Video: Cohen key to U.S. medal hopes

NBC Universal Anchors and Correspondents
By Dennis Murphy Correspondent
NBC News
updated 2/23/2006 6:18:08 PM ET 2006-02-23T23:18:08

Most agree: if the American women are going to bring home a figure skating gold medal from Torino, it's going to have to be around Sasha Cohen’s neck.

Sasha Cohen skates like a ballerina made of Silly Putty. After years of competing in Michelle Kwan’s shadow, last month, she won the U.S. national championship. Now, she’s after another prize.

Dennis Murphy, correspondent: How wonderful would it be for you, after years of being Miss Silver — bridesmaid, not the bride — to be Miss Gold?

Sasha Cohen: I definitely feel like it’s time to win, to win gold, to be on the top.

The "Queen of Silver" is known for sublime routines, though they often ended with unscheduled landings — causing some to label her, fairly or not, a choke artist.

Cohen: I think that I’ve had a little bit of unfair criticism. It’s not always perfect, but I have put out those great performances.

Four years ago in Salt Lake City, a fall in the final took away Sasha’s medal hopes and sent her on a round robin of coaching changes, looking for the missing piece of the puzzle.

But that piece may always have been close at hand. She’s now reunited with the man who’s coached her most of her life, John Nicks.

Murphy: How do you two interact, what’s the dynamic?

John Nicks, Cohen’s coach:  Carefully!

Sasha can admittedly be tightly wrapped. Her coach is as attentive to her perfectionist streak as her layback spins.

Cohen: He really helps to keep that really intense side of me in balance.

She dabbles with modeling, sells watches on TV and wouldn’t mind being asked to do a sitcom if she becomes America’s next ice princess.

Murphy: Is it important for you, Sasha, to be famous — to be the face on the cereal box?

Cohen: Of course. I think that definitely, in skating or out of skating. I love attention...

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