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Category: Sasha Cohen

Play it again, Spokane: the sooner, the better

Yamaguchi 060My final, final thoughts on the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships:

Barb Beddor rolled her eyes

That happened Saturday, when I told her Spokane should be in a regular rotation as the host city for nationals.

"What can I bribe you with not to write that?" Beddor said, laughing.

Sorry, Barb.  Your event management company -- Star USA, run by Beddor and her husband, Toby Steward -- and the staff of the Spokane Arena and the good people of this attractive, little big city (population 202,000) did such a brilliant job with the event for the second time in four years that I think nationals should return at least once every six years.  (Truth be told, I would rather it be once every four years.)

If I were giving a grade of execution for the 2010 nationals, as judges do with skaters, it would be the maximum plus-3.

Although attendance for senior championship competition was down from the 2007 nationals by about 1,000 per session, Spokane set another overall meet attendance record, 158,170, beating the 2007 mark by nearly 4,000.  That earlier record is 25,000 more than for any other nationals.

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Figure skating women's short program televised live

The Universal Sports network will televise the U.S. nationals women's figure skating short program live Thursday.

Skating begins at 7:30 p.m. PST and will end at 11:30 PST. Sasha Cohen, the 25-year-old who is making her first competitive appearance since she won a bronze medal at the 2006 world championships, is scheduled to skate about 10 p.m.

-- Diane Pucin


Cohen, strong in practice, faces 'substantial challenge'

Sasha Sasha Cohen can still spin.  And jump.  And put her body into captivating positions.

That was apparent Wednesday when Cohen skated before an audience in a competitive environment for the first time since 2006.

The 2006 Olympic silver medalist, rail thin as always, fell on a triple-flip jump in a run-through of her short program during practice at the U.S. Championships, in which the women's competition begins with Thursday's short program at Spokane (Wash.)  Arena.

"Ice is slippery sometimes,'' Cohen said of the fall in a text message an hour after she finished practice.

Skating the two-minute, 45-second short program to Spanish music, "Espana Cani,'' she landed a triple lutz-double toe combination with ease and followed with a stunning layback spin finished with a leg over the head in a Biellmann position.

Cohen, 25, showed impressive speed throughout the 40-minute practice. She landed triple flips at other points in the practice. But she implied in the text message that she was keeping  things in reserve.

"Saving it for tomorrow,'' she said.

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Human Zambonis, home cooking, Zhang's agony, Nagasu's appeal, Kwan's impressive new life: A figure skating Q&A [Updated]

Czisnyfall2Questions first, answers second, now that the six regular-season Grand Prix figure skating events are over:

1.  Who would win an Ultimate Splat-Down between the two falling angels, reigning U.S. champion Alissa Czisny and 2007-08 European champion Carolina Kostner?

The Zamboni operator, for Czisny and Kostner would clean so much of the ice with their bottoms the resurfacing job would be much easier.

Czisny, no surprise, rendered meaningless her excellent short program at Skate Canada by falling twice  and getting credit for just three triple jumps (one given a negative grade of execution) in the free skate. She fell once and had credit for just three triples in her other GP free skate, at Cup of Russia.

Kostner fell once in the short program and once in the long program at Paris, once in the long program in China.  That picked up, as it where, from her dismal effort in the free skate at 2009 worlds, when Kostner fell once and did one clean triple jump.

The sad irony in this is both women are among the most elegant skaters in the world when they stay upright.

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Sasha Cohen out of Skate America; Emily Hughes in [Updated]

Sasha Cohen is out of this week's Skate America with tendinitis.

It is the second Grand Prix event this fall from which the 2006 Olympic silver medalist has withdrawn because of the problem in her right calf.

This time, the withdrawal casts significant doubt on whether she can make a successful comeback after three seasons away from Olympic-style skating.

She will replaced at Skate America in Lake Placid, N.Y., by Emily Hughes, who finished seventh at the 2006 Olympics as an eleventh-hour replacement for an injured Michelle Kwan.

[Updated at 10:17a.m. Hughes, 20, who is taking a year off from Harvard University to train full time, missed the last two U.S. Championships with injuries. She has finished two years at Harvard.

By virtue of her 2006 Olympic medal, Cohen is an automatic qualifier for January's U.S. Championships, at which U.S. Figure Skating will pick its two women's singles entrants for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Hughes now will also receive a bye to nationals because the final qualifying event, Eastern Sectionals, begins just three days after Skate America.  She finished second in last month's North Atlantic Regionals, her first competition in a year.]

-- Philip Hersh


Sasha Cohen answers critics of her Grand Prix meet pullout

Cohen 

I took 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen at her word when Cohen announced last Friday she was withdrawing from this week's Grand Prix competition in Paris because of tendinitis in her leg.

I posted that news here and in the Los Angeles Times' Olympic Blog, "Ticket to Vancouver,'' with her statement. I made no comment other than putting a question mark -- in the Globetrotting version of the Blog -- over a picture of Cohen. The punctuation referred to the status of her comeback.

Some comments on this Blog took me to task for not having questioned why Cohen was pulling out of an upcoming competition only three days after she had done a show in Anaheim, Calif., for which she was paid.

Some who commented also noted correctly that I had been hard on Johnny Weir for complaining about illness at last year's U.S. Championships after he had flown to South Korea for a show. At least one comment suggested that Cohen's comeback after three years away from competition was nothing more than a publicity grab on her part.

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Sasha Cohen, Kimmie Meissner lose footing in skate comebacks

It has been a tough couple days for twentysomethings trying to make figure skating comebacks.

Thursday, former world and U.S. champion Kimmie Meissner, 20, announced her season -- and, likely, her competitive career -- were over because of a severe knee injury. She had ended her 2008-09 season with a withdrawal from the U.S. Championships because of a hip injury.

Friday, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen, who turns 25 on Oct. 26, announced she was pulling out of next week's Grand Prix event in Paris -- which would have been her first competition in 3 1/2 years -- because of tendinitis in her right calf.

Cohen said she expects to be able to compete at Skate America on Nov. 12-15 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

"I have been advised to limit my training for the next few weeks,'' Cohen said in a statement.  "My pain is subsiding, but I have not been fully able to train for (the Bompard Trophy.)''

-- Philip Hersh



Sasha Cohen ready to jump back into competition

Sasha Reporting from Chicago -- More than three years after she stepped away from competitive figure skating to skate in shows and launch an acting career, Turin silver medalist Sasha Cohen of Newport Beach is back at the rink six days a week and trying for her third Olympic team.

For Cohen, who finished fourth at Salt Lake City in 2002 and second at Turin despite falling on the first two jumps of her long program, it's not only about the gold medal. Cohen, who will be 25 in October, said her comeback is about testing her limits--and her capabilities will be sternly tested by a bunch of eager, teenage U.S. rivals at the U.S. championships in January in Spokane, Wash. If she earns one of the two U.S. women's Olympic berths, she'll have to surpass world champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea, Mao Asada of Japan and Joannie Rochette of Canada, among others.

"I've really been enjoying it. I've been training really hard and I'm really looking forward to this season and skating my new programs," Cohen said Saturday in the final event of the U.S. Olympic media summit. "There's some good days and some not so good days but I've been progressing every month and I'm very excited for the upcoming season."

Cohen is training in Lake Arrowhead with Rafael Arutunian, who formerly coached Michelle Kwan. Cohen said she chose Arutunian over her previous coach, John Nicks, because she wanted the technical expertise Arutunian can provide as she tries to improve her power and her jumping technique. She has always been known for her grace and remarkable flexibility--but also for her inability to put two clean programs together in competition. She will perform her short program to "Espana Cani," Spanish pasodoble music, and her long program to "Moonlight Sonata."

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ISU president: Sasha was 'Santa' in 2006

Sasha

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- After I had finished talking with International Olympic Committee member Ottavio Cinquanta last week about his opinion on Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid, I asked Cinquanta to put on his other hat for a different question:

As president of the International Skating Union, what did he think of U.S. skater Sasha Cohen's decision to return to competitive figure skating after a three-year hiatus?

"It is a good decision for the ISU and for her,'' Cinquanta said. "I think she wasted a year, because she could have come back earlier, but one year is not the end of the world.''

Cinquanta hopes Cohen will be a different skater from the one whose free skate failures cost her the 2006 Olympic and world titles. She was first going into the free skate both times but wound up second in the Olympics and third at worlds.

"The Sasha I saw in Calgary [worlds] and in Torino [Olympics] was not Sasha Cohen but Santa Claus,'' Cinquanta said, feeling that Cohen had given away those gold medals. "Maybe she will come back with a different attitude. She was terrified.

"I believe the era of Sasha Cohen as loser when [she was] the favorite is over. Now we can have the Sasha Cohen era as a strong skater with more experience. If she wanted experience as a loser, she has enough.''

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Kwan says no thanks to chef's role -- and other skating food for thought

MKThanks to Sasha Cohen’s comeback and the continual nonsense perpetrated (and perpetuated) by the sport’s international leaders, even in May there is figure skating news deserving of comment.
So: Three things I know, and you should.

1.  Michelle Kwan could have had a guaranteed spot with the U.S. Olympic delegation at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

As assistant chef de mission, an essentially honorary position.

The U.S. Olympic Committee asked the three-time Olympic figure skating team member if she would be interested in filling the role, but Kwan declined out of uncertainty over her future plans.

One thing seems certain -- there’s an oxymoron, seeming certainty -- about those plans:
Unlike Sasha Cohen, who confirmed last week she would try to make a third Olympic team, Kwan has not replied affirmatively to U.S. Figure Skating’s invitation for a place at the Skate America Grand Prix event this November.

Kwan has until May 30 to tell USFS whether she would like to skate on the 2009 Grand Prix circuit.  Her agent, Shep Goldberg, said the skater had yet to rule anything out.

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