For Russian skating star Medvedeva, a huge change was necessary to keep going

For Russian skating star Medvedeva, a huge change was necessary to keep going

TORONTO – She was not supposed to be sitting here, in a coach’s office at a skating club in Canada. Yevgenia Medvedeva is Russian, just 18 years old, figure skating world champion in 2016 and 2017, and only eight months ago winner of the singles silver medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Barely two months after the Olympics, she left her Russian coach of 10 years, Eteri Tutberidze, who had guided her to the top of the figure skating world, for reasons Medvedeva has not discussed except in general terms. The move she made was startling and utterly unexpected.

Star Russian skaters stay in Russia. Never before had one of the sport’s pre-eminent Russians left the country to train with a non-Russian coach. Not since Michelle Kwan in 2001 had a skater with a career record as brilliant on the world and Olympic level as Medvedeva’s made such a dramatic coaching change, and Kwan did it without leaving her native California.

But Medvedeva felt she had no other choice after a tumultuous 2018 season that did not end with the Olympic gold medal she had seemed a lock to win.

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Medvedeva keeping competitive debut with new coaching team in perspective

Medvedeva keeping competitive debut with new coaching team in perspective

As many of you know, the figure skating website icenetwork closed at the end of June, with most of what it covered migrating to a number of sites on NBC platforms.

And, after two years of writing for Ice Network, some of my coverage is migrating to NBC as well.

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In "I, Tonya," truth is slippery as ice

In "I, Tonya," truth is slippery as ice

The screen is black.  There is a cough.  And then another.  This is the first 30 seconds of “I, Tonya.”  It is all the time necessary for those of us familiar with anecdotal details about Tonya Harding’s life to know that the screenwriter and filmmakers had done their homework.

Tonya Harding, a living series of contradictions, is an asthmatic who undermined her athletic career by smoking and, consequently, coughing.  Coughing is the first sound – and smoking the first view – of Margot Robbie portraying Harding on the screen.   

In watching the rest of the movie, knowing this story as well as those of us who covered it know this story led to a number of issues.

The first time I saw it, in a theater at October’s Chicago International Film Festival, I got hung up on trying to reconcile the film’s narrative with the facts.

My next three viewings, on a screener provided by the film’s distributors, Neon and 30West, allowed me to see “I, Tonya” for what it is as a movie:  a clever, farcical, sarcastic, wonderfully acted comic tragedy (or tragic comedy?).  But I came away feeling the film had mistakenly fallen in love with Tonya, making it prey to the temptation to pardon Harding for her missteps, her irresponsible behavior and her willful waste of a generational talent. 

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Gorging myself on NBC’s moveable feast of Olympic viewing

Gorging myself on NBC’s moveable feast of Olympic viewing

I always thought the only disadvantage of being at an Olympics as a journalist was being able to see just the event I was covering and missing out on action that was more exciting.

Now that I am watching at home for the first time since the 1984 Summer Games, having spent just the opening eight days in Rio, I find myself so overwhelmed by choices provided by NBC and its partners that my brain is ready to explode – with joy.

I understand 1984 might as well have be the Middle Ages of communications.  A single over-the-air TV network provided all broadcast coverage to U.S. viewers, and the only other live information came from radio.

Even that knowledge did not prepare me for the shock of the new until I experienced it on three televisions, two computers placed side-by-side, a tablet and a mobile phone.

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