    I'm sure Robin will be a fine coach but the bottom line is Sasha's ability to focus. Who can teach this?

    Joe

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    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Incredible...

    It seems like Sasha has done nothing but improve (overall) under TT's coaching. I couldn't get to the article on the first link provided, but read the second one. The only thing that article mentions by way of reason is a disagreement over whether Sasha should skate at the Michigan event? Given the results, it sounds like Sasha should have listened to her coach on that one. I really don't believe a coaching change would be made over that. I hope we eventually hear what was really behind this. Right before Nationals too. Just incredible.

    DG

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    Incredible is right! Wow, this is REALLY out of left field. I think Doggygirl is right that we won't get any info, if we do, over what really caused it, until time passes. I'm sure the reasons are far more complex than a disagreement over doing the IFSC.

    However, while I think the timing sucks, I'm not sure this is a bad move. Of course only time will tell. IMO, I never thought Sasha had a problem with concentration or focus. With Nicks, I think she lacked the discipline to stick to her program, but with Tarasova, I think the problem with mainly poor technique on her jumps, which I don't thing TT ever really addressed, and not knowing how to manage her energy throughout a program. But even if it is focus, of course you can teach that. Good coaches teach athletes how to focus and concentration everyday and there are many, many different techniques and approaches for teaching it. But as I said, I don't think focus has been Sasha's problem and ironically I think she demonstrated it at the GPF. She came back after the fall on the Lutz combo in the SP to skate very strongly and in the LP, she did not make the same mistake by rushing her opening jumps and stayed calm; it's just that IMO she stayed too calm so that when the slow section in the music came, she was still in "hold back" mode, which was all wrong for that section.

    Other than that, I don't know what to think about this. Of course I hope that Sasha does not become another Nicole Bobek in this regard. OTOH, a lot of TT's dance teams have been leaving her in the last few years--Grushina/Goncharov being the most notable. On the possible plus side, if Sasha and Robin Wagner click, it could be an even better collaboration. Wagner is, IMO, better at selecting superior music than Tarasova. In fact I was just thinking watching Alexei's program in the World Team Challenge the other day that he was skating to the same music by Michael Nyman--"Requiem"--that Grishuk and Platov did at the '98 Olympics. I think TT has a collection of certain pieces of music that she returns to again and again. Wagner, OTOH, while no Lori Nichol, has stayed away from warhorses, with a few exceptions. I was thrilled to see Sarah skate to "La Bayadere" last season plus her other musical choices for Sarah, expecially as Sarah got older, were generally more sophisticated than those for most skaters.

    Another possible plus--and I hate to say this--is that Wagner is a US coach. TT's other singles skaters, Kulik and Yags, were Russian. Tatiana knew the politics of the Russian federation, but not of the USFSA. Last year at Nats, which was TT's first US Nats, I felt that Tarasova was more nervous than Sasha, or at least as nervous, and that this did nothing to help Sasha cope with the pressure.

    On the possible negative side, Wagner never did much to address Sarah's flutz or some of her other technical problems. However, as others have said, Sarah almost never fell. She might double a planned triple if she wasn't in shape, but that girl stayed on her feet. Now whether that was Sarah or Wagner remains to be seen.

    Tarasova has certainly done tremendous things for Sasha, turned her into a promising skater to #1 in the world--though without Michelle or Irina in the mix. IMO, the question for the skater comes down to, "Do you stick with the coach and try to work through problems? Or do you follow your gut instincts and get out of a bad situation ASAP, even if the timing is bad?" I don't have an answer, but I hope Sasha made the right decision. Still it seems like awfully bad timing to do this right before Nats. However, perhaps Sasha was concerned about a repeat of last year and, assuming she makes the team, is trying to think ahead to Worlds.

    Just when you think there won't be any big surprises--BAM! Good luck Sasha and Robin.
    Rgirl

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    Isn’t this pretty wow. I’m just in shock but but I had a feeling. Maybe TT was too much for Sasha.

    I also can’t imagine Sasha breaking up with TT over that one event. It’s more to it but it might be a good thing for Sasha. I think things will be more relaxing but where will she get those great programs. Who knows, maybe Robin’s programs will look good on Sasha more than it did Sarah because of Sasha’s skills.
    Last edited by lavender; 12-24-2003 at 10:13 AM.

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    Wow, that is a surprise. Like Rgirl says, hope she doesn't become another Bobek with the coaching changes. That's kind of like blaming the coach for their own inability to follow through.

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Wow!! What a surprise. Someone from the AYDG board surmised that there may be something cooking with Joubert and Tatiana but it is just a thought with nothing backing it up. Sasha may have felt like she would not get all the attention of Tatiana. Who knows but I wish Sasha all the best. Time will tell.

    Dee

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    What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?
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    Well I am simply stunned...and that's an understatement! I wish her the best under Wagner!

    eliza88

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    Is this thread Sasha Cohen Dissected 2003?

    Helllllllllo RGirl

    You know I have been waiting for a long time to revisit this type of subject......you know you have been waiting too.....just waiting to discuss this with me again. The thing that makes this so wonderful is that YEARS have passed since we first dissected Sasha Cohen after Idle placed a photo of a beautiful porterhouse in a thread about her pushing beef to convince everyone that she does eat regular food and has no eating problems (she is gymnast thin by genetics and exercise at this time, and still lacks a more curvacious, feminine figure, but I assume she will fill out eventually).

    We can now discuss the history of a skater we both saw develop to this point who's career was discussed in its entirety on GS. Sasha herself has provided the huge, bonfire-sized pile of fuel for discussion, and you have touched on truthful points of many facets in your post----opening the door for an intense dissection of her career to this point, and comparing it to what we said two years ago. SWSNBN would have to be present and correctly medicated to participate, but imagine if that personality was thrown into the mix here

    I believe I have always maintained that Sasha's main problem in competing (not skating) has been herself, her personality, behavior and whimsical choices. She also shifts alliances based on short term goals, which are always her long term goals (to win the big ones, or at least get a medal at an international Worlds or Olympics). Actions speak louder than words, so her choices and performances now speak for themselves....no more talk about potential.

    I believe I also maintained her similarity to Nicole Bobek from the very beginning. They both never learned a true triple lutz, fall repeatedly in important competitions, change coaches often after a shorter time doesn't produce jump consistency, and never chose a coach that can truely help them correct bad habits in their jumping. Both are gorgeous skaters and are known for their spirals. Bobek began the emphasis on spirals being spectacular, MK improved to stay competitive and mastered the change edge spirals, all the US women improved, followed by the world's competitors. Sasha brought in gymnastics and pilates into her spirals, completely perfecting them in position and improves her edge quality consistently.

    It was always said of Bobek, "if she can hold it together and be consistent, she can win the whole competition, she has it all!" The same can easily be said of Sasha, and most of us have said it repeatedly, but Sasha continues to be a poorer competitor on the World, Olympic and even National stage than she is elsewhere. Why is that? We can only speculate, but it comes down to personality.

    I believe Sasha is not yet mature, but has control over major decisions, and this leaves behind a pattern of seemingly illogical decisions. With Nicks, she was not yet mature in her transitions, edges and skating quality, and she never learned a real SINGLE lutz, let alone a triple. All she talked about was being the best right then, and she was aggressive with other skaters and the media. Lots of fanfare and big talk about 3-3s and winning medals at Olympics and Worlds, only to disappoint when all was said and done. Did she pick a new coach, as was needed, to help her jump technique? No, she picked a skating coach, who has GREATLY helped her learn and improve in the areas of her skating, but has not corrected her bad habits on the one thing all the skaters need---the difficult lutz and 3-3 combos. Sasha has always had trouble with her 3 toe also, and this continues to be a nemesis jump for her. Bobek also changed coaches often after she never stayed long enough to correct the real technical jump troubles and be consistent so she could be competitive.

    Why did Sasha do this? Is MK in her head? Maybe. Sasha changes three weeks before a major event, just like MK did (but she was coachless) in 2001-02, and picks the one american coach to beat MK in the SLC Olympics. But this is probably based on geography---Wagner is in NY, and all the other coaches in the area are Russian/Ukrainian, etc. and Sasha may be shut out there and move back to California soon. We will see where her whim takes her in her search to beat MK when it counts, which is her long term goal (and short term goal).

    I think Sasha has improved such a huge amount in her skating, edges, MITF, spins and flow under TT that it is rhetorical to discuss it here. She has become a magnificent skater, but her problem is in competing. Is MK in her head? Actions and outcomes speak louder than words, and the answer is definitely yes. She knows deep inside that MK is loved and considered by many as the best ever, even when she falls and disappoints. Sasha knows that even if she outjumps MK and skates her best, many will still like MK more, and in the public's eye, she can never be "better" than MK---she can only hope to outskate her. In terms of the judges, the CoP has helped her gain confidence in her abilities, but no CoP competitions yet with MK in the horizon, and she knows MK will get the 5.8s and 5.9s and be very hard to beat.

    Knowing she can't be "better" than MK, Sasha only hopes to outskate her on the big night to win. She wants it right now, right now, this year, this year, right now...... but the pressure is enormous and since she never found a teacher-student relationship long enough with someone who can correct her jump technique to do the triples properly and spectacularly in combination, she falls and doesn't win her precious medal or title.

    A vicious cycle produces which we have seen in other skaters who have the potential to be great competitors, but continually disappoint and never win what they work so hard to achieve. They change coaches, find the bad habits too hard to correct, fall down the ranks, change coaches again, cycle upward somewhat, return to bad habits, fall, and move on again-----never correcting what they need to correct to be strong competitors. Bobek. Bonaly----never fixed her skating quality and was stubborn about it and never won a World title or Oly medal. Tara changed coaches just long enough to win with in Nagano, and returned to her former coach. Never fixed her toe jump technique and was always injured and her career was short. Many wannabes exhibit this type of career decision making process, but the mature thing to do is work it out with a coach who obviously is good for you and stick with it and build a career.

    Sasha is upset that she has a seemingly present mental block of competing against MK, so she changes coaches. She should be more patient and work even harder with TT et al, but the immature decision wins out, and it is a set back, because you have to start all over. If Sasha implodes this Nats and Worlds, she could blame the change to RW, and want to change her life again. Only more time will tell.

    How is that for a start, RGirl? I think my prediction of a Bobek-repeat of history is drawing out to be a good analogy, and Sasha's worst enemy in the big competitions is Sasha herself.

    But, she has become a magnificent skater.

    AS

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    I can't beleive it! Sasha always talked sooooo much about how good it was to train with TT. They seemed to have such a great connection. And the timimg -- just before the Nationals!

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    Wow AdultSkater. I don’t know about all that now since Nationals hasn’t come and gone. I think it’s slightly early to say. I mean Sasha trains hard unlike Bobek. I also think TT can be stressful for Sasha although I think Sasha puts more pressure on herself.

    Who knows, Sasha has trained hard all season and can still win. I know Michelle gets in Sasha's head but I can attribute that much to Michelle.
    Last edited by lavender; 12-24-2003 at 10:40 AM.

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    Mr. Michelle Kwan Spirit's Avatar
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    Does this make Sasha and Sarah step-sisters?

    It occurred to me that Robin might simply be an interim, "emergency" coach until Sasha finds someone else more to her liking. Part of the student/coaching relationship is the need to live near each other geographically, and Robin is nearby. I can't help but think of Sasha's family, who quit their jobs and changed schools and moved across the country just so Sasha could train with Tatiana. Without the luxury of moving again in the middle of the season, Sasha's choices of a replacement coach may have been severely limited simply due to geography. Perhaps we'll see another coaching change in the off-season?

    For the most part, Sasha has made good choices for herself and for her career, and has continued to improve each year because of them. Although this change is a shocker, I can't discount her track record of making decisions which lead to better things.

    Sarah and Robin got along tremendously well. They had a special kind of synergy you just wish for in a coach and pupil. Sasha and Sarah seem to have very different personalities and approaches to problems. I just can't see the same kind of synergy between Robin and Sasha. But that's just me. If I truly knew so much about people I've never met, I'd be a rich man.

    One entity licking their chops over this is ABC. Nothing improves ratings more than juicy, juicy gossip, complex relationships and a little implied acrimony. I'm currently checking to see if there's any legal way I can get a dollar for every time Terry Gannon will mention this coaching change, 'cause I need some new bedroom furniture.

    Sasha has the potential to be one of the all-time greats. Hope it all works out.

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