March 25, 2006

Cohen legacy will not include titles

By Steve Keating

CALGARY (Reuters) - After letting another gold medal slip
through her fingers at the world figure skating championships
on Saturday, Sasha Cohen was left to ponder her legacy.

"I know I won't be remembered for winning a lot of
championships," said Cohen, in the aftermath of another
stunning collapse that left her with a bronze medal behind U.S.
team mate Kimmie Meissner and Japan's Fumie Suguri.

"Hopefully it will be for more than that, for the skating."

It is likely, however, that another shaky performance with
the gold medal in sight cemented Cohen's reputation as one of
the most fragile competitors in figure skating history.

With Olympic gold medallist Shizuka Arakawa and defending
champion Irina Slutskaya not competing in Calgary, Cohen was
installed as the gold medal favorite coming into the worlds.

But once again, Cohen cracked under the pressure of the big

After a silver medal at the Turin Olympics, a pair of
runner-up results at the worlds and four second place finishes
at the U.S. championships, Cohen had finally looked poised to
shed her unwanted tag of figure skating's perennial bridesmaid
and make the final step to the top of the podium.

Cohen arrived at Saturday's free skate sitting in first
place but with a long history of squandering gold medal

Just four weeks ago the 21-year-old American had been in a
similar position at the Turin Olympics, leading after the short
program only to give the gold medal away with a flawed free

Presented with another golden opportunity, a determined
Cohen promised things would be different but in the end wilted
again in what might have been her final competitive

An immensely talented skater, capable of brilliance one
performance and disaster the next, Cohen's career could end
without having ever won a significant international title as
she contemplates a move from the rink to the stage.

"I'm past the medals right now," said Cohen. "For me it's
about the performance and this was a low performance.

"As I've moved through the sport medals have become less
and less important.

"I've learned it's about the journey, not about the

"I'm still learning to be able to give it my all, to get
lost in that moment.

"I still haven't found that automatic robot to pump out top
performances. That's something I'm still searching for."