The coaching change game continues. 2008 World champion Mao Asada, 17, will now work with famed Russian coach Tatiana Tarasova.
Asada split with her American-based coach Rafael Arutunian before the 2008 World Championships in March, citing a desire to return to Japan. She worked with Tarasova over the course of the year.
"She has worked with a lot of famous skaters over the years and I'm sure there is much I can learn from her," Asada told the AP.
Asada is based at the skating facilities of Chukyo University near Nagoya, Japan and plans to keep this venue her training home. She plans to spend some time in Moscow to work with Tarasova and the Russian coach will also will travel to Japan to train her new charge.
Tarasova is also a stellar choreographer. "She tailored a new program just for me with next season in mind," Asada also told the AP. "She has a lot of power."
Tarasova has been a coach for over 40 years. Her career highlights include working with Olympic champions in men's, pairs and ice dancing. Her former Olympic gold medalists include: Ilia Kulik and Alexei Yagudin; Irina Rodnina and Aleksandr Zaitzev; Oksana (Pasha) Grishuk and Evgeny Platov; Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko; and Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin. Grishuk and Platov are the only two-time Olympic ice dancing medalists since this discipline became an Olympic sport in 1976.
More recently Tarasova assisted in coaching 2006 Olympic gold-medalist Shizuka Arakawa and silver-medalist Sasha Cohen; two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan; and three-time U.S. champion and 2008 World bronze medalist Johnny Weir. She has also provided advisory assistance to athletes and coaches of the Russian National Team and other world-class skaters.
1988 Olympic gold medalist Kulik feels Tarasova's greatest strength is her ability to see exactly what it is her skaters need. "She knows everything about figure skating, all the techniques,” Kulik said. “nd as a choreographer, she is perfect."
Asada is a favorite for the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics Winter Games in Vancouver . She wasn't age-eligible for 2006 Winter Olympic Games because of the International Skating Union's age restrictions.