Well I thought I was going to be clever this week and make the pic of the week the busiest coach at this week's Senior Grand Prix Final.
Guess what...it's a five way tie! Five coaches are eaching pulling double duty as they coach two different skaters and/or teams. So I'll post them all! The Pic of the Week for this week has become The Pics of the Week (if you can follow that sentence you read my blog alot!). So a little about the busy ones...
Nobuo Sato will be coaching both Takahiko Kozuka and Yukari Nakano. Fun fact about Nobuo, he is a ten time Japanese National Champion. Another fun fact, his daughter, Yuka Sato, is the 1994 World Champion. Nobuo coached Yukari to the bronze medal at this event in 2006 will hope to duplicate if not better that achievement for both Yukari and Takahiko in Goyang City.
Bin Yao will have two strong Chinese teams he hopes to coach to Gold in Korea. Both teams, Pang and Tong as well Zhang and Zhang, have won Grand Prix Events this season and have medaled at this event in the past. However, neither team has ever won this event. Bin Yao's fun fact, despite finishing dead last at three consecutive World Championships (80-82) in Pairs, he has gone on to create a Pair's Powerhouse in China. His three top teams have all medaled multiple times at the World Championships, two teams (Pang and Tong, Shen amd Zhao) having won the event.
Like Bin Yao, Ingo Steuer will have to keep his eyes on two Pairs teams. He's coaching the reigning World Champs Savchenko and Szolkowy as well as Ukranian upstrats Volosozhar and Morozov (who used to skate with Savchenko). Many consider Savchenko and Szolkowy to be the heavy favorites. Fun fact for Steuer, he's the only coach at the event who has ever competed at a Grand Prix Final (then called Champion Series Final...the name was changed to Grand Prix Final during the 1998-1999 season) and medaled in all three attempts, winning the event in 1997 with partner Mandy Wötzel.
The final two coaches are a duo. Natalia Linitchuk and Gennadi Karpanossov will keep a watchful eye on both ice dance teams of Domnina and Shabalin as well as Belbin and Agosto. And Natalia and Gennadi will be looking to return these two teams to form as both have been slightly off recently. Domnina and Shabalin took a big blow at Cup of Russia losing to countrymen Khoklova and Novitski while Belbin and Agosto haven't been able to put together a win this season, loosing twice to teams they have defeated easily in the past. Fun fact about these two...they know a little something about Ice Dance success, they won the 1980 Olympic Gold in Ice Dance! Another tidbit...this picture features Maxim Staviski whom Lifeskate has some info on.
FYI...here's a clip of Wötzel and Steuer winning the 1997 World Championships!
and the 1998 Olympic Bronze Medal!