The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

February 18, 2014

Canada's Virtue-Moir bemoan coach's unavailability

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Like bruises from falls and cuts from blades, split loyalties come with the icy territory in figure skating.

Canadian ice dance silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir on Tuesday bemoaned the split allegiance of coach Marina Zoueva, who also works with American gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Virtue and Moir have been longtime students of Zoueva's, as have Davis and White.

"We sometimes felt like (Zoueva) wasn't in our corner," Moir said, more in the way of stating a fact as he and Virtue perceived it than as a complaint. "We had some odd things happen this year that hadn't happened before. For the first time, she wasn't there."

He mentioned Zoueva not being at the Canadian championships this year. That event coincided with U.S. nationals, which Zoueva did attend. Each couple won its national title.

"We expected Marina to be on our team and work with us like in Vancouver," Moir said.

That didn't happen for the 2010 gold medalists, although they insisted they understood why Zoueva spent so much time with Davis and White, and they praised Zoueva for how she handled the dicey situation.

"The shoe was on the other foot," Moir said.

"Whatever differences we had to take care of on our own," Virtue added, noting the support the couple got from the Canadian federation.

Zoueva, among the world's top ice dance coaches, did not respond to messages from The Associated Press. She did say after the short dances that working with the world's two best ice dance teams, as well as with many other highly ranked duos, "is a balancing act."

"I keep both couples in my heart," the renowned Russian coach said Sunday, when Davis-White stood first and Virtue-Moir were second heading into the free dance. "They train together nine years, in the same group and on the same ice with each other since they were babies. They are like a generation, and they are still skating together and grew up and made the same progress and go on together."

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