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February 2006Hot Topic
When Sasha Cohen arrived in St. Louis for the 2006 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she felt weak due to a recent bout with the flu.
She also carried the heavy load of having a fist full of silver medals, including four from the U.S. Championships and two from the World Championships, and no gold medals to show for her years of hard work.
Cohen, however, proved to the 13,000-plus fans at Savvis Center and a live ABC audience on Jan. 14 that she would be denied no longer. The 21-year-old from Westwood, Calif., put together winning short and free skate programs en route to her first U.S. Championships title. Kimmie Meissner, a bronze medalist in 2005, moved up one spot to claim silver, while Emily Hughes emerged with the bronze medal.
Cohen's moment in the sun came with her main rival, nine-time U.S. titlist Michelle Kwan, watching on TV from her California home.
"It feels a little empty without her here," Cohen said after her short program which generated 65.15 points. "Ever since I have heard of figure skating or been at nationals, Michelle's always been a big part of the events. So, I definitely miss competing here with her, and it doesn't even quite feel like nationals."
Read all about the 2006 U.S. Championships in the February issue of SKATING.
Also featured in this issue ...
Age debate rages on
by Sal Zanca
In 1996, at the ripe old age of 13 years, 9 months, Tara Lipinski was skating at the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. She was joined by a few 14-year-olds, including American pairs skater Shelby Lyons. Even Takeshi Honda of Japan, still skating today, won a men's qualifying group while he was 14.
So, it was no wonder there was an uproar about the new Grand Prix Final champion Mao Asada. Although old enough to compete at the final, she is not deemed old enough by ISU regulations to compete at an ISU championship (such as Worlds) or the Olympic Winter Games.
Through the years coaches and skaters have had to expand the search horizon beyond the United States to find the right match. Skating has been the one love or common factor that has brought two individuals from separate worlds together to form a partnership.