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Thread: "One, Two, Whose Coach Are You?"

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    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    "One, Two, Whose Coach Are You?"

    As I was watching my 1991 National tape, it was mentioned that Christopher Bowman's coach of 18 years was Frank Carrol before he switched to Toller Cranston.........It got me thinking (now there's a scary thought) of the number of coaching changes that take place, and which prominent skaters, past and present, shared equally prominent coaches.......

    Now I know that Frank Carrol coached both Bowman, Michelle, Frattione, and Angela, as well as Tim G. Which other coaches had other prominent skaters, and which skaters went on to switch coaches........I'm guessing we could compile quite a list....42

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    I think Bowman was one of those skaters who pretty much changed every year. I've heard he went through a lot of coaches.

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    Good thread, show 42!

    Unfortunately, I cannot recall the various skaters that have switched coaches over the coarse of their respective f.s. careers (too common IMHO). :\

    I think a far better question would be "which skaters stayed with the same coach (had only one coach) throughout his/her eligible senior f.s. career?" The ones that immediately come to mind are Brian Boitano & Linda Leaver, Kristi Yamaguchi & Christy Ness, Oksana Baiul & Galina Zmievskaya, Sarah Hughes & Robin Wagner, Midori Ito & ? (sorry, can't recall her name), Sonja Henie & her father, Surya Bonaly & her mother, Irina Slutskaya or Maria Butyrskaya & her longtime coach (sorry, can't recall her name; she wouldn't leave her no matter the RSF's threats IIRC), Hungarian skater from the early 90's & her father (whom used to skate in Dick Button's era), Nancy Kerrigan & The Scotvolds, Katarina Witt & her longtime coach Jutta Mueller , Linda Fratianne & Frank Carroll, and I think Rosalyn Sumner had a longtime coach??? (sorry, blanking on her name).

    Now I'd like to digress a bit, as it concerns America's top 2 elite skaters as of now (aka Michelle Kwan & Sasha Cohen). I personally think they BOTH should go back to their old coaches. Especially Michelle, b/c Frank Carroll is the one whom taught her how to land 7 triple programs with one 3/3.......honestly hasn't been the same since she left him.......and IMHO he knows her better than any other new coach would (aka has literally overseen her development from a young child f.s. to a mature grownup f.s.). JMHO.

    ***Note: also, as Kristi Yamaguchi said in her book Figure Skating For Dummies ~ when it comes down to it, the judges are going to be counting the jumps (doesn't matter if they're small, underrotated, etc.) ~ ITA.***

    Peace, Nadine (:^)

    P.S. What an ending that would be, as regards Michelle & Frank ~ young warrior goes back home to aged teacher/coach/mentor ~ and they give it ONE more go. Ah, what a dream that would be...

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    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    Also, Nicole B. probably changed coaches more than anyone else. :\

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    Carlo Fassi coached at various times- Peggy F, John Curry, Dorothy, Nicole B, Robin Cousins, Jill Trenary

    Those who had the same coach for the majority of their careers-

    Janet Lynn was coached by Slavka Kahout.
    Carol Heiss was coached by Pierre Brunet
    Last edited by SusanBeth; 03-31-2004 at 01:05 AM.

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    Why did Sasha leave John Nicks? They seemed to get along well and she was skating well under his guidance. I don't think anyone mentioned Todd Eldredge and Richard Callaghan: those two are joined at the hip. In Brennan's book, Tara's mom always complained that Richard put Todd first over her daughter and would insist that Richard attend her daughter's press conferences instead of leave her alone to be with Todd during his practice session.

    I don't care for Frank Carroll. I don't think that he was able to view MK objectively and perhaps in his own desire to have a student win the OGM, he might have put too much pressure on her. He was crushed when Linda Fratianne did not win gold and perhaps that affected Linda's acceptance of her silver medal. Don't give Frank too much credit for her having a 3-3. She was 15 when she got her 3-3 and then did not do it on a regular basis. He was her coach in 1998 when she did not do the 3-3 at the Olympics and Tara railroaded her there. It wasn't as if they didn't see her coming. Tara was landing them all the time and MK was practicing the 3-3 at the time as well.

    Bowman didn't change coaches at will. Frank threw him out when he had enough of dealing with Chris's drug problems and then Toller threw Chris out as well and that was how Chris wound up with Nicks.

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    Custom Title Ogre Mage's Avatar
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    Midori Ito's Coach

    Midori's long time coach was Machiko Yamada.

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    Originally posted by soogar
    Why did Sasha leave John Nicks? They seemed to get along well and she was skating well under his guidance. I don't think anyone mentioned Todd Eldredge and Richard Callaghan: those two are joined at the hip. In Brennan's book, Tara's mom always complained that Richard put Todd first over her daughter and would insist that Richard attend her daughter's press conferences instead of leave her alone to be with Todd during his practice session.

    I don't care for Frank Carroll. I don't think that he was able to view MK objectively and perhaps in his own desire to have a student win the OGM, he might have put too much pressure on her. He was crushed when Linda Fratianne did not win gold and perhaps that affected Linda's acceptance of her silver medal. Don't give Frank too much credit for her having a 3-3. She was 15 when she got her 3-3 and then did not do it on a regular basis. He was her coach in 1998 when she did not do the 3-3 at the Olympics and Tara railroaded her there. It wasn't as if they didn't see her coming. Tara was landing them all the time and MK was practicing the 3-3 at the time as well.

    Bowman didn't change coaches at will. Frank threw him out when he had enough of dealing with Chris's drug problems and then Toller threw Chris out as well and that was how Chris wound up with Nicks.
    I don't knoe if my first post should be addressing this...but...
    my memory may be faulty but I recall that Nicks was in retirement or at least semi-retirement when he found Sasha. She had a great gymnastics background and he recognized her great talent. He coached her to prominance but could not get her past the "mistake and crumble" stage.

    It is not unusual that skaters move. In fact, I believe, it is necessary to move to the "next level" of performance, wherther or not coach related.

    Nicks in his time was a brilliant coach, but Sasha needed more to overcome her problems with competition errors. Her choice of coaches could have included Carrol---he really is a solid coach---but the real or created rivalry with Michele would prehibit that. Now that Sasha is with Robin, great things may happen! Not because of the skill-building, but because of the psychological controls in competition that Shasha is beginning to exhibit since her association with Robin.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Hi Gregor, welcome to Golden Skate. Sure, jump in. Everything about coaching changes seems to be controversial.

    Mathman

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    I have to agree with Soogar about Frank Carroll. My personal theory is that he put so much pressure on MK for that elusive gold medal that she couldn't take it anymore. I mean, good grief, he had her skating to Linda's old music (Scheherezade) and wearing Linda's creamsicle dress in 2001 for her short!!! Its just me surmising, but I think he started to want that medal so badly that he was sure Linda was cheated out of that he started to view it almost as "his" and or at least "ours" (he and Michelle), and that's a lot of pressure for a young skater. I'd prefer she stay with Artunian. Rafael looks like a "kick butt" kind of coach, and Michelle needs that kind of pushing right now.

    I think Robin will be good for Sasha in the long run because she has the positivity that Sasha seems to need. So far, so good!!!

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    I think Nicks is a good coach but he could not get Sasha (or Noami Nari Nam either) to land a triple lutz on a regular basis.

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    Neither could TT or Robin Wagner. Time will tell if Sasha will ever get a true triple lutz with RW , though Sarah Hughes never had one either.

    I think that the code of points needs to hammer these girls if they "flutz", esp if there is a flip jump in the program and they try to front like they have two triple "lutzes" in addition to the flip. Once they are severely penalized, then these girls will take the time to learn how to do a proper lutz.

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    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    I am amazed how many skaters have stuck with their coaches for their entire career. Scott, Brian B., Kristi, all kept their original coaches through "thick and thin", but they all have Oly Gold medals for their efforts. I wonder if there is a correlation between premier skaters who won the "big" one, and the fact they kept their original coaches? It seems the trend now is to move on to the next level of coaching if their previous coach hasn't coached them in the direction they want to take......Sasha, Michelle, Michael Weiss, Shizuka, have all done this recently, and there are others...........42
    Last edited by show 42; 03-31-2004 at 08:03 PM.

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    Scott was with Fassi before he went to Don Laws. Scott wrote about it in his book. He felt Fassi was favoring another male student. It was a kinder, gentler verson of the Yagudin-Plushenko-Mishin triangle.

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    Re: Midori Ito's Coach

    Originally posted by Ogre Mage
    Midori's long time coach was Machiko Yamada.
    Thanks, Ogre Mage, for that info!

    IIRC, Machiko Yamada was the one whom originally discovered Midori Ito when she was a child........was it at a skating rink??? (please come forth Ito Fans)..........and eventually became a surrogate mother/parent to her, even to the point where Midori lived with her permanently on a full-time basis. Btw, was Midori an only child? What did her biological parents' do for a living? Where did she get her once-in-a-lifetime talent? Anything else?

    I honestly think that Midori Ito is the most mysterious & enigmatic skater since Sonja Henie's time, made even moreso due to the fact that she is still living (& a legend to boot, no lie). Hmm, actually that may be b/c she rarely (if ever) travels outside Japan.......only did a couple of pro. competitions back in the early 90's & then only once again a couple of years ago at the Japan Open........and, finally, the only written biography that I know of has only been released in Japan & is written in Japanese? ***Note: made a Japanese friend over on the old FSW a few yrs. ago whom I agreed to send Dreams of Gold to & in return she was going to send me this new bio on Midori, but alas, it never materialized :( ***

    By the way, thanks SusanBeth for that tidbit on Janet Lynn & Slavka Kahout (ah, I remember now, Dick Button married Slavka & they had two kids. Btw, didn't her coach discover her at the Wagon Wheel in Chicago/Wisconsin? If so, how old was Janet Lynn then? Thanks in advance.

    Also, thanks Gregor for that fascinating info. about how John Nicks discovered Sasha Cohen.........never knew the intricate details of it all.........only knew that Sasha had an extensive gymnastics background (btw her maternal grandfather actually competed in Stalin's time IIRC). But other than that, I'm not really familiar with her story. Oh yeah, also recall reading that her mother was the one whom was instrumental in Sasha switching from gymnastics to skating b/c she felt that the former was more dangerous than the latter.

    As to coach switching, yes, I agree with you that it is not unusual that skaters switch - far too numerous examples to cite - however, IMHO, that is not always a good thing nor is it necessary. Also, I believe that one can move to the "next level" without having to switch (just bring in some outside forces to help). JMHO. That said, I look forward with hope & anticipation to what Robin Wagner & Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan & Rafael Artunian have in store for us f.s. fans in the next couple of seasons (that's if either pair stay together that long...).

    Thanks also soogar & Yazmeen for your respective comments on the Michelle Kwan & Frank Carroll issue.......hmm, never previously knew that Michelle skated to the same music as Linda (but I think I do recall reading it somewhere, not sure)........nor that Michelle wore Linda's exact same dress for her 2001 SP. Mighty enlightening. Still, I do give MAJOR credit to Frank Carroll for his coaching of Michelle Kwan from a child f.s. to a mature champion f.s. And on that note, I honestly see these others (aka Scott Williams & Rafael Artunian) as outside forces that have come in to help, be it as a friend or as a technician, at this point in Michelle's career. In the end, I still think it would be great if Michelle went back to Frank........she was her most consistent with him IMHO & also regularly landed 7 triples (sometimes with one 3/3) while under his tutelage........in fact, it was only after she left him in the Fall of 2001 that she started downgrading her jumps IMHO (aka 6 triples @ 2002 Olympics & Worlds, 6 triples @ 2003 Worlds & 5 triples @ 2004 Worlds). Furthermore, if she needs to be "pushed" or help her "kick butt" once again (which I think she does), then I say go back to Frank Carroll (he knows her better than anybody else, skating-wise IMHO). Btw, how does that old saying go "it's never too late to go back home again".

    ***Note: btw I think Rafael is even harder on Michelle than Frank was - recently recall reading where he got mad at her just prior to 2004 Worlds b/c he felt she wasn't giving it her all during practice & yelled at her - so I don't think Frank was any harder on Michelle than Rafael is ~ JMHO.***

    Peace, Nadine

    P.S. My feelings on the "flutz" issue is that one can become so anal retentive about it that one tends to miss seeing the forest due to the trees. After all, I'm sure these skaters try & try & try to fix it but cannot for whatever reason. And would rather take a deduction than have to relearn it all over again at this point in their careers. Not meaning that they're still not trying...

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