29 June 2012

Johnny Weir talks about Russia, his comeback, the Olympics and more!

Here I'm posting an excerpt of the interview by Slava Malamud to the American figure skater Johnny Weir. The traslation from Russian is made by TAHbKA so if you see some errors or misspellings don't complain but thanks TAHbKA for the hard job.

Prepare for a funny, a bit polemical, and maybe very egocentric interview from our favourite Johnny Weir!

SM: So what's with the comeback? Have the process started?
JW: Yes. Both the LP and the SP are done, I'm working on the quad. I have to lose a couple of pounds more, than will spend the summer to get back into a shape.

SM: So the programmes are ready...
JW: In general yes. They are still to be polished but the skeleton is ready.

SM: Can you tell a bit? Which music are you going to use?
JW: It's a special kind of music. I'll just mention that I was personally given my SP music by Lady Gaga.

SM: You're kidding....
JW: Nope. The SP will be really cool. As for the LP... I went to the skaters of the 50s and the 60s, whose programme was much longer and included cuts from different pieces. I'll have the same, but modern and with a fast beat. There will be a lot of classical bits, music everyone knows. The theme of the programme is phoenix. How it rises from the ashes.

SM: Do you mean yourself?
JW: You bet. I'll tell my story on the ice.

SM: You spent 2 years of your life doing whatever you want. Why have you decided to return to the sport?
JW: I'm glad I took a 2 years break. I needed to get away from the skating and live without it. Figure skating is like a huge aquarium.

SM: Aquarium?
JW: Well, yes. You live like a fish behind the glass. Everyone can see you, everyone knows everything about everyone, gossip all the time. I guess it's the same in the hockey. Anyway, I escaped it all and was thrilled. Got married. My life is wonderful. I realized figure skating is not the only thing I can do and there are other things in life. So this is my current attitude: I'm on the ice because I want to be there, not because I have no choice.

NBC / USOC Promotional Shoot
SM: So what are you going to be like on the ice? Will we see the old Johnny Weir or a new one?
JW: I hope you'll see a more wise Johnny Weir. I was silly when young, aren't we all? I was strong minded, wouldn't listen to anyone. When you behave like that you are in your shell and when you have a bad day there is no one to get you out, you're alone. Now I have no reason to be like that. I did all I could do for the USA figure skating. If nothing will work this time I'll just retire and will be happy. So the new Johnny Weir is more relaxed and calmed. I hope it'll help me to become a better skater I was before.

SM: You are sure? What if you don't care about the winning and the competition anymore?
JW: I never really cared at the first place. I'm not like Plushenko, who fights for his life on every competition. Perhaps because he is a Russian and I'm an American and, unlike Russians, we don't have to fight and suffer for everything. Perhaps it's just me - I'm not willing to kill for the victory.  The Russian system in Figure skating is the most serious one. It's especially true about the old Soviet coaches. Either you are successful, or you are nothing.

SM: Were you shocked when facing that school? Tarasova probably wasnt' all nice and fluffy with you.
JW: It was just what I needed. You see, my first coach, Priscilla Hill taught me everything I know. But she is a very loving and a tender person, perhaps a bit too much. Tarasova kicked my ass. Outside the rink she was just a babushka: was feeding me, combing me. Galina Zmievskaya is the same: on the ice she is the hardest and the cruelest person, while outside the rink our relationship is very warm.

SM: I have an impression all your weirdness is calculated....
JW: Calculated?! No. I'm really weird and don't mind it.

SM: The others do though.
JW: Figure skating is an old sport. Not old, but well, eldery. The traditions are very important and the old people are ruling everything. Those people, by the way, are not interested in the gay athlets, and that's despite the fact in the USA the figure skating has kind of a `gay' reputation. It's just that everyone would rather keep it quiet and not upset the others.
I decided a long time ago there is nothing more important in life than to be what I am. As a consequence on one hand I didn't have to be in the usual boundaries. On the other hand I realize my results as an athlete suffered.

SM: If the judging wasn't biased in what place would you finish in the 2010 Olympics?
JW: Wow... you know how long it took me to watch the others skate? I was heartbroken after Vancouver. I was depressed and lost all the interest in figure skating. Vancouver was the peak. Indeed, it was the peak moment of my life - the most emotional, dramatic, the best one. I left the ice with so many feelings, but once the marks showed it was obvious I was being put on the 6th place. Wow, I thought, so how well the others must have skated? Yet the journalists in the mixed zone were reporting that this skater fell, that one stopped in the middle of the programme, that one shitted on the ice, one burnt himself from his nostrils... So why wasn't I placed higher?... After 7-8 months I calmed down enough to watch the skating. I think I should had finished 3rd in Vancouver.

SM: It seemed you were less disappointed than Plushenko.
JW: You bet.

SM: How did you take his reaction - that he deserved a platinum medal etc?
JW: Figure skating takes your whole life. Plushenko rested for 3 years after Turin and if he came back it was probably not for the silver, right? So if it's the only thing you aim for, the only thing you wake up thinking in the morning and you don't get it... anyone would be upset.
I'm actually much closer to Evgeny than to Evan Lysacek and I cheer for him. Of course as far as the USA PR goes he did some damage. But everyone deals with the disappointments in their own way. Galina (Zmievskaya) after I had finished 6th went to McDonalds and eat chips. To do something like that she has to be really depressed. I went crying in the shower. Evgeny spoke about a platinum medal. Everyone do whatever calms them down.

SM: So your relationship with Lysacek, who became the champion are still so so?
JW: I havent' seen him for a very long time. The poison was mainly made by the USA media. And the FS federation. Of course we don't really like each other, but when I got married he was one of the first to congratulate me, which shocked me. Guess we both grew up. We don't have to like each other, but I have much more respect to his achievements now.

SM: So now you are back to figure skating. Do you think your odds are higher? The judges became more liberal?
JW: I thinks so. I hope so. If not -well, hey ho. By the way, the federation treats me better than ever. Guess they realize I'm the only one who can keep the figure skating popular in the USA. Evan won the Olympics but no one has a clue who is he. Yes. I can make our sport popular again. I hope the federation will let me participate all the competitions I have to and will explain how to be liked by the judges as well as the public. For the last 2 years I got too used to skate for people who would clap just if I shake my ass.

SM: Do you think you might make the judges like you?
JW: It's going to be hard. It's hard for Plushenko, but he came back. I'm not nearly as popular as Zhenya in Russia. Though I have nothing to complain - I am loved and appreciated in the USA overall, the federation knows it and needs me.

SM: By the figure skating standards in Sochi you'll be an old man. If you make it there at all.
JW: Yes, I'll be 29. But I only started skating when I was 12, so I'll have 17 years of skating. Many of my rivals started skating when they were 2, so their body was under the pressure for much longer than mine. Why not make it to Sochi? The competition in the USA is not so hard right now.

SM: What can you look for in Sochi?
JW: It's a competition, so I aim to win. What's the point otherwise. If you go knowing you are not going to win why go? Just stay home. But I'll be thrilled just to be in Sochi. 3 Olympics is a huge success.

SM: Especially taking into an account how much you love Russia.
JW: Of course! Russia is my inspiration. I mean the coaches, the music, the culture and the figure skating tradition. To finish my skating career in Russia is a dream. Besides, I will be skating under my new last name - Weir-Voronov.

MS: Your favourite Russian athlets?
JW: Evgeny Plushenko, Irina Slutskaya, the gymnast Sveltlana Khorkina. I adore her, she is a diva.

SM: You said you started skating when you were 12, which is very late. I heard it took you one week to learn the axel jump.
JW: Yes! I watched it very closely on the TV, then went to a frozen corn field near my home and jumped it.

SM: Landing on one foot?
JW: All as it should be. Why not? I'm from such an American nowhere that I'm not used to be afraid. I'm afraid of sharks and bug crowds. Spiders. But not of falling on the ice! We have so much snow and ice in Pennsylvania at the winter that your whole ass becomes one huge blue mark. Besides, I was riding the horses before that.

SM: Jumping above the fences?
JW: Yes. I was really small. Sitting on an animal of the size of a car and jump above things - now that is scary.

SM: Were you any good?
JW: Quite decent. I was first interested in soccer, but its' not for me. A team game, running, sweating, kicking the ball.. thanks, but no thanks. I tried skiing, and then switched to the horses. I was quite close to qualifying to the national team of my age, but then I got interesting in figure skating and forgot about the rest.

SM: Lady Gaga gave you the music. Are you friends?
JW: As much as you can be friends with a superstar. She supports me, takes interest in my career. I was once sitting in her mother's restaurant and her mother told me `It would be great if you skated to Gaga's music'

SM: Gaga?
JW: Well, no, of course she called her Stephanie. Anyway, mom called the daughter and she sent me the music.

SM: You once said when you skate you are in the world of your dream and you want to take the viewer there with you. What does that world look like?
JW: Like the inside of the cloud. It's all sparkling and smells with Chanel n. 5

SM Cant' say I'm very surprised.
JW: It's my world. It's light, sparkling and good smelling.

Translation by: TAHbKA on FSU

27 June 2012

American Figure Skaters Word Search

I'm so sorry for the lack of updates, but if for the most of you summer means holiday, for Italian university students it means loads of study for the summer examination session.

But Wednesday means word puzzles, and word puzzle it is! Like last time, you have just to click on the first and last letters of the word you have found to highlight it.


21 June 2012

Yu-na Kim undecided about 2014 Sochi Olympics

Peter Parks / Agence France-Presse
Reigning Olympic champion Kim Yu-na hasn't decided whether she will compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but is looking forward to host the Winter Games at the 2018 Olympics in her home country, Pyeongchang"I hope everyone can fulfill their dreams in Pyeongchang," said Kim.

Talking about the key to her success, Kim stressed that "in figure skating, mental toughness is very important and I close much attention to adjusting myself to reach my best form."
She also added that "my coaches have told me my muscles and body structure are perfect for skating. I was born with a good instrument, maybe more so than talent. I was lucky my coaches noticed early on and helped me develop that. A lot of people don't know they are born that way."

Kim has her own show, All That Skate, in South Korea, but seldom takes part in commercial performances overseas and it took two years to Li Sheng, president of SECA, the host of  Sunday's Artistry on Ice, to persuade Kim.
Sunday's Artistry on Ice marked also Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo's farwell to competitions.


Source: China Daily

20 June 2012

Russian Famele and Male Figure Skaters Word Search

Going on with my word puzzles, this time I want to propose you a word search. You have just to click on the first and last letters of the word you have found to highlight it. Good luck and enjoy!

18 June 2012

2012 ISU Congress: revisions and changes

The ISU's 54th Ordinary Congress took place during the past week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Congress has passed some major changes to the rules.

Unification of age limits

It has always sound strange that skaters who are age-eligible for the Grand Prix series are not age-eligible for the ISU Championships (Europeans, Four Continents, and Worlds) and the Olympics. Competing in senior events should give the younger skaters experience.

I know, you are thinking that the ISU understood the incongruity of it and decided to standardize the minimum age requirement for all senior competitions. True. But not in the way you expected.

Beginning with the 2014-2015 season, the minimum age requirement, instead of being lowered (for the ISU Championships and the Olympics) to 14, will be raised (for the non-Championship competitions) to 15 by July 1 of the preceding year for all senior competitions.

But really, was it necessary? Shouldn't it be better to get rid of the age limit altogether?

Vocal music for singles and pairs

Here you can celebrate: sparkling wine someone? Vocal music will be allowed for singles and pairs skating beginning with the 2014-15 season. Why? To bring "those disciplines in alignment with the ice dance and synchronized disciplines, and [to allow] Skaters the full range of musical options when designing programs." But basically because "the television networks are requesting the use of vocal music in singles and pairs to increase the entertainment value for the viewing audience. The viewing audience (through all media) is essential for the visibility of the sport and the financial success of both the ISU and its members." (From the 2012 ISU Congress Proposals)

Preliminary rounds

Preliminary rounds were voted out again.

Additional revisions to the IJS

Another level for non-jump elements. Currently, these elements go from Level 1 to Level 4. Starting next season, there will be a base value of 0.

Step sequence undifferentiation. There won't be a differentiation between straight-line, circular, and serpentine sequences anymore. Step sequences are now just step sequences.

17 June 2012

Contesti turns professional

According to the online edition of the well-known Italian sport newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, the best Italian male skater of the last five seasons turns professional at 29. Samuel Contesti has hung up his skates, breaking our hearts.

"I'm serene," he said. "There were no more the conditions to go on. Needless to insist. Besides, I can't go on until 90..."

In February 2007, Contesti married Geraldine Zulini who also coaches him and moved to Courmayeur, Italy. Their son, Ennio, was born in June 2009. The French-Italian figure skater originally competed for France, then switched to Italy after the 2006-2007 season. He is the 2009 European silver medalist and a five-time (2008–2012) Italian national champion. By capturing silver at the 2009 European Championships, Contesti became the first male single skater to win a medal for Italy at the event in 55 years, since Carlo Fassi's gold in 1954.

With his wife expecting another baby, "there is above all the necessity of a permanent home," Samuel said. "I'll teach. I want to return everything the sport gave me. I'll start with two internships: in early July in Megeve and in early August in Pinerolo. I am proud to pass as I left to Italy two potential representatives for 2013 Euros and Worlds."

Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport

15 June 2012

Zhao Hongbo and wife Shen Xue start coaching


China's Olympic gold medal pair skaters Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo have announced that they will quit the stage at a press conference in Beijing Monday afternoon and start coaching young skaters for China's national team after their last performances in the "Artistry on Ice" show this year.

"Our 20 years of figure skating experience makes us feel that this is the perfect time for us to bid farewell to our fans. The next step is for us to train the students with our experience and techniques accumulated in the competitive field. We really hope that the next gold medalists will again come from China," Zhao Hongbo said.

Source: CRIEnglish.com

14 June 2012

Igor Shpilband has found a new home

Last week, when the Arctic Club of Canton fired one of the world's top ice dance coaches, Shpilband and Zoueva ended their professional relationship, with Zoueva remaining at Arctic with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Meryl Davis and Charlie White as well as with Maia and Alex Shibutani.

Igor Shpilband is moving the Novi Ice Arena, opened in September 1998 and operated by Suburban Sports Group since 1999, and he's bringing Madison Chock and Evan Bates with him.


After Chock and Bates, also the bronze medalists at 2011 Skate America, Lithuanian ice dancers Tobias and Stagniunas, have announced they will train with Igor Shpilband at his new coaching home in Novi, less than 20 miles away from his old grounds.

Tobias and Stagniunas made the announcement via their official Facebook page.

"After a long and painful process, we would like to announce that we are remaining with Igor Shpilband as our coach. We will forever be grateful to Marina Zoueva for all she has given us both as skaters and people. We will miss the skaters remaining in Canton so much, we were all a family. We will always consider ourselves a team with all of them and our friendships will endure throughout these changes and long after they are over."

Sources: Detroit Free Press and Icenetwork

13 June 2012

Wednesday Crossword

It's Wednesday and it means another crossword is coming your way! If you've missed them, you can still try yourself with my 1st and 2nd crossword.

I've changed tool to make them because the old one had too many limitations (no symbols or punctuation, 25 charters max in the clues...). This one is more flexible, but doesn't have the timer or the possibility to reveal only some letters. If you prefer the old one, just tell me and I'll switch back to it.

Take a break and enjoy!

12 June 2012

Yu-Na Kim suing professor for libel

By Lim Hyun-dong
Kwon Sang-soo, journalist for the Korea Joongang Daily, reported that Korean Kim Yu-na filed a libel suit against Professor Hwang Sang-min of Yonsei University, who described her practice teaching assignments from Korea University as mere performances.

“The practice teaching was nothing but a show performed by a celebrity,” Hwang said during Kim Mi-hwa’s CBS radio program on May 22. “No one can deny that she is a very busy person. I don’t think Yu-na has attended lectures faithfully in last four years and also for the practice teaching. It is very unfair for normal students who must study hard and participate in the practice eaching to earn their degrees because celebrities like Yu-na earn their degrees very easily by showing their face for a few hours at special events.”

Kim is studying for a teacher’s degree in physical education at Korea University. “We decided to sue the professor because he made up a false story that made the public doubt Yu-na’s academic achievement,” Koo Dong-hoe, the CEO of All That Sports, said.

“I used Yu-na’s practice teaching case as an example to criticize the current education system at Korean colleges,” Hwang said. “Colleges and universities attract sports stars and celebrities by offering special admission and use them to improve their reputation. I can’t believe that she filed a lawsuit because celebrities like her must be able to handle social issues that are relevant to them unless she plans on censoring every single remark made about her.

I think that the controversy over special admissions to colleges for celebrities or sports stars is an international problem. As an university student in what can be considered one of the best colleges in my country, I can tell you how frustrating it is for normal students who must study hard and attend every lesson to see different kind of celebrities cutting in front of us in the queue for an exam and getting good grades even if they do poorly, when the only thing we'll get for a test done poorly would be a kick in the butt.

Evidently, this isn't a personal comment on Kim’s academic achievements, only a stressed student during her exams session giving vent to her frustration and tiredness.

Anyway, Kim’s management company said it would withdraw the suit if the professor apologizes.

11 June 2012

Miki Ando reluctant to return to competition prefers to be an artist

Although she is listed as an entry for the 2012-2013 Grand Prix, Japanese Miki Ando seems reluctant to return to competition and prefering to be an artist on ice.

"I don't care about what place I get in competitions now. I just care about how I perform in front of an audience," said Ando in Shanghai last weekend to Lei Lei for China Daily. "I just want to show how I perform and if somebody can feel something from my skating, that's my goal, that's my best performance and why I dreamt of becoming a skater," she added.

After claiming her second world title at the 2011 World Championships in Moscow, Ando announced she would sit out the 2011-2012 season. Over the past year she has been busy taking part in figure-skating shows, like Art on Ice, around the world. 

"I was quite busy last year, but I didn't train seriously. This year, I don't feel like I am ready for competition, but I signed a paper (with the International Skating Union) in case I want to do the Grand Prix circuit," Ando told China Daily.

"I was planning to make a decision in June, but I didn't have the time to think about it. So, (I just signed it) just in case I wanted to compete. If I don't sign the paper, I can't go. I don't feel I want to compete yet, but I signed the contract, so I have no choice I will try my best. Let's see how it works out."

Ando picked up skating at the age of eight in 1996. She  made history in the 2002-2003 season at the Junior Grand Prix final when she landed a quadruple salchow and became the first female skater to land a quadruple jump of any kind in a competition. She still remains the only woman to ever perform it. Ando won her first world champion title at the 2007 worlds.

"I don't have any goal right now. I have done my job and I think skaters don't have to be competitors because we are like artists. I really enjoy being a show skater," she said. "We all have to quit some day and I'm going to be 25 this year. It's a really hard age for a woman. I don't know, maybe my next goal will be to be a great skater in show skating. Of course, it's really good to be a competitor and get good results, medals and everything. But people have to understand we have to quit some day. We have a future and other choices," she added. "I'm just thinking about the Grand Prix now. An Olympic gold medal is great, but it's so difficult. I don't know if I will attempt to go to the Sochi Olympics yet. So, maybe I will think about the Grand Prix final as the place to get another medal."

Source: China Daily

7 June 2012

Opera On Ice 2012

Beautiful like Gods, strong and fast like heroes. Capable to fly over the ice while all around them people hold their breaths. They are the champions of the ice that the world has fallen in love with.

But who are these heroes? It is not for us to know, given that the cast has not been announced yet officially on the Opera On Ice website. But some infos come from the Opera On Ice newsletter.

If you have a look at the poster of the show on TicketOne, the site that sales the tickets, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Yes, because besides Carolina Kostner, the patroness of the show, and Stéphane Lambiel, who I hope is on the road to recovery from his eye problems, who do you see on it? But it is the Tsar, Evgeni Plushenko!

In fact, besides Carolina Kostner and Stéphane Lambiel, confirmed participants are: Evgeni Plushenko, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte and the Hot Shivers.

What can I say? Stay tuned for more infos! And in the meantime, if you are outside Italy, here is the list of countries Opera On Ice is scheduled to play in. No North American venues so far.

6 June 2012

The Canton Drama - Act III

Figure Skating From The Boards
Skate Canada confirmed today on Twitter that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will continue to be coached by Marina Zoueva at the Arctic Club of Canton.

A Twitter user asked the federation: "Any news about V-M coaching? They stay with Marina Zoueva?" Skate Canada replied: "yes, they are still with Marina."

And so we come to Act III of the Canton Drama who has seen the Arctic Club of Canton gave the boot to Igor Shpilband in Act I and Davis and White and the Shibutanis's decision to continue training under Zoueva in Act II.

The question now is where we go from here.

 7/6/2012 at 04:20 p.m.

Skate Canada has officially confirmed that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir plan to continue training in Canton and that Marina Zoueva will be their main coach.

When they returned from vacation, Moir commented that Shpilband and Zoueva's “coaching partnership provided an enjoyable and productive training environment and together we experienced great success on the ice. We were obviously disappointed to receive the news that our coaching team of Marina and Igor will no longer be working together.”

According to Virtue, “it was an honour to work with him (Shpilban) every day, and we respect his dance knowledge and technical expertise. We are very grateful to him for everything he has helped us achieve.”

Figure Skating Crossword

Many of you have liked my Figure Skating Crossword, so I've decided to dedicate a day of the week to word puzzles!

Like last time, try your figure skating knowledge with this word puzzle I made for you! Try to complete it as quickly as possible and tell me how you did. No cheating, I'm watching you so don't try googling!

5 June 2012

The Canton Gate continues

Figure Skating From The Boards
In case you missed it, the Arctic Club of Canton gave the boot to Igor Shpilband while his coaching partner, Marina Zoueva, will continue to coach there.

U.S. Figure Skating announced today that Davis and White along with the Shibutanis intend to continue training under Zoueva. Virtue and Moir have yet to make a comment about the situation.

"Our experience with Igor has been very rewarding," Alex Shibutani said. "He is a great coach, and we appreciate everything he has done for us."

“After a long and rewarding partnership with Igor Shpilband, we hold the firm conviction that Igor’s expertise and investment in our career have been integral to our success,” Davis said. “We will have nothing but fond memories and sincere appreciation for our time with Igor.”

Harry How/Getty Images
Davis and White's decision in particular seems surprising as they have seemed closer to Shpilband over the years. However, it's safer for the top pair to stay at their current rink, since it's not sure how quickly Shpilband will be able to find a new rink.

On Sunday night, Jacqui White, Charlie’s mother, posted a comment on the Free Press Facebook page in response to a comment from a reader who had called the Canton dance teams “spoiled brats”: “...I’m afraid you don’t know what you are talking about. This wasn’t initiated by the skaters, they are obviously only trying to hang on by the skin of their teeth to continue training while the coaches battle to the death and when convenient, use them as pawns in the fight. This is an old story of ‘who has control,’ where egos come into play and team cooperation erodes. The skaters in this scenario are not brats, but victims caught in the crossfire.”

The Russian sports website allsport.info.ru reported that Valentin Piseev, president of the Russian federation, would welcome Shpilband: “We are pleased to accept and give him everything in working conditions.” But it seems that Shpilband said that he wanted to remain in Michigan.

With the Sochi Olympics just two years away, how the coaches are able to handle the transition and provide consistency for the skaters will be essential.

Sources: Detroit Free Press and Icenetwork.com

4 June 2012

Coach Shpilband fired - Some drama in the Canton Dinasty

Figure Skating From The Boards
A very unexpected news came this morning to shake the world of ice dance: the Arctic Club of Canton gave the boot to Igor Shpilband, the famous coach who has created with Marina Zueva one of the most successful dance school.

"I just got fired," Igor Shpilband said yesterday to Jo-Ann Barnas of Detroit Free Press. It seems the move was made in part because Arctic Figure Skating Club's top three teams, i.e. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and Maia and Alex Shibutani, felt as if "Igor wasn't there anymore for them."

Shpilband learned of his dismissal in a meeting with general manager of the rink Craig O'Neill and rink owner John Stansik. “I'm totally shocked," Shpilband said to Barnas. "I have to talk to the kids (skaters). I just left a message with Meryl and Charlie. He (O'Neill) said the kids don't want me at the rink anymore. For what reason, I don't know."

It seems that Shpilband and Marina Zoueva have had conflicts recently, namely over Zoueva's scheduling of their teams. "To me, that's not a good partnership," he said. "Me and Marina had a good run, and I don't want it to end like this; two years after the Olympics (2014 in Sochi) we could have gone our seperate ways." Then he added that "She (Zoueva) wanted me to go away. I worked for many years before Marina, I built and took skaters to the top podium in the world. But I felt like I needed Marina to (go) from worlds to the Olympics, which (was) incredible, we did it together."

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
O'Neill replied that "Igor did talk about starting his own program, and coaching some of his own kids, and we didn't have issues with that." But "he's not focused with the kids. What it came down to was the kids didn't want to skate there (in Canton) anymore with Igor. Either they were leaving or Igor was leaving."

In short, it seems that the climate in Canton was not as idyllic as often praised, at least not in the past few months, and that the American federation was aware of the problems since the beginning of May. For now, no comment from Davis/White, still on vacation, and from Virtue/Moir.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
"Honestly, I need some time to regroup," Shpilband said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. If Marina put it in a way, her or me, OK, I hope that not all skaters go that way, that they see (that ) I put my heart and soul into this."

What I ask myself is how this separation could happen so close to Sochi. I mean, what's the good of it? What will happen to the Canton Dynasty and how all this will affect the commradere of the club?

I imagine that this sensational story will have further developments soon, hopefully clarifying the many obscure points which still enshroud the drama.

Source: Detroit Free Press