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UPDATED: How Important is Exclusivity?

One of the major questions raised about the Lambiel coaching switch to work with Viktor Petrenko and Galina Zmievskaya is what does this mean for Johnny Weir? According to the IFS Magazine forum:

Weir has not commented on the move, but he has said he went to Zmievskaya, in part, for the exclusivity she offered.

As you can likely remember, using the same choreographer/coach as a rival became too much for Daisuke Takahashi. He recently split with Nikolai Morozov, who was beginning to train fellow Japanese skater Nobunari Oda.

I know there are definitely many cases where skaters of the same event share coaches while competing. I am guessing there is a certain necessity to it - I mean, there are only so many amazing coaches for the skaters to work with.

Additionally, I know there are a few very successful choreographers who work with several skaters who compete in the same events in the same season. Even that would get to me if I were a skater - I'd probably be constantly checking out the other programs and wondering why I wasn't given such and such a move or something like that.

A positive aspect of sharing a coach with a direct competitor could actually be that the closeness to the other competitor actually fuels the competitiveness of a skater - seeing a "rival" excel often made me want to try harder (though, other times it made me want to quit!). This is view taken by Axels, Loops, and Spins:

Two of the sports most artistic talents training together...should be interesting! I think these two can really push each other.

So maybe it can be a good thing.

What do you think?


Here is another article about Weir's reaction. Some excerpts:

Reports today indicating a relocation and coaching change by Stéphane Lambiel, a two-time World champion (2005-06), to the New Jersey Ice Vault training rink of reigning World bronze medalist Johnny Weir came as an early morning surprise to many in the skating world – including Weir. "The first I heard about it was when I woke up to an incoming rush of text messages from friends in Europe and Russia. Everyone was looking for confirmation, but I had nothing to tell them," Weir said.

...During Petrenko’s trip abroad, Lambiel spent a few days in New Jersey working with Zmievskaya. "Russians work as a team, so it’s not unusual that Stéphane was skating with Galina (Zmievskaya)," Weir said. "I imagine that Stéphane will now probably also work with the same Pilates instructor I have, and perhaps the same masseuse."

Weir admits things could become too cozy for comfort once the competitive season gets underway. "I haven’t personally decided if it will be beneficial for me to train with another elite skater," he said. "We both want to be the next Olympic champion, and to do that, it will be a fight for all of the titles until Vancouver. To have a rival training next to me, on the ice doing run-throughs, observing every move I make is something I haven’t experienced and until I do, I cannot know whether I’ll like it or I won’t. But, I hope this arrangement can push us both to work hard and conquer the world."

So it looks like Weir will be staying put for now and he'll see how it goes.