Russian coach in odd double celebration

Russian coach Marina Zoueva was wearing her Canadian jacket but had packed her American one in her bag just in case.


She was in the unusual position on Monday of being coach to the Olympic gold and silver medallists in the ice dance, champions and home favourites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

She said she was in a win-win situation and next time hoped to have three sets of her students on the podium when the Games go to her home country of Russia for Sochi 2014.

"That is my next project. 1-2-3," she said. "It's a really good feeling to have two (in the medals), so much excitement.

"If they (Davis and White) want to see their coach in an American jacket they have to win."

The North American success in the ice dance ended 34 years of European domination - mostly Soviet or Russian - of the event and the change in fortune is due in some part to her.

"I teach in Russia and win gold, I teach in the States and win gold," she said.

So it is all down to her?

"Probably," she grinned.

Russian coaches have had a big impact on 2006 Olympic silver medallists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, who used to be trained by Zoueva and are now coached by former Soviet ice dancers Natalia Linichuk and Gennady Karpanossov.

"Clearly the Russians are teaching us a lot. They just give us everything they have, their heart their soul," Agosto said.

"They have so much to give us, training us and making us the best skaters possible. Without them we wouldn't be where we are today."

Zoueva had previously worked with Olympic pairs champions Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov among others before leaving her country in 1991 and concentrating on ice dancers.

If only coaches like her would return home, Russian bronze medallist Maxim Shabalin mused after he and Oksana Domnina were beaten despite coming into the Games as world champions.

"I think we need to bring coaches back to Russia," he said.

By this time in an Olympics, Russians have usually got two or three gold medals in the bag but this time they drew a blank in the pairs, picked up silver courtesy of Yevgeny Plushenko in the men's event and took the ice dance bronze.

With just the women's event left, where skaters from Asia and Canada are the favourites, it is likely they will go home from the Games with no skating gold medals for the first time since 1960.

Zoueva will not be heeding Shabalin's plea for Russian coaches to return home.

"Number one, nobody has invited me, and number two I don't think it matters where you teach," she said.

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and EurosportHD (Sky 412). British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.

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