Virtue/Moir gained the most from the postpone of the competition It's hard to spot the coach of the Olympic champions on the ice dance Marina Zueva alone on the rink during the major competition - she is usally acocmpanied by her coaching partner Igor Shpilband. Nevertheless she was sitting alone durnig the qualification round in the Kiss and Cry with the Lithuanian couple Tobias/Sagnunas. She explained later in the mixed zone: MZ: Igor is only flying from the USA today with the 3 American couples. I came to Moscow a couple of days earlier since our Lithuanian couple participates the qualifications (they finished third) EV: The Olympic champions Virtue/Moir came with you to keep you company? MZ: No, it was a calculated decision to show up publically as soon as possible. Tessa and Scot did not participate any competitions this year. Their first championship was supposed to be the 4CC, but they only completed the SD there. Hence we had to show the pair to as many judges as possible here in Moscow so they know how ready Virtue/Moir are to fight for the gold. EV: Why did Tessa need the repeating surgery at the first place? As far as I know nothing predicted there would be complications. MZ: Yes, that's right. We were training as usually, even though we started wroking a bit later than usually. And then Tessa had pains in her legs, just like two years ago. It turned out there was a self healing process in her muscles - the parts that were cut during the first surgery to allow the oxygen flow healed, so this time not only around the muscle had to be cut, but some of the muscle as well. All that happened in October, so by the 4CC Tessa copletely recovered, and their withdrowing from the competition has nothing to do with that surgery. Just that when Tessa started skating she pulled he hip a bit up and feeling some pain she decided she might not be able to edude two problems at the same time. So she stopped. EV: Were you frightened? MZ: No, As a coach I have to be ready for everything. Besides, I realized immediately the problem with the hip was not not particularly major. EV: Have a thought of them missing the Worlds cross your mind? MZ: No. WE knew we have plenty of time. The doctors notified us how long would it take to recover, so there was no panic nor hurry. Though this time more time was needed for healing. EV: So it seems that the championship being postponed was for their benefit much more than for the others? MZ: Yes. EV: Virtue/Moir held 3 official pracices in Moscow. What are their chances? MZ: We were told at the 4CC they have good programmes and that the guys have changed. EV: How? MZ: We changed the style. In the previous four years Tessa and Scott developed the so-called lyrical-romantic theme in different storied. We took classical music from movies and playes. In the FD this year we use a 100% dance music - latin rhythms. The whole programme is packed with technical elements, transitions, combinations, it almost lacks the slow part, there is no time to breath. We left the drama and creating a character in the skate, it's a pure dance now. EV: Which part do you like the most? MZ: The beginning. Though I like the whole dance. Of course we worked with the latin dance specialists, the guys worked with them till they left to Moscow, so Virtue/Moir fulled everyone , so to say, they are now ready for the short dance next year, which is the latin. EV: Which reaction did you like the most? MZ: That this dance emphasizes Tessa. All of the sudden everyone started gushing about how well she moves. EV: You can't argue with the fact the previous programmes of Virtue/Moir were mainly for the male partner? MZ: In a way yes. I wanted to show how the man can treat a woman. How he worshipish her. In the new programme Tessa is no more a goddess who is worshiped and carried in the arms, but a living woman. EV: What can you say about their short dance? MZ: The short dance is indeed, there is not much to say about. The choreographers don't have much to say but have to use all their knowledge to put the needed moves under the given rules. There is a bit of space in the waltz that is used this year, mainly because the `Golden Waltz' is not too old. It was invented in the 80s of the last centure, while the history of the dance is indeed very wide. There are so many types of waltzes, Rumba, on the other hand, which was chosen for the next year exists for about 70 years now, so nothing new can be invented. The SD became a modification of the old school compulsory. The only place left for imagination and interpretation are the beginning and the end. EV: Your american pari Davis/White have some advantage over the Olympic champion having participated more competitions this seaoson. MZ: Yes. Not only that, but they won all the competitions they entered this season. It gives him a huge confidence. I'd say both teams have a chance to win in Moscow. The competition is much more tight than it was last year. EV: Three teams you and Igor coach were on the podium in the USA nationals. Does it become harder working with so many pairs on such a high level? You must be burnt out... MZ: The tiring thing is the routine work. Which is not our case - things happen all the time. I thought after the Olympics things would be calm and there will be time to rest, but it was then when the Russian teaam Hohlova/Andreev happened. As you can gather it's never boring with a new team. Just when things started coming together Tessa had to have her sugery and again we were trying to work out how would she not miss the season, how to prepare the best. EV: Your second American pair - the Shibutanis are often compared in Russia to Ilinyuh/Katsalapov - they are the same age, competed against each other in the juniors and entered together the seniors competitions. It's interesting who will be more successful MZ: Obviously I don't like comparing my skaters to the other skaters. When starting the preparations to the seasons we thought we should do everything we can so not only Shibutanis would make a good impression once they enter the seniors competitions, but would compete for the highest places. And not only in the B level competitions, but in the worlds. EV: YOu mean you think they are ready to fight for the medals? MZ: You bet! As far as the rules go their FD is perfect. Last week the programme was a year old, by the way. Maya and Alex finished the last season with the worlds juniors and almost immediately we started working on the new programmes. The dance we created at the end suits them perfectly. And again, just like Virtue/Moir's it is based on the dance rhythms: Foxtrot and quickstep. I'd say their main virtue is elegance. I think they are the most elegant pair of all who skate now. EV: I always thought it was harder working with a brother/sister team than any others. MZ: Am not sure. It's possible to find the best style for each pair and let them show the best. If the coach finds such a style, it doesn't matter what is the real relation between people, whether they are relatives, lovers or anything else... No one will think about it. Just like when looking at Virtue/Moir no one can imagine they are not romantically involved. The choise of the style is not limited by the romantic only, right?