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  1. #1
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    The Skating Lesson: Part one with Tom Zakrajsek

    Jenny and Dave talk with Zakrajsek about his career as a skater, getting his start as a young coach, working with Ryan Bradley, alittle bit about CoP, his mentors as a coach
    http://www.theskatinglesson.com/part...tom-zakrajsek/

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    Thanks for that . I wonder if they are going to ask him about Rachael Flatt and that whole tibia-gate incident. I'd be interested in knowing his thoughts and feelings on that...

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    I really enjoyed this one.

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    Loved it when he said he ever made a skater of his skate injured , as they showed a clip of poor Joshua Ferris coming off the ice with a broken leg. I love TSL but I thought he skirted a lot of questions that where asked of him. Looking forward to part 2.

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    Nice to see Tom not jump to the AP wuz robbed in 2003 card. There were many underwhelming short programs, except Michelle, Jenny and Yebin. AP was very not good in the short and though pretty good in the long, she was still lucky to even win a medal at all. Nice to hear him acknowledge that it was the short that really did her in. Some fans just focus on her long program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip Jump View Post
    Loved it when he said he ever made a skater of his skate injured , as they showed a clip of poor Joshua Ferris coming off the ice with a broken leg. I love TSL but I thought he skirted a lot of questions that where asked of him. Looking forward to part 2.
    That was funny. Though, I do wish they would have asked more specifically about that situation with Josh at Nationals. It was painful to watch (though not as painful as it was for Josh to skate, obviously). Maybe in the next piece.

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    Tom was noticably unsympathetic towards his blonde skater's back issues in the Ice Diaries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    Tom was noticably unsympathetic towards his blonde skater's back issues in the Ice Diaries.
    Did she have a name?

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    Sandy Rucker

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip Jump View Post
    Loved it when he said he ever made a skater of his skate injured , as they showed a clip of poor Joshua Ferris coming off the ice with a broken leg. I love TSL but I thought he skirted a lot of questions that where asked of him. Looking forward to part 2.
    I'll be surprised if the Rachael tibia-gate issue doesn't come up. It kind of looked like it might be the next question.

    As for Joshua Farris, was there ever any confirmation by Josh that Tom persuaded him to skate with a broken ankle? I know posters on this board were quick to crucify Tom, but I don't recall ever hearing anything specific that would have indicted him.

    I'm enjoying this interview. Tom appears to be a very methodical and thoughtful coach.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    As for Joshua Farris, was there ever any confirmation by Josh that Tom persuaded him to skate with a broken ankle? I know posters on this board were quick to crucify Tom, but I don't recall ever hearing anything specific that would have indicted him.
    The actual timeline of Josh's horrible Nationals goes like this:

    Pre-SP practice: tears hip muscle.
    SP: skates with painkillers.
    Day before LP: accidentally ingests dairy; goes into anaphylactic shock. At the hospital until 3am.
    Pre-LP: refused painkillers because of medication interactions.
    LP: skates with no painkillers. Breaks ankle on second triple Axel. Comes off the ice crying only to be told condescendingly by his coach, "Now, aren't you glad you did that?"

    Zakrasjek's performance in the kiss and cry was why a lot of people were vilifying him. He seemed to have absolutely no sympathy at all for the little sixteen year old in so much pain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misskarne View Post
    LP: skates with no painkillers. Breaks ankle on second triple Axel. Comes off the ice crying only to be told condescendingly by his coach, "Now, aren't you glad you did that?"
    I heard it as Tom saying, "Are you glad you did that?" (Which would have a different meaning.) But I may have misheard.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I heard it as Tom saying, "Are you glad you did that?" (Which would have a different meaning.) But I may have misheard.
    Zakrasjek also told him "it's character building". Which...well. Didn't know breaking a leg and skating injured was character building...

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    Part 2 is up (just under 60 mins): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bgFcHFH7KI

    ETA: Zakrajsek mentioned a video of Brandon Mroz landing a quad loop in practice in June that is posted on his new coaching/periodization tips Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tom-Z...24453407653386
    Direct link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...type=2&theater
    Last edited by Sylvia; 07-17-2013 at 04:18 PM.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    Part 2 is up (just under 60 mins): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bgFcHFH7KI

    ETA: Zakrajsek mentioned a video of Brandon Mroz landing a quad loop in practice in June that is posted on his new coaching/periodization tips Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tom-Z...24453407653386
    Direct link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...type=2&theater
    He says in the FB vid that it's the first 4Lo he landed. Really? Could have sworn he was landing them at Liberty practice last summer but perhaps my memory is faulty and I only saw attempts that were flubbed and I know he attempted it at Liberty in the competition. In fact, I thought it was ratified as a 4Lo even though it wasn't clean. Whatever, it's a shame that's the only jump Mroz seemed to care about landing and it doesn't sound like anything has changed there for this year.

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    Tom is very very slick. He evaded some questions, notably about injuries to his skaters (Rachael in particular, and I don't believe for a second that he never watched Ice Diaries), he did a lot of politicking for Max and Brandon...
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingsit View Post
    Tom is very very slick. He evaded some questions, notably about injuries to his skaters (Rachael in particular, and I don't believe for a second that he never watched Ice Diaries), he did a lot of politicking for Max and Brandon...
    Yeah, my biggest takeaway from this interview was that he is a very smooth talker and knows how to say all the right things.
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    I doubt very much that a coach who seems very concerned with his skaters' image and with politicking for them would *not* watch a TV show in which they were prominently featured. If only to make sure that they personally came off looking the way they wanted to look.
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    I just listened to part 2. Tom said many thoughtful, interesting, and positive things. Why focus only on the negative?
    I didn't expect Tom to throw any of his current or former skaters under the zamboni.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparks View Post
    I just listened to part 2. Tom said many thoughtful, interesting, and positive things. Why focus only on the negative?
    I didn't expect Tom to throw any of his current or former skaters under the zamboni.
    Did we expect him to do that? That would only undermine his role as a coach, and future new students. ;-)

    Just finished watching both parts of the interview.
    Interesting review of Zakrajsek's career from his start as a skater, his early coaching in Missouri, acquiring Bradley kids as skaters, AP McDonough's career,on to Abbott, Flatt, Zawadski, Aaron

    Much of the discussion was void of any real drama. Zakrajsek seems thoughtful about his answers, to avoid controversy.

    Zakrajsek avoided "real" answers about Josh Farris's issues at US Nationals (odd, don't seem to recall any specific Q's about that event....perhaps it was out of bounds, edited out); he hid behind HIPAA laws in answering questions about Flatt's injury; Jenny and Dave asked why he thought Flatt was fined as other athletes have competed injured and divulged that information after the fact (Lysack)...inconsistencies in USFS policy...was Zakrajsek fined as well? Dave should have asked that Q. ;-). Zakrajsek defended Flatt and disappointed in Jenny in using word "polarizing" to describe Flatt when they discussed Flatt's career with him re:USFS, media and fan support.

    Curious conversation about Abbott....thought that break up was fraught with discord. But, he also talks about goose bump moments in Abbott's skating over the years. Perhaps with time/distance, Zakrajsek has a new perspective on what an amazing talent Jeremy is. Zakrajsek talks about Mroz's efforts to stay in the sport. That must be a personal disappointment for him....incredibly gifted athlete, but struggles with work ethic. Aaron seems to be the focus moving forward. Let's hope Max stays healthy.

    The question I would have liked Jenny and Dave to ask....Does Zakrajsek wear rose colored glasses? His athletes, aside from Abbott, have consistently been criticized as lacking the second mark. Why does TomZ not work harder to improve that aspect of his skaters performances. is he that controlling that he can not work on an equal platform with another coach/choreographer...to improve that aspect of his skaters development? He mentions Tom Dickson and Catarina Lindgren...why are they not a more integral part of his athletes' development from the start?

    He has had some pretty gifted athletes...particularly Abbott...but no World medalists in the group (Flatt had highest finish of his World team athletes, 5th in 2009). But only remaining elite athlete is Aaron. Abbott, Zawadski, Farris, Flatt (graceful exit from his coaching to NoCal and college), Bradley's last season was with his sister coaching him before retiring. When will TomZ smell the coffee? ;-). He has been very fortunate to have quite a talented group of athletes over the last decade, but the rate of exit must indicate an underlying issue with his coaching IMO

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