SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) — Marina Zoueva
faced the ultimate test of her loyalties at the Winter Olympics on
Monday as, in a bittersweet twist for ice dancing's supreme coach, she
found her allegiances torn three ways.
Born and raised in Russia, the spiritual heart and soul of ice
dancing, a part of Zoueva wanted the host nation to win, but she had
also been working tirelessly trying to get the United States or
Canada to top the podium.
As the longtime coach of the American pairing of Meryl Davis and
Charlie White and the Canadian duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir,
it is a scenario that Zoueva has long had to live with.
Four years ago, at the Vancouver Olympics, she coached the gold and
silver medalists — with Virtue and Moir winning on home ice and
Davis and White coming second.
On Monday, Zoueva did it again, but this time the placings were
reversed, with the Americans triumphing ahead of the Canadians.
To top it all off, the Russian pair of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita
Katsalapov finished third, giving her a part in all three
"It was important for me to do a special program for my mother land
country," Zoueva said.
"I chose a Russian story for each program. I wanted to touch the
heart of the people."
After the flower presentation, the winners and runners-up ushered
Zoueva to join them on the Iceberg Skating Palace rink.
She embraced them all one by one, then stood in the middle to pose
for photographers as the crowd applauded. Then she grabbed two
flags, one American and one Canadian, and symbolically held them
together as her star pupils traded their own hugs and kisses.
"Marina really just does an incredible job," Davis said after the
short program. "I think the two teams have very different styles,
very different strengths and very different approaches to skating in