When I saw this news about Rena Inoue and John Baldwin making a coaching switch, the first thought that crossed my mind for some reason was Jenni Meno and Todd Sand are coaching now? Really?
I’m not sure why that struck me as so odd, but it did. Maybe in my mind’s eye, I still don’t see them very far removed from their competitive days. This, despite the fact that they’ve been retired for over a decade and are now age 38 (Meno) and 45 (Sand).
It probably says more about me than it does about them; I’m just a little older than Jenni myself, so perhaps the idea of my “contemporaries” moving closer to that other end of the spectrum is one I don’t like to deal with. But as long as we ARE dealing with it, I got to thinking about what other fairly recent retirees could make for interesting coaches of current US skaters… let’s see if these make any sense to anyone else:
--Rachael Flatt and… Sarah Hughes: What seems to be said often about Flatt is that she’s very reliable, but when it comes to really performing her programs she comes up a little… well… flat. Enter Hughes, who obviously managed to find all the right elements at the right time in 2002 and zoom past the bigger medal contenders. Plus, she won at an age close to what Flatt will be next winter… too bad Sarah’s probably only willing to help one Olympic hopeful right now, and her name happens to end in “Hughes” too.
-- Jeremy Abbott and… Timothy Goebel: I’m really just thinking in practical terms on this one. Worlds performance aside, one of the only things missing from Abbott’s programs right now are a bevy of quadruple jumps. If he wants to beef up his repertoire in time for Vancouver, why not learn from The Quad King?
-- Davis/White and… Rahkamo/Kokko: this is tricky because it goes on the assumption that something about Davis/White’s skating is lacking something in particular. Hardly! But then I got this mental picture of the Finnish champions helping them stand out in some wide-eyed, witty way, and it stuck with me.
Here is the Rahkamo/Kokko FD from 1994 Worlds as the Clip of the Day … see if you can imagine D/W in roles like these, too.