Silver could give Cohen incentive to continue in 2010
Posted: Thursday February 23, 2006 6:57PM; Updated: Friday February 24, 2006 10:14AM
Sasha Cohen, who led following the short program, fell twice during her free skate, but her effort was good enough for silver.
Vladimir Rys/Getty Images
SI senior writer E.M. Swift was at the Palavela for the ladies' free skating final. He checked in with SI.com shortly after the conclusion of the event.
On American Sasha Cohen (silver medal): "I really thought the warmup had a lot to do with the result, because she fell on a triple loop and she stepped out of a triple flip in the warmup. I think she was in an unsure frame of mind. You could kind of see it in her face. Then -- bang -- right out of the shoot, she misses her first combination jump. I think she was a bit shell-shocked because she then missed her next jump. She got it together to save her medal, because for awhile it looked like she wasn't even going to medal. But the last two and half minutes of her program, she was really good."
On Japan's Shizuka Arakawa (gold): "I'm not stunned, but you definitely thought that of the top three heading in, Shizuka Arakawa had the least chance of coming out of this clean. It turned out the person who skated clean won. She was one of three women who could have won tonight, and by far she skated the best."
On Russia's Irina Slutskaya (bronze): "That's a tough one to figure because she did not look nervous. She looked relaxed. Because Arakawa skated so well, Irina really had to land all her jumps. Either her program was misrepresented in the notes or she was way off. When she fell on her triple loop, she had no chance to recover."
On Americans Kimmie Meissner (sixth place) and Emily Hughes (seventh place): "I thought they both skated terrific. Emily made one mistake when she fell but I think she got as much as she could out of her skills. She did incredibly well. Seventh! That's as good as she possibly could have done. Seventh in the world, that's a shocker. The fact that she came late, was inexperienced, you would have never put her in the top seven in the world before she got here. Except for one fall on a triple loop, she skated as good as she is. Kimmie Meissner was different. Meissner has landed the triple-triple all week and she missed them both tonight. I would say Meissner was a case of nerves. She had the same case of nerves that Cohen and Slutskaya had, because she could do better."
On what's next for the Americans: "Hopefully, the silver medal will give Sasha Cohen the incentive to continue. She has a lot more to give. She's something of a late bloomer mentally, and hopefully she will skate four more years until Vancouver. These girls' bodies can change a lot in four years, but she is somebody you definitely want to watch four years from now. Slutskaya will retire, I'm sure. But I think the future of American skating with Meissner and Hughes is great."