From the USFSA website:
Cohen and Wagner Meet the Press Together
Sasha Cohen at the ISU Grand Prix Final
Photo by Paul Harvath
(12/30/03) — Tuesday, Dec. 30, marked the one week anniversary of Sasha Cohen working with coach Robin Wagner. While that isn't a lot of time together, Cohen and Wagner both said in a media teleconference Tuesday that they are pleased with how things are going and are ready to compete at the 2004 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Atlanta next week.
Coaching changes at this point in the season are rare. But health problems that plague Cohen's former coach Tatiana Tarasova precipitated the change. Cohen announced the change on Christmas Eve, just three weeks before the U.S. Championships were set to begin. Cohen said she knew what she could gain in the long run from working with Wagner, and that made the change worth it.
"With this one week already behind us we've already made a lot of improvements," Cohen said. "I feel really comfortable with Robin, and we still have a whole other week before nationals. I feel great, and I'm really glad I switched when I did. I'm really happy with my decision."
The change happened quickly. Wagner said it started with dinner with Cohen's parents on Sunday, Dec. 21, to discuss the situation. The switch was confirmed on Monday, Dec. 22, and Wagner was on the ice with Cohen on Tuesday, Dec. 23. The two have been training in various places — this week in Simsbury — but Cohen said it's most likely they'll end up in Hackensack, N.J. Despite how quickly the situation evolved, Wagner said she is glad to be coaching Cohen.
"I spent a lot of time talking with Sasha, and I felt confident that she was comfortable with the decision," Wagner said. "As long as she was 100 percent go [with the decision] I certainly had no doubts that we would be fine for nationals."
Cohen said she chose Wagner because the coach possessed the attributes she was looking for, including being dedicated to her skaters, enjoying coaching and having experience.
"When we work together she brought back more of the fun and joy to training," Cohen said of Wagner. "At the same time she pushes me just as hard, if not harder. I think the two of those combined are going to be great in the long run to keep up the enjoyment, just having fun over the next few years — getting to where I want to be but enjoying the process as well."
Wagner, of course, is best known for coaching Sarah Hughes to the Olympic gold medal in 2002. Wagner said she hasn't been on the ice with Hughes since April when Hughes competed at the ABC Sports International Figure Skating Challenge in Bridgeport, Conn. Hughes hasn't competed this season after starting college at Yale University in the fall. Wagner said she hasn't talked with Hughes since taking the job with Cohen but did leave a message for Hughes.
"She didn't express any interest in coming back to competitive skating," Wagner said of Hughes. "I'm a competitive coach — that's what I love, that's where my heart is. I love the tension, the pressure, the competitive scene. I love the media. So I was anxious to move my career on, and I'm able to do that now."
Wagner said earlier in the year she had some skaters interested in her as a coach. But she said she didn't pursue those relationships because she didn't think it would have been the best situation for either the skaters or her.
"I decided to wait it out," Wagner said. "Now I'm glad I did."