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Thread: Cohen and Nicks Plan for Success

  1. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by ritymeez
    Sometimes more isn't all that great.
    And sometimes it is!!!!

  2. #107
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    I just saw a Citizen watch ad featuring Sasha in a People magazine, so I think that she is famous. IMHO, she wants to be famous for something other than handing her cell phone to the Prez in SLC.

  3. #108
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    The key question is, does Sasha have name recognition outside the small circle of figure skating fans? I think she is on the verge.

    She is the one skater who I think could really cash in if she won the Olympic gold medal, like it used to be in the good old days where an Oly gold was worth a quick $10 million or so in instant endorsements and appearance fees.

    Mathman

  4. #109
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    I just read this whole thread and all I can say is that John Nicks is probably pretty wise when it comes to Sasha. Are there any possibly good reasons that you can think of why she went back to him and not someone else? :sheesh:

    I wish her all the best at Nationals and Worlds. I love watching her skate!!!

    Dee

  5. #110
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    I don't think there was anybody else she COULD go to. Rumor has it that she wanted to train with Audrey Weisiger (her good friend Tim Goebel's coach), but Audrey said no. All the other top coaches except Richard Callaghan have top female skaters already, and maybe Sasha wasn't interested in moving to Detroit.

    Sasha wants to be famous, yes, but what she wants more than that is to be #1 in her sport--to her, that's Olympic champion. I think if Sasha did win the OGM, she would immediately retire. I agree with Mathman that she'd get loads of endorsements if she won the OGM. Besides that, there's really only SOI ( I think she might put Sarah out of a job).

  6. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckm
    I don't think there was anybody else she COULD go to. Rumor has it that she wanted to train with Audrey Weisiger (her good friend Tim Goebel's coach), but Audrey said no. All the other top coaches except Richard Callaghan have top female skaters already, and maybe Sasha wasn't interested in moving to Detroit.
    Hmm...that's interesting. I would think any coach well maybe not any but a lot of coaches would be eager to take on Sasha if they don't have another top skater in the works of course. Why would Audrey refuse?

  7. #112
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    Audrey already had students that took up much of her time. Maybe she didn't want to take time away from them to give Sasha the attention she knew she'd require. Word gets around among coaches. Audrey may have already been aware that Sasha was not only headstrong, but that she wasn't the hardest worker, and that Sasha's friendship with Tim might interfere with his training, too.

    Sasha's now had 4 different coaches since she appeared on the Senior scene in 2000: Nicks, Tarasova, Wagner, Nicks. It may be that some coaches aren't anxious to sign on with a skater who might be here today, gone tomorrow.

  8. #113
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    Not taking a student

    Some coaches might not want to take on a student who tells the media that their skating was terrible when they were with their previous coach.
    Linny

  9. #114
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    It might have been a question of ethics. Robin referred Sasha to Audrey to work on jumps and then Audrey winds up becoming Sasha's full time coach? If that happened, Robin would NEVER refer another skater to Audrey again and there would be a serious breakdown in trust between the two coaches.

  10. #115
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    I didn't interpret Sasha's remarks that she was skating terribly this season as being a criticism of the coach. I took it to be simply a statement of fact.

    Mathman

  11. #116
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    ITA Mathman...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    I didn't interpret Sasha's remarks that she was skating terribly this season as being a criticism of the coach. I took it to be simply a statement of fact.

    Mathman
    I interpreted Sasha's comments as representing the facts as she sees them, and Robin's comments as the facts as she sees them. While I'm sure the two might disagree as a matter of interpretation, I still like the honesty over the typical BS that is usually quoted in interviews.

    DG

  12. #117
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    What Sasha actually said was that Robin was a good friend and she stayed with her even though her skating was terrible.

    That wasn't just saying that her skating was terrible. The inference that could easily be drawn is that it was her friendship with Robin that made her continue training under her even though she was skating poorly. To me, that said at the very least that Robin was unable to help her with her skating, and that could easily be interpreted as a criticism of Robin's coaching skills.

  13. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe
    What Sasha actually said was that Robin was a good friend and she stayed with her even though her skating was terrible.

    That wasn't just saying that her skating was terrible. The inference that could easily be drawn is that it was her friendship with Robin that made her continue training under her even though she was skating poorly. To me, that said at the very least that Robin was unable to help her with her skating, and that could easily be interpreted as a criticism of Robin's coaching skills.
    It could also be interpreted as Sasha saying she wanted to stay with Robin even though she, Sasha, wasn't holding up her end of the bargain.

    Given the limits of a one line answer like that, I think a lot of people are putting too much emphasis on it as describing the be-all, end-all of Sasha and Robin's skater/coach and person/person relationship. Each has said more and been quoted in more detail in recent articles, although as Sk8m8 accurately pointed out, the writers and editors of the articles have the final say over what gets printed. They often truncate quotes, leave out important qualifiers, and sometimes get things just plain wrong.

    I say we wait and see what Sasha does on the ice over time. She either will or will not deliver. As Joe said back on page 1, and ITA, "So be it."
    Rgirl

  14. #119
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    It could also be interpreted as Sasha saying she wanted to stay with Robin even though she, Sasha, wasn't holding up her end of the bargain.
    No, no, I really don't think so. People read way too much into the comment. Maybe it also meant a thousand other things.

    The article and writer may have something to do with the tone of the article, but if you take out the writer's comments and use JUST the quotes, they may speak for themselves (as in the Hersh article) JMO, however.

  15. #120
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    Another Big Honkin' Post for Red Dog :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog
    No, no, I really don't think so. People read way too much into the comment. Maybe it also meant a thousand other things.

    The article and writer may have something to do with the tone of the article, but if you take out the writer's comments and use JUST the quotes, they may speak for themselves (as in the Hersh article) JMO, however.
    This'll learn ya to say "I dig your long posts" as you did in your most recent post on the Hersh Article thread.

    ITA with "People read way too much into the comment" and "Maybe it also meant a thousand other things." The point I was trying to make, perhaps ineffectively, was not that I thought Sasha surely meant "she wanted to stay with Robin even though she, Sasha, wasn't holding up her end of the bargain," but rather that with a one-line statement using open-ended wording, people could come up with all kinds of interpretations.

    However, just for the record, I don't think Sasha meant the comment as a jab at Wagner's coaching abilities. Or for that matter, that Wagner is dissing Cohen, though she probably wanted to smack her during the worst days of their "misunderstanding." Who wouldn't? Anyway, during the broadcast of the ladies short programs, ESPN did a piece about the Cohen-Wagner break-up. The following is a transcript of what was said by Cohen, Wagner, and Nicks, as well as Christine Brennan, who reported.

    Brennan intro: "On December 22nd, Sasha Cohen made a very surprising announcement. After only one year with Robin Wagner she's decided to move back to Southern California and her old coach, John Nicks. We'll see if the reunion works. For Sasha it's the second season in a row she's made a coaching change with less than a month before Nationals."

    Sasha Cohen: "It's really hard to really pinpoint something. We really tried and I stuck through a lot of the summer and the fall. And, um, and I think that's why I stayed as long as I did, because [Robin's] such a great coach, such a great friend, but ultimately I wasn't skating well. And I was getting homesick and I went home to California for a week and things started falling into place."

    Brennan: "With Robin, her career seemed to be progressing when she won silver at both Nationals and Worlds last year. The demise began this past summer after the World Championships."

    Robin Wagner: "When [Sasha] came back she was neither as physically fit as she was when I left her nor as mentally ready for the challenges that we had both agreed were necessary to get her on the program, get her on the road that she needed to go to to become what she wants, which is to be a champion."

    Cohen: "I think what Robin didn't quite understand is that it wasn't that I wasn't motivated, I just, I was doing everything, but on the ice it just wasn't happening."

    Brennan: "And it was evident in competition. Sasha's season debut was a disappointment and then later she withdrew from the Grand Prix series due to a recurring back injury. There was tension and change was looming as her goal slipped further out of reach."

    Wagner: "Saying I want to become Olympic champion is quite different than really believing in it and working at it and getting to the rink every day. I don't think she believes it in her heart, and that's where I really had trouble, um, getting on the same page with her."

    Nicks: "Every good competitor has flaws. She's done what I've asked her to in practice. I mean, one never knows what's going to happen out there. I'm optimistic."

    For those who saw the report and especially those who have it on tape, it's one thing to read the words and another to hear the speaker's tone and see the expression and body language of the speaker. Certain words are emphasized, plus you can hear and see the emotion in the face and body, or lackthereof. Of course experienced athletes and coaches use their TV personas and are careful about what they say. But the point is being able to hear and see the person for the expression they put into the words. IMO, that adds a lot, though people will still disagree on what each person meant. Also, even in this situation, we only heard what the editors of the piece decided to keep in.

    Those are some of the reasons why I don't think taking just the quotes from the article allows them to speak for themselves. Also, as I said before, referring to what Sk8m8 pointed out, the writer and editor of the article "have the final say over what gets printed. They often truncate quotes, leave out important qualifiers, and sometimes get things just plain wrong."

    I also think a lot depends on how one perceives the people involved. If you have a strong dislike for either Sasha or Robin, obviously that's going to affect how you feel about what you read or hear them say. And some people, even if they feel neutral about both, simply feel the need to assign fault to one party or the other.

    For me, at this level of the sport with so much at stake for both skater and coach, I find it difficult if not impossible to confidently assign blame to one party or the other, to say this person is right and the other wrong. Anyone who's been in a relationship knows that you can leave the house in the morning feeling you agree on something as simple as going out to dinner that night. Yet by the time you both come home, you can seriously wonder if you're talking to the same person you discussed the dinner with that morning. Imagine how it is with the multitude of details and decisions going on between skater and coach.

    I think that for most break-ups between skater and coach, it comes down to a breakdown in communication and/or the development of differing goals or how to achieve those goals. As Sasha said in the above interview, she felt she was doing "everything" (it sounded to me as if Sasha emphasized that word), assuming she meant everything Robin was asking her to do, yet Robin felt Sasha was not, assuming that's what she meant by saying, "When [Sasha] came back [not clear if she meant after Worlds or after summer tour] she was neither as physically fit as she was when I left her nor as mentally ready for the challenges that we had both agreed were necessary to get her...to be a champion."

    To use a different example, David Pelletier was known for years among Canada's skating community as having enormous potential to be a great pairs skater. But time and again, female skaters from all over Canada would try out as his partner and things wouldn't work out. Most of us have seen that David has a temper, but do we call him a prima donna or a jerk, or do we say he was being appropriately selective given the commitment involved? When Jamie Sale auditioned, all involved said they could immediately see and feel the chemistry between them both as pairs skaters and people. David may have been difficult or he may have just had high standards. The same might be said for Jamie. And why shouldn't they? The time and work that goes into a pairs or ice dance partnership is long, intense, and frustrating, but with the potential for huge rewards. Imagine if David or Jamie had settled for a pairs partner they didn't really feel comfortable with just to statisfy the Canadian federation? No World and Olympic champions Sale and Pelletier.

    On the other hand, Ina and Zimmerman did not get along as people, but for John, Kyoko was the only US female pairs skater who was experienced, at the level he wanted to achieve, and who wanted to compete in the '02 Olympics. IMO, without Tamara Moskvina, who seems uniquely gifted at dealing with the often high-strung personalities of elite skaters, Ina & Zimmerman would not have lasted a month as a team, much less gone on to win a World bronze medal and continue for years as a successful pro team.

    Sorry to digress into pairs partners, but sometimes different examples can take the emotion out of an issue, if only temporarily.

    Of course the other extreme of coach-changing is someone like Nicole Bobek, who was mentioned in an article on another thread, which I can't locate at the moment, about the increase in coach-changing among skaters over the last few years vs. how rare it was in the past. Bobek is described as a skater who "changed coaches nearly as often as she changed costumes."
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp...121-2005Jan11?
    Note: You have to register to read the article. It's free, but still annoying.

    The gist of the article is this: "A recent blitz of coaching moves among America's finest figure skaters has left fans, coaches and other skaters feeling as if they need scorecards to keep up. Nearly every top singles skater at this week's U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Portland, Ore., has made a major change at least once since the Salt Lake City Games, and several have made multiple moves." The author, Amy Shipley, then lists four top US skaters who have made at least three coaching changes since the '02 Olympics.

    What are the reasons behind this recent trend towards "coaching musical chairs"? According to Shipley: "Interviews with a number of coaches and skaters point to several contributing factors:" I've listed just the main points.
    -- With youngsters winning the gold medals at the last three Winter Games, skaters who fail to advance with similar speed grow impatient and frustrated, especially on the women's side.
    -- The large paychecks available to Olympic-eligible skaters mean they no longer have to turn professional to earn big money. Top eligible skaters have longer careers and thus can become famous while still competing. The big money and fame can lead to expanded egos and decreased tolerance for dominant, powerful coaches, some say.
    -- Increased interaction among skaters and coaches through shows or summer exchanges heightens the chances skaters will bolt from one high-profile coach to another.
    -- With the use of more choreographers, coaches who used to be responsible for every aspect of a skater's program become less involved and, perhaps, more expendable. "When I started teaching," said long-time elite coach Don Laws, "I did everything, choreography, picking the music. It's another world now in that respect."
    --Though coaches acknowledge that the breaks can go both ways -- Carroll actually urged Goebel to leave because of dissatisfaction with their four-year working relationship -- several said they are only effective with skaters with whom they can spend sufficient time.

    As for the Cohen-Wagner split, the article adds a few things not mentioned in the Hersh article or the ESPN broadcast piece:
    "As things crumbled with Wagner, Cohen told Nicks she missed friends and family while training on the East coast. She said she had been frustrated by her inconsistency and injury problems...and had lost her competitive confidence.

    "Though Wagner said she understood Cohen's desire to go home, she expressed disappointment that Cohen did not fulfill what she believed had been a commitment to hard-core training. Rather than traveling to New York to skate daily with Wagner, Cohen did some of her training alone in Connecticut.

    " [In a recent phone interview Wagner said,] "This past summer, I felt training was really inconsistent and, therefore, so were the events. The training just never got moving along. I hope she finds her way to meet all of these challenges."

    "Cohen said she believed Nicks was the man to help her meet them. In a mere three weeks with Nicks, she said, she had improved by "leaps and bounds" -- something she said she had failed to do by any measure under Wagner.
    [Nicks said,] "[Sasha] was very forthright and very honest in saying things had not been going well. She just wanted things to get better, and would I help her?"

    I think Sasha's coaching changes have gotten a lot of attention and flak because of her obvious potential yet continuing problems with consistency; her reputation, true or not, for being hard-headed; and also because of the high-profile, big personality natures of Tarasova and Wagner, both of whom had coached skaters to Olympic gold medals. In addition, it seems the culture of the sport and the culture of young skaters has changed. After all, 10 years ago, did the US have the number of successful Russian coaches and choreographers it has now? Did we have US coaches and choreographers going to Japan and China to work with their skaters? Five years ago, could we have envisioned my favorite example of a multicultural skater-coach relationship, Shizuka Arakawa and Tarasova? That is, a Japanese skater working with a Russian coach in the eastern US. I think it's great, but all of it does increase the complexity of the skater-coach system.

    Finally, anytime you have a relationship with the intensity of an elite athlete and coach, clashes are going to happen. A lot, if not most, of these people get where they are because they have very strong wills. You also have the factor of coaches working with skaters as they mature (or not) and go through sometimes tumultuous teen years. Of course there are extremes, such as Christopher Bowmen and Bobek, but by their own admissions, he had a severe substance abuse problem and she was quite the free spirit. Both ultimately paid the price by having unfulfilled competitive careers and in Bowman's case, at least one beating from an angry dealer and not even a pro skating career.

    So the point of yet another Rgirl VERY long-winded post is that relationships are hard, especially when they involve the intensities of a lucrative elite sport and strong-willed personalities. IMO, people are overreacting to the Sasha-Wagner-Tarasova triad. Heck, Yuka Sato fired her coach/father and left Japan for the US in about '96 or '97, IIRC, and nobody even blinked. Yuka had turned pro by then, but pros were a big deal at the time. If a top US skater did something like that, boy howdy, the skating forums would crash under the influx of all the posts.

    So, relationships are tough. Big freakin' news, lol.

    Rgirl, who digs Red Dog's posts, too
    Last edited by Rgirl; 01-16-2005 at 03:59 AM.

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