The Medvedeva saga: Orser on her ex-coach's reaction, plus money, choreography. . .& more

The Medvedeva saga: Orser on her ex-coach's reaction, plus money, choreography. . .& more

Evgenia Medvedeva’s stunning announcement Monday that she was leaving her longtime coach, Eteri Tutberidze, in Moscow to work with Canadian coach Brian Orser in Toronto continues to make headlines in Russia and both dominate and invigorate Internet and social media discussions about figure skating.

After writing about Medvedeva’s move Monday in an icenetwork story featuring my interview with Orser, there remained many facets of the story to be covered.  Here are several:

When emotions run high. . .again

Orser understands the emotions that led to Tutberidze’s critical comments about Medvedeva when the Russian coach learned Medvedeva was ending their working relationship after 11 years.

Orser had reacted similarly about Yuna Kim’s decision to leave him after she won the 2010 Olympics.

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G.0.A.T. in men's skating? Let the debate begin

G.0.A.T. in men's skating?  Let the debate begin

GANGNEUNG, South Korea - And now for one of those entertaining, irresoluble questions with answers certain to provoke incendiary reactions from supporters of the athletes involved:

Did becoming the first man since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952 to win consecutive Olympic gold medals make Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu the greatest men's singles skater of all time (aka the G.O.A.T.)?

Or should that unofficial title still be bestowed on Button?

Or on Russia's Evgeni Plushenko, the only man since World War II to win individual singles medals at three Olympics (silver in 2002, gold in 2006, silver in 2010) while contributing significantly to the quadruple jump revolution and having to adapt to two entirely different judging systems?

And let's not forget Gillis Grafström of Sweden, who won three straight Olympic golds (1920, '24, '28) and then a silver in 1932.

Comparing achievements from different eras in the sport ultimately is a futile exercise, no matter how much fun it is.

"There's no common frame of reference," said Sandra Bezic, a 1972 Canadian Olympian, noted choreographer and longtime TV commentator.

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An Olympic figure skating fab five, U.S. gold medalists all, reflect on Nathan Chen

An Olympic figure skating fab five, U.S. gold medalists all, reflect on Nathan Chen

Five of the six U.S. men's Olympic gold medalists were in attendance at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California. In the days following the competition, icenetwork asked them their overall impressions of Nathan Chen, one of the favorites for the gold medal at next month's Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The respondents were:

- Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic champion and a two-time world champion, who has followed Chen closely for years.

- Evan Lysacek, the 2010 Olympic champion and 2009 world champion, who trained briefly on the same ice as Chen when the younger skater began working with Rafael Arutunian in California seven years ago. The 2018 U.S. Championships were the first time Lysacek had been in an arena to watch Chen compete.

- Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion, four-time U.S. champion and four-time world champion, who has watched Chen compete at various levels.

- Dick Button, the 1948 and 1952 Olympic champion, who got his first chance to see Chen -- 70 years his junior -- in person at the 2018 U.S. Championships.

- Hayes Jenkins, the 1956 Olympic champion, who first saw Chen in person at the 2014 U.S. Championships in Boston, where Chen, then 14, won his second U.S. junior title.

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