No U.S. figure skating coaches are more sensitive to the situation in Japan than Yuka Sato and her husband, Jason Dungjen.
Sato was a world champion for Japan. Her father, Nobuo, and mother, Kumiko, coach some of Japan's leading skaters, including reigning world champion Mao Asada.
First things first: Dungjen said by telephone Monday afternoon that his wife's parents are fine, as are all the members of Sato's family, although some of their friends had to be evacuated from the areas near Sendai where there is a risk of radiation from a damaged nuclear plant.
Sato told the Detroit Free Press that her mother was in Toyota City, about 300 miles from the earthquake epicenter, and her father was in Tokyo when the quake hit.
Now that they are sure their loved ones are safe, Dungjen and his wife can deal with their other concern: What kind of training program to devise for the skaters they coach who were headed to Japan for upcoming competitions?
"The worst thing right now is the uncertainty,'' Dungjen said.
Alissa Czisny, the reigning U.S. woman's champion, was headed for the world championships next week in Tokyo. Jeremy Abbott, the 2009-2010 U.S. men's champion, was going to the World Team Trophy competition April 14-17 in Yokohama.