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Zakrajsek Gets Cocky

The Gazette of Colorado Springs has an article in which Rachael Flatt's coach Tom Zakrajsek allegedly predicts Flatt will make next year's Olympic team, and he does not have the most flattering words for Sasha Cohen.

"Sasha hasn’t competed in how many years?" Zakrajsek said while readying Flatt for the Golden West Championships next month in Culver City, Calif. "The sport has changed since the last Olympics. Sasha has to meet the competitive demands these girls have been meeting for the (three) years Sasha has been out."

Not sure what the point is in having coaches disparage other skaters; if this were football that quote would be pinned up on Cohen's bulletin board for motivation right about now! I also wonder how much Zakrajsek actually predicted that Flatt would make the 2010 team; he was probably just hopeful about it or something as I notice there was no quote. Oh, well. It actually wasn't too bad...

In other Flatt news, she recently met with mentor Dorothy Hamill in Lake Placid, according to Lake Placid News.

Over the past few months, Hamill has been talking with Flatt, listening and giving advice as the pressure builds for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Hamill said she can’t really help Flatt with her technical moves, since figure skating has come so far since the 1970s and 80s, but what she can give her is moral support.

"I’m not her coach," Hamill said. "I’m just another set of eyes. There are things I can’t help her with, like technique on a triple lutz. I just want to be there for her whenever she needs me."

It can be a bit of a challenge to coordinate time to see each other since Flatt lives in Colorado Springs, Colo. and Hamill lives in Baltimore, Md., so the two talk on the phone and text message.

"She’s just been a wonderful person to talk to," Flatt said. "She’s had so many experiences I can only dream of."

Hamill knows the kind of pressure high-level skaters are under. Having someone to talk to could also help skaters avoid psychological problems. Hamill wrote a book called "A Skating Life: My Story," published in 2007, about her struggles with depression.

I love the idea of this pairing, especially when I consider what I regard as Flatt's weakness (posture, line, presence and ability to connect with the crowd). I am hoping that Hamill's years of experience and personal strengths will help.