Strain of shared-coaching relationship hinted at after historic U.S. ice dance gold


Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada wait for their score with their coaches Oleg Epstein (left) and Marina Zoueva (right) Monday at the ice dance free skate. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The shared-coaching relationship atop the ice dance world that seemed too harmonious to be true showed a hint of strain on Tuesday, the morning after Marina Zoueva’s prized pupils from the 2010 Vancouver Games, Canadians  Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, were relegated to silver at the Sochi Olympics by Zoueva’s other protégés, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

For the past decade, the two couples have trained alongside each other in suburban Detroit, under the watchful eye of Zoueva, 57, who competed for the former Soviet Union, where she established herself as a choreographer and coach, before immigrating to North America seeking greater opportunity in the early 1990s.

For the past four years, either the American duo or their Canadian rivals have won every major international title.

In Monday’s free skate at Sochi’s Iceberg Skating Palace, Davis and White built on the lead they’d established with short program to become the first Americans to win Olympic gold in ice dance. And they did so with a record combined score of 195.52 points.

Virute and Moir earned 190.99.

At a news conference in Sochi Tuesday, Moir was asked whether he and Virtue had gone through tough times with Zoueva, who also juggles siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani in addition to Davis and White.

“There are moments where you take a step back and evaluate whether this situation was ideal,” said Moir, 26. “We have to credit Marina. There were times when we weren’t happy, and we sometimes felt that she wasn’t in our corner. But she handled that really well.”

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Analysis: Ice dance gold was culmination of a long journey for Davis and White

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Putin decries disputed non-goal from Saturday’s U.S.-Russia game

White and Davis win first-ever ice dance gold for U.S.

Photos from Day 11 | Daily TV schedule | U.S. medal winners

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