JULY 2010 SKATING MAGAZINE
LAURA ROSLIN – FROM TOP STAR TO TOP COACH
Everyone in the world of figure skating knows the name Laura Roslin. Roslin's gold-medal-winning performance at the 1972 Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan is still considered one of the greatest Olympics freeskates of all-time, and her subsequent tearful dedication of her gold medal to her family, victims of the crash of Sabena Flight 548 in 1961, is still engraved in the memories of all who watched her ascend the podium that fateful night.
Roslin enjoyed great success on the professional circuit after retiring from the sport following her win at the 1972 World Championships, performing with Ice Capades for numerous years before setting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she is currently coaching at the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club.
SM: Good evening, Ms. Roslin, and it is a pleasure to be interviewing you again.
LR: Thank you very much! It is wonderful to be here again.
SM: Should we start with the hard questions?
LR: Oh, I fully expected you to.
SM: Kara Thrace's loss to Yu Na Kim in Vancouver was clearly devastating to her. Was it the loss itself that persuaded her to change coaches?
LR: As you know, Kara and I have been hesitant to talk about this. We do not want there to be any hard feelings. She decided that she had learned what she could in Canton and needed a change of pace. I was happy to give that to her.
SM: Bill Adama has made it clear that the change in coaches was not a mutual agreement.
LR: I don't know what Bill said. Quite frankly, I have not been paying attention. I am a coach. I was asked by a very talented young lady to help prepare for her Sochi in 2014, and we agreed to give it a go together. I think you will see the benefits of our working together on the ice this fall. I firmly believe that you are going to see a fully rejuvenated Kara Thrace on the Grand Prix circuit.
SM: So you have nothing to say to Bill Adama?
LR: Bill Adama and I have had a cordial relationship for several decades. As I stated previously, I hope there will be no hard feelings, and that everyone involved will continue to be professional.
In Canton, Bill Adama threw the issue across the room, seething. Saul winced as the magazine struck the wall and landed in a heap on the floor, but his friend ignored him, glowering into the floor instead.
"I know how you feel about that woman," Saul intoned, "but Kara made her choice. It didn't have nothing to do with your history with Laura fucking Roslin."
Bill just grunted, still glaring at the floor. "I know that," he said. "Doesn't make me feel any better about it, though."
"Yeah, well," Saul said, taking a long swig from the flask he kept under his hooded sweatshirt, "you'd better figure it out soon, cause Skate America is in a matter of months, and you're gonna be face to face with both of 'em then."
Adama grunted again, words failing him. Sighing, he stood, his knees popping, and he winced. "Dee and Lee outside?"
"Dee's outside warming up, yeah. No idea where your damned son is. She's gonna kill him if he's late again. Are you even in the mood to coach? I can take it today."
Bill paused, then slid down into his chair again, shaking his head. "No, you'd better do it. Focus on the twizzles. Their twizzles are a mess."
"Aye aye, Sir," Saul said, turning to leave. "And Bill, don't do anything do stupid."
"Like call Roslin. Again. Won't change nothin' that's happened."
"I know that," Bill snapped.
"Alright then," Saul said.
"Yeah, yeah," Bill said, waving a hand as Saul headed out of the office. Bill watched through the window as his son appeared at the far exit, hurriedly slipped his skate guards off, and slid onto the ice. Even from here he could tell Dee was about to tell him off. He didn't feel particularly bad for Lee.
Knowing that it was against his better judgment, he picked up his phone, dialing a number he had memorized decades ago.
"No, no, no, Kara," Laura said, sighing, as she skated over to her charge. "You're leaning forward way too much. When did this start? I don't remember seeing this last season."
Kara slapped a hand against the ice, pulling herself to her feet. Third botched double axel in a row. She sighed, pushing some of her short hair out of her face. "I don't know," she confessed. "It seems like starting yesterday I just can't do it."
Laura skated around her slowly, frowning. "It's easier to develop a bad habit then fix one," she said, an oft-repeated mantra. "Focus on not leaning forward. Your double axel has always been wonderful up until right now, and I don't want to have to waste time working on that every day when we still need to finish choreographing. Visualize."
Kara nodded, skating around haplessly as she closed her eyes and pictured herself doing the double axel. She'd been landing this jump for over a decade now. Normally it was her most solid jump – solid enough that she'd briefly tried for a triple when she was 15 and her body worked better. She could see it now, feel it in her bones. She wasn't sure what had changed.
Just do it like you always did.
Skating away, she moved to the far edge before beginning her back crossovers, gaining speed and momentum as she headed toward the area of the rink where she would do the jump in her long program. Don't lean forward.
She jumped, up, 2 ½ turns around, and this time landed, cleanly skating a curve out of it.
"There you go!" Laura called, nodded enthusiastically, her arms crossed. "Do a couple more. Get it out of your system. Just keep picturing it in your head."
"Um, Ms. Roslin?"
Billy Keikeya stood at the edge of the rink, holding the cordless phone, his face suggesting that he was expecting to be yelled at any second.
"Yes?" she responded eyes narrowing.
"I meant to hang up, I swear," he said, covering the mouthpiece, "but he asked if you were here first, and I said yes, and I know you're trying to keep this from getting out of hand, so I figured maybe it would be better to take the call…" he trailed off as Laura raised an eyebrow.
"It's Adama, isn't it?"
Billy nodded, wincing.
She sighed, pressing her fingers against her forehead as she stroked over to the edge and held out a hand. Kara watched nervously, and Laura covered the mouthpiece as well as she looked back at her. "Double axels, young lady. Go."
She removed her hand, lifting the phone to her face. "Hello, Bill."
"Laura. Interesting article in Skating this month."
Laura sighed. "I recall working very hard to not offend you in that article, Bill."
"Wasn't the way I read it."
Laura waved Billy off, stepping down into the stands area and behind the glass, lowering her voice. "You're being completely unprofessional, Bill," she reminded him, trying to keep her anger in check. "It's a contract. She changed coaches. It happens."
"I have coached her since she was 7 years old, Laura," he shot back. "She never even talked to me. Not once. One day she was here, the next her agent is telling me she made a change. It's absolute bullshit."
"Then call her about it," Laura said, pushing her hair back. "I had nothing to do with that situation, and you know it." There was silence on his end, and she turned her back entirely to the rink, whispering now. "It's not that she made a change, Bill," she said, fury emanating from her. "Not just, and we both know it. It's that she came to me, right? It was 40 years ago, Bill. Don't you think it's time we let the past go?"
"No," he hissed back.
With a beep, she turned the phone off, resolutely handing it back to a shocked-looking Billy. Sighing, she leaned against the glass, closing her eyes briefly. It was a frequent position. Every time she even thought of Bill Adama, she felt like crying.
She turned back. Kara was waiting on her, breathing heavily. "I think I got it back," the blonde said, flashing a bright smile.
Laura nodded, skating back to her. "Good. Now we need to put it into your short. Ready for a run-through?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," Kara said, still smiling.
"Alright. Center ice, young lady. Billy!"
The boy's head appeared as Laura skated back to the edge. "Miss Thrace's music, please."
She watched as Kara took a lap, clearly visualizing the choreography they'd finished, which was most of the program. David Wilson would be there later that week to finish up the short and, hopefully, the long as well. Kara skated to the center, facing where the judges would be, and struck her starting pose, a cocky grin on her face.
As the strains of Carmina Burana began, Laura still found her thoughts drifting, settling firmly to a time 40 years ago, when she had been on top of the world.