Sasha Cohen has had a big question mark surrounding her plans for the upcoming season. Would she return to the competitive arena or make the professional scene her permanent career?
IFS caught up with Cohen on the Toronto stop of the Canadian Stars on Ice tour last week. "As of now I am making all the plans about schedules for what events to do and programs, training and everything,” she said. "But I have yet to make my official announcement. I have to make my decision before they make the selections for the Grand Prix events so that they know I am in the pool.”
Cohen confirmed her decision to return to the competitive ranks during a May 8 conference call.
The concept of stepping back into the amateur limelight has always been on Cohen’s back burner. “I have always kept it open but I did not want to make any decisions until it was closer and see how I felt,” she told IFS.
“I have trained a lot since last summer and wanted to see physically if I could get back to jumping all the jumps I did and how strong I felt. I didn’t want to promise anything that I am not going to come through on."
What would draw her back to the competitive arena? The 2006 Olympic silver medalist said there were many things. “I just really miss it. I miss pushing myself. I miss that purpose and intensity and that challenge I guess just to see what I am capable of,” she said.
“I miss the bottom line … an event that I am training for that has a sense of purpose like that Olympic platform. You know, it is not just going back – if it was just another year I don’t think it would have that draw, but there is something so magical about the Olympics.
“The whole world is coming together to watch athletes from all over the world in all different sports. That it is so incredible. It is like nothing you can ever compare because it is just magnified like a hundred times from any skating competition you have ever been to.”
Cohen recalled her two previous Olympic experiences in 2002 and 2006 as unforgettable. “Just the way the whole world gets really excited about it. It is amazing to take part in it and there is such pride and honor to represent your country and it is an experience that is absolutely incredible,” she said.
When asked if she misses the athletic aspect of amateur competition, Cohen shook her head. “No, no, I am definitely a performer first before I think I am an athlete. It is the art that I love,” she responded.
“I love touring and there is such a great group of people on Stars on Ice, they are so talented. Just great people and it is wonderful to work with them. It is a little tough for me right now, just being away from home for quite a while and I have had some injuries so that is hard while you are having to perform.
“But I love to perform for an audience and it is great to be here with my skating friends. I love skating so it is fun to be here on this tour.”
A lot has changed in the world of skating since Cohen competed. When asked if she would be adding the almost must-have triple-triple into her programs the 24-year-old disagreed.
“Well, you know I think it is not necessarily a must-have jump. Joannie (Rochette) won the silver at 2009 Worlds and she did not have a triple-triple,” Cohen said. “I think it is really a lot about the quality and the way that you execute your program and having your choreographer show your strengths.”
Cohen has some advice for the prospective first-time Olympians in 2010. “There are going to a lot of people interested in you and a lot of attention which is great,” she said. “Olympic athletes work their whole life but they have only a few moments in the limelight.
“It is not like football players or basketball players who are constantly in the limelight so I think it is great to get that amount of recognition and attention and know that people really, really appreciate what you do. Enjoy every moment.”