Cohen Meets the Press in Dallas

Sasha Cohen shares a laugh with the media.

Just two days before the ladies competition begins at the 2003 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Sasha Cohen is feeling good about her chances to win the title. In a press conference Tuesday at the main arena in Dallas, Cohen says she has been training hard and is confident in her programs. The ladies competition will begin Thursday at 8:20 p.m. with the short program.

Strong competition

Again Cohen will compete at the U.S. Championships against two of the top ladies figure skaters in the world with both Sarah Hughes and Michelle Kwan returning to competition. Cohen says she feels competition at this year's U.S. Championships will be strong, because in addition to Cohen, Hughes and Kwan, there are several other skaters that Cohen feels will help continue to keep the U.S. strong in the ladies events.

"It's is hard to single out just a few of the ladies because there are so many talented ladies skaters," she said. "But there are a few that have been coming up like Jenny Kirk, Ann Patrice [McDonough] and Angela [Nikodinov]."

New costume

For her free skate, Cohen will unveil a new costume to go with her Rachmaninoff program. She described the costume as purple with gold accents and lots of sequins and stones. Cohen said she designed the costume around Thanksgiving and just finished putting on the last sequins and stones last week.

"I'm very excited to wear it," she said. "The costume is very important because it reflects an attitude and feeling that you take out on the ice."

Cohen and USFSA Director of Media Relations Bob Dunlop

New coach

Cohen says she feels her change in coaching and training conditions has helped her to improve this season. Now she receives 2-3 hours of focused training from coach Tatiana Tarasova every day on an Olympic-sized rink.

"That kind of attention and focus has really helped me to excel, as well as the fact that Tatiana is the first person that's expected more out of me than I expected out of myself," Cohen says.

The coaching change came late last year. After the 2001-02 season Cohen began working with choreographer Nikoli Morosov and Tarasova on a new short program and free skate. First, Morosov went to California to work with Cohen on a new short program. Then she traveled to Connecticut to work with him and Tarasova on her free skate. As they worked on the programs, Cohen really liked the training she was getting.

Local TV crews and many national media members were on hand for Sasha's press conference.

"I was being pushed and pushed to a level I didn't know existed. Tatiana pushed me to a whole new level of competition and I loved it," she says. "I just felt this is was what training should be."

So she discussed changing coaches with her family over the summer, and the Cohens decided to move the family across the country so Cohen could work with Tarasova.

Cohen has won three of the five competitions she has been in this season and sees exciting things for the future.

"With [Tatiana] on my back and me motivating myself I think we've come a long way, and I'm really excited to see what we'll be able to accomplish in the next few years," she said.