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Thread: Wash. Post Article on Sasha

  1. #1

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    Wash. Post Article on Sasha

    Comments? Impressions?

    Cohen Figures on Improving
    After Olympic Letdown Last Year, American Skater, 18, Is Not Letting Up

    By Amy Shipley
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, January 11, 2003; Page D10

    While other skaters stayed home, a tiny tornado of determination spun through the fall skating season, pushing ahead despite the absence of her rivals, generating momentum from her mediocre performance at the Olympics last year and the desire never to let it happen again.

    As Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes recovered from injury, Sasha Cohen -- who finished fourth at last February's Salt Lake City Winter Games -- competed as if another Olympic medal were at stake. As Olympic bronze medalist Michelle Kwan pondered her future, Cohen won three out of four competitions.

    Though others used the post-Olympic season as a time for recuperation or contemplation, Cohen treated the time as a chance to build her résumé in a sport in which reputation matters, while exercising her competitive spirit as if it were a muscle that could be strengthened. And so it is that, 11 month after the 2002 Olympics, Cohen enters next week's U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Dallas, which will set the U.S. field for the March world championships in Washington, as the arguable favorite to win what would be her first U.S. title in the ladies event.

    "Right now," Cohen, 18, said recently, "this season is a season of opportunity for me."

    Since winning a stunning silver medal at the U.S. championships three years ago, Cohen has been considered the best raw material in U.S. women's skating. Yet she is still too green and too undecorated to compete with two-time Olympic medalist Kwan in terms of popularity. And she has failed to produce such a leap as Hughes did at last year's Olympics, shooting from well-regarded to overnight sensation after winning an unfathomable gold medal. But even as Hughes and Kwan share the distinction of being the queens of skating in the United States, Cohen remains what she has been for the last couple of years: the one to watch.

    Russian-born Tatiana Tarasova has coached a host of Olympians over the years, but she refrained from training female singles skaters until Cohen sought her out this summer.

    "Sasha is something special," Tarasova said during Trophee Lalique in Paris last November. "She is the most talented skater I've ever seen. Maybe Oksana Baiul could compare to her. . . . I think she has 10 times more to show than she is showing right now."

    Cohen has never taken ballet lessons, yet she exudes an instinctive grace that makes high presentation scores virtually automatic. She possesses the leaping ability and diminutive build to keep pace with the constant technical advancements in skating, working on quadruple jumps and novel triple-triple combinations in her spare time. She also exhibits a relentless drive that has occasionally been interpreted as unsporting or needlessly ferocious. She was accused by several journalists last year of trying intentionally to bump Kwan during a pair of practices. Cohen said she simply wasn't paying attention, too focused on her own training to worry about who might be in her way.

    She even sounded a bit cold in describing her reasons for dumping California-based coach John Nicks last summer in favor of the Connecticut-based Tarasova, a decision that resulted in an almost overnight coast-to-coast move for her family. She blamed her inconsistent performances in the past in part on a training environment that included "horrible" conditions at a rink geared more toward recreational skaters than elites. She said she did not believe that, with Nicks, she was taking best advantage of her talent.

    "I needed a change," she said. "Skating is my career now."

    While Hughes takes pride in a well-rounded existence that includes involvement in political and charitable causes, Cohen seems to spend most of her time off the ice involved in projects designed to aid her on it. She creates her own costumes and recently acquired the sponsorship of Swarovski crystal, a deal that makes her leotards glitter from something finer than sequins. She loves cooking nutritious meals that will help -- or, at least, not hinder -- her training. When on the road at a skating event, she can be seen going purposefully from practice to practice, her mother Galina a constant travel companion who tends to mundane problems so she can focus on her skating.

    This past season, Cohen competed in two competitions that counted toward her standing in the Grand Prix circuit (she won Trophee Lalique and Skate Canada) and added an optional event for additional work (at the Cup of Russia, she finished second). Finally, she capped the season with a defeat of Hughes in a minor competition in Auburn Hills, Mich., in December.

    "I always go into every skating season trying to skate my best, trying to win everything, trying to set my goals as high as they possibly can be," Cohen said. "My goals are pretty much as high as the sky."

    Even though Cohen had never won a major international event before this season, she went into the Olympic Games shooting for -- true to her nature -- a gold medal. Cohen, who finished second behind Kwan at last year's nationals, was actually in position at the Olympics to claim the gold, having landed in third place after the short program, but she made several mistakes that cost her dearly in the deciding long.

    "A lot of people thought I did well, but it wasn't my personal best and I was disappointed with that," she said. "There will always be a little bit of regret, a little bit of hurt, that I felt that was an opportunity I didn't take."

    After the Olympics, Cohen performed on the Tom Collins Champions on Ice tour, doing about half of the more than 90 shows. All the while, she mulled her future. By mid-August, she decided she wanted to join Tarasova and choreographer Nicolai Morosov in Simsbury, Conn. (Tarasova and Morosov have since parted ways; Cohen has remained with Tarasova.) Tarasova has coached more than 40 Olympic or world gold medal winners, including Russian Ilia Kulik and Russian ice dancers Pasha Grischuk and Evgeny Platov.

    Cohen's decision had a colossal impact on her parents and 14-year-old sister. Within two weeks of their decision to go with Cohen, they were renting a house in Avon, Conn. Her father, Roger, a lawyer, was making frequent flights back to California to tend to business.

    "We knew we were going to have to go somewhere," Galina Cohen said. "We just didn't realize we would have to go that far. . . . [But] we decided we weren't going to separate the family; we were going to be all together."

    Cohen hopes to make the move worth everyone's time. She said training under Tarasova has brought more regimentation and rigor to her workouts. Because Cohen learned Ukrainian from her mother, who was born there, she can understand Tarasova in her native language of Russian, aiding their communication.

    "I couldn't ask any more in a coach," Cohen said. "She's 110 percent there for me. . . . The way she trains me, I have 110 percent trust in everything she does. We have a real plan every single day."

    The plan for next week?

    To win, of course.

    © 2003 The Washington Post Company

  2. #2

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    Sasha, Sasha, Sasha

    Sasha's never taken ballet lessons? That's the real shocker in the article to me. The other stuff in the article, about how ambitious Sasha is, is hardly surprising to me. The girl likes to win, more than most, just like the majority of elite skaters. Her frankness and honestly from this and other interviews is refreshing, reminds me a bit of Yagudin, minus Yag's occasional playfulness.

    Sasha is my third favorite skater, after Michelle (#1) and Yagudin (#2). Beyond all the technical stuff that Sasha has been criticized for, though, my main concern for Sasha is her artistry. Now, Sasha has excellent presentation skills, we all know that. But artistry is the ability to communicate to the audience the themes of a program. To me, Sasha has never done this, not to the extent of Kwan or Yagudin, or many skaters that I like less than Sasha. Sasha's exquisite and/or extreme movements make the audience go "wow," what I like to see is her making the audience feel something deeply besides "wow."

  3. #3
    RED DOG45

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    Re: Wash. Post Article on Sasha

    The hype continues...:rolleyes:

    However, SC seems very determined and serious about skating...She's in a great position to take this US title, I think. That said, you also can't forget about Hughes, AP and Kwan. I also think she is expected by many people (including me, I'll admit) to win so I don't know how she'll handle that pressure. I don't know if she's been under that type of pressure before.

  4. #4

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    Re: Wash. Post Article on Sasha

    I thought that the article was well balanced and pretty much right on. Go Sasha!


  5. #5

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    Re: Wash. Post Article on Sasha might want to just have a link to the Washington Post article and then post a few quotes instead of the whole thing. Someone might start jumping up and down about copyright laws and I don't want anyone to get into trouble.

  6. #6

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    Re: Wash. Post Article on Sasha

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>I also think she is expected by many people (including me, I'll admit) to win so I don't know how she'll handle that pressure. I don't know if she's been under that type of pressure before. [/quote]

    I don't know whether she was under the same type of pressure a couple of years ago. She was a hugh favorite going into the 2000 Jr Worlds. If she medalled, she would qualify for the Sr Worlds that year. I think Sahsa ended up finishing 5th or 6th. She is 2 years older and probably can handle the pressure better now.

  7. #7

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    Copyrights and copywrongs

    Says the guy who swiped a line from another board in his sig .

    Although, from my own studies of internet copyright laws (prompted by being on the receiving end of a lawsuit threat), there is actually a difference. Only large chunks of texts can be copyrighted, and copyright laws work in strange mysterious arbitrary ways. You can cite other pieces of works, even in huge chunks, as long as it is for academic or journalistic purposes. Other considerations include the length of the copied text, and whether the act of copying impedes commercial profit.

    In sk8cynic's case, the article is copied in full, but it's not that long to begin with. The purposes of the copying is to have a discussion on it, which falls under both academics and journalism. As for impeding profits, the Washington Post is probably using ads and/or soliciting personal info for research on their site.

    A case can be made against sk8. But, I SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT WILL BE. It will cost the Post more to bring an iffy case against a little board than it can hope to win. At most, the Post will send a cease and desist letter, we'll link to the article instead (remember, the judges don't look kindly to people who jump straight into a lawsuit), the end. Until they do, let's leave it the way it is.

    I gave this big rant for future references also.

  8. #8

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    Re: Sasha and nationals


    ITA with you. She has flexibility, but she seems to try to hard to be dramatic. Her facial expressions are always above and beyond what is called for and it looks like it is not foreal. MK, makes people feel stuff inside and it is spellbinding. That is artistry on ice. Fields of gold skated by MK is simply spellbinding and when she put her whole soul into it and her emotions after her olympic loss, it was simply unmatched. NO one, can match MK when she is in the zone. I am sorry and I hope this isn't a slight against sasha.

  9. #9

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    Re: Sasha and nationals

    No ballet lessons? I know from experience that you get ballet positions from acrobatic classes. This she must have had. She is quite limber as are all the gymnasts.

    Like most teenagers, she imitates the feelings for music. I think at 20 plus her presentation will be quite beautiful naturally.

    Sasha is on a roll, she should win the Nats.


  10. #10

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    Re: Sasha and nationals

    Fetal, FYI, I'm female.

    I don't think swiping a .sig line is the same as copying a newspaper article verbatim.

  11. #11

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    Re: Sasha and nationals

    I seem to recall posting this article complete with by-line, and I stated specifically that the article came from the Washington Post, with a question to the forum asking for comments and thoughts about said article's content. This doesn't seem to be too different from my college prof printing out an article, passing them out to the class, and asking for an essay, commentary, discussion, or debate about what we just read. How is this different (instead of printing hard copies, it's posted on a forum, and instead of writing in my notebook, tearing it out and handing it in, I post feedback, insights, etc. - it's all a matter of paper vs. electronics, and I don't feel I did anything wrong. It was an article, not a novel.

    In the best interest of keeping the peace, from now on I'll just put the link (though in this case I copied and pasted the article itself from another skating website).<img src= ALT=" >D">

  12. #12

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    Two copywrongs don't make a copyright

    Like I said, what you are doing is perfectly covered under fair use, please keep posting the articles in full. It's much easier to read, discuss, and refer to that way.

  13. #13

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    Re: Sasha and nationals

    I agree that Cohen hasn't found an authentic internal motivation regarding the artistic expression of her skating. Tarasova does seem to emphasize the process of finding this, so hopefully Sasha will discover it someday. Most skaters never do.

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