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  1. #1

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    John Nicks Hints At Retiring Before Sochi

    John Nicks did a comprehensive interview with IceNetwork and hints at retiring prior to the Olympics in Sochi.

    http://web.icenetwork.com/news/artic...&vkey=ice_news

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    What a wonderful interview.
    I hope that he will decide to coach until after Sochi.
    When he does retire, he will be missed by generations of skaters.

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    What will Ashley do if he retires before Sochi? May be he has already given her enough confidence to carry on without him, but with another coach.

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    John Nicks Hints At Retiring Before Sochi

    Hopefully he has discussed this with Ashley and she has a game plan.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

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    Ashley is also coached by Phillip Mills, so it seems likely that Mills could take her to Sochi if she makes the team.

    Wagner's choreographer, Phillip Mills, who also coaches the skater with Nicks in Alisa Viejo, Calif., made sure Wagner reclaimed the loop-Axel sequence as soon as possible after Sochi.

    "The first thing I had her do, when she was back on the ice and jumping again, was a triple loop-double Axel," he said. "I knew it was a psychological hurdle that she had to get past, and once she did, she would be done with it."

    Mills, who estimates he has trained "more than 25" national champions (if you're counting, together with Nicks, that's at least 64 between the two), has his own take on how Wagner can win another U.S. title.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

  6. #6
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    Mr Nicks is a true legend of the sport. I loved his appearances in Rise - they really showed his personality and sense of humor.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

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    The retirement of a coach of this stature is such a loss. I hope this means that he is just not accepting new students but will continue coaching Wagner through Sochi. He has made all the difference for her.

    ETA: Sonia Bianchetti left a very nice compliment in the comment section.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 01-14-2013 at 06:18 PM.

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    Here were Mr. Nicks' exact words re. his possible retirement:
    Icenetwork.com: How long do you think you will continue to coach?

    Nicks: Well, at my age, I don't have any long-term plans anymore. I will sit down after worlds and decide. I am sort of leaning toward finishing this year.

    Icenetwork.com: Really, with Ashley one year away from the Olympic Winter Games?

    Nicks: Well, I've coached 11 Olympics. Dating back to 1968, I think I missed maybe two or three. If I feel someone could do a better job, I think she would deserve that. I would continue to give her some lessons if she'd want, and I'd support her, but I'm pretty seriously looking into this year being my last. I've committed to her through this year. I used to have four- or six-year contracts, but I don't do that anymore.

    Icenetwork.com: Is it just that you would rather be fishing or the travel is too difficult or you have achieved your figure skating goals, or all of the above?

    Nicks: I don't know. I flew 11 hours to Istanbul and had a 12-hour layover before my next flight to Sochi (for the Grand Prix Final). I could do that or be on a boat.
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    I didn't know he was born british!
    He always looked a bit different to me than the average american coach. For example, as he mentions, his humor during press conferences with Cohen, or the way he would talk about her. I remember when Cohen was at junior worlds, it must have been the late '90s (I only watched the footage later on), he said something like: "She has a mind of her own". Carroll would always control himself, but I believe he wouldn't have known how to be this humorous when something was messing with his directions as a coach.

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    Wow, that's...a big hint. Oy. I just hope he and Ashley have a solid plan going forward. He's a coaching legend, that's for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    Here were Mr. Nicks' exact words re. his possible retirement:
    Sounds like he and Ashley have sorted out things forehand and I feel relieved that he'd not be hesitant giving Ashley what she needs heading Sochi. She's in good hands

    He is truly an iconic figure in this sport. With all those amazing skaters he has taught, I think a documentary/film about his life would be quite something!

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    Speaking of John Nicks' sense of humor.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...GAnyavk#t=135s

    Yes, John Nicks will be greatly missed when he retires from coaching. What an amazing career he has had in figure skating.

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    I think he came to the US when they needed coaches badly after that tragic plane crash. I know the door was wide open for other coaches to immigrate.

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    From this March 2012 John Nicks article that I posted last year: http://www.ocregister.com/sports/nic...g-olympic.html
    Nicks' success as arguably America's premier figure skating coach has carried him from his native England to Orange County to Olympic Games in five different decades. His path also made a brief, early stop in the equally aptly named mining town of Trail, British Columbia.
    ....
    John was just 18, Jennifer only 15, when they finished eighth at the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz. Four years later, they were fourth at the 1952 Games in Norway. After winning the 1953 World title, Nicks moved to South Africa, skating in a touring show, catching the coaching bug while recuperating from a broken foot. Concerned about turmoil in South Africa, he returned to England in 1960 then moved onto Trail. But the work in Trail was only seasonal and before long he was living with his sister in Vancouver looking for a full-time coaching job to support his young family. He was sitting in his sister's living room watching TV on Valentine's Day when a bulletin came on. A plane carrying the U.S. team to the World championships in Prague had crashed just miles from a refueling stop in Brussels. All 72 passengers and crew members were dead.

    Two weeks later, he was invited to replace a California coach killed in the crash.

    "Of course, it's sort of ironic that such a tragedy gave me this opportunity,'' he said in a 2002 interview with the Register. "I've also felt strange about that. It's something I've never shaken.''
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  15. #15
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    Here's my podcast interview with him a few years back. He talks a lot about his history. There's a transcription of interview highlights for those who can't listen to the full interview. But his sense of humor is evident int eh interview, so I hope you can listen.
    In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.

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    I can't quite see him REALLY retiring before Sochi -- how many times now has a student been able to talk him out of it? -- but whatever he does, I wish him the best. And I'll miss him when he really does go.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club
    Old, lonely, pathos-hungry, and extremely gullible

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    Sad to see him go but coaching Ashley to a second US title and possibly a world medal would be a great way to go out. I'm sure she'll continue to consult with him next year but I get where he's coming from. He's 83 years old...how much longer can people possibly expect him to keep teaching?

    His career and body of work has been amazing and I really think what he's done with Ashley this past season and a half is a testament to his skill as a coach. Even at the end of his career, he's still got it!

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the Interview sk9tingfan! Mr. Nicks seems to be a very nice & wise coach, who is really settled in himself. I really like him, he never seems to make negetive comments on other skaters (at least I didn't notice), but is only promoting his own skaters in a very pleasant way.

    About his retirement - maybe it will take place gradually? He might stop to coach after 2013 except for Ashely Wagner, cause I don't think he'll leave her alone before the so very important Olympic season? In addition Sochi might be a very nice final curtain for him!

  19. #19

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    I hope he continues until Sochi with Ashley. They are such a great team

  20. #20

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    Excellent, excellent interview, loved reading it!

    The one thing that stood out to me was Mr. Nicks close relationship with Sasha, and how when asked about disappointment he mentioned Sasha missing the gold medal in Torino. You can tell she was very very special to him. Lol she always reminded me of him, just a girl is all, only difference.

    Concerning retirement, it brings to mind what my mom told me, sitting around waiting to die. That's why she's still working, and she loves what she does. In fact she called me today during her lunch hour to say she *finally* met her heroine, a 91 yr. old woman that still works for Boeing. She started working there at age 20, and told my mom she doesn't plan on retiring tells she hits the 75 year mark, which will make her the longest employee at Boeing in history! *cheers* Lol my mom just couldn't stop gushing about her, especially the fact that my mom's mom would have been as old as her.

    Anyhow, just some advice for Mr. Nicks.

    Oops, one more thing, I couldn't believe when I read a poster was amazed that Tail Babilonia, a 50-something year old woman still calls Mr. Nicks Mr. Nicks. It's called R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

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