Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Canada's Ice Dance Silver Medalists Question Coach's Loyalty

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir accuse coach Marina Zoueva of not being "in our corner"

By Barry Wilner
|  Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014  |  Updated 2:05 PM CDT
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Canada's Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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Canadian ice dance silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir bemoaned the split allegiance of coach Marina Zoueva, who also works with American gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

They spoke Tuesday, hours after the free dance was won by their Michigan training partners.

"We sometimes felt like (Zoueva) wasn't in our corner," Moir said, more in the way of stating a fact as he and Virtue perceived it than as a complaint. "We had some odd things happen this year. We expected Marina to be on our team and work with us like in Vancouver."

That didn't happen for the 2010 gold medalists, although they insisted they understood why Zoueva spent so much time with Davis and White, and they praised Zoueva for how she handled the dicey situation.

"The shoe was on the other foot," Moir said.

"Whatever differences we had to take care of on our own," Virtue added.

Zoueva, among the world's top ice dance coaches, did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

She did tell NBC Olympics after Sunday's short skate competition, that her full support was behind both teams. She also confirmed that she decided to attend the U.S. Championships in January and not the Canadian Championships (both were scheduled for the same time) because she coached more skaters from the American team.

When Virtue and Moir won the Vancouver Olympics ahead of Davis and White, they were on the cutting edge of ice dance. But the Americans overtook them in the last four years and came to Sochi as world champions and Grand Prix Final winners.

There were times in the last year when Virtue and Moir had to re-evaluate their relationship with the coach. Moir said they went to Zoueva "on countless occasions" to tell her they would not be happy with a silver medal.

"We felt a little bit like it was getting away from us," Moir said. "We were trying to get balance. She listened to us and kind of reshaped our programs. She's an artist, too, and wanted to keep her vision."

The Canadians, who have not yet announced future plans but are expected to retire from competition, were not downgrading the silver after it was in their hands. They admitted to being thrilled with how well they skated.

 "We couldn't have asked for more about our performances," Virtue said. "It's nice to be satisfied and content with our job. We've managed to create the Olympic moment."

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