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Friday: Tidbits from New York and Taipei

Carroll hopes Nagasu has turned a corner; Ladwig's boot fixed

Mirai Nagasu's coach Frank Carroll was unable to accompany her to Four Continents.
Mirai Nagasu's coach Frank Carroll was unable to accompany her to Four Continents. (Sarah S. Brannen)

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By Alexandra Stevenson and Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(02/18/2011) - His pupil Mirai Nagasu is competing in Chinese Taipei at the Four Continents, but last night Frank Carroll walked the red carpet at the New York premiere of RISE.

The veteran coach was integral to the making of the cinematic feature, which chronicles his long-ago relationship with his own coach, Maribel Vinson Owen, who perished along with her two daughters in the crash of Sabena Flight 548 en route to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague.

"I told Mirai long before the nationals started I was not going to go to the Four Continents," Carroll said.

"I got very sick this year, for nine weeks, coming back from China. I just felt like I didn't want to make that long trip. I wanted to come here, and U.S. Figure Skating wanted me to come here, so I made that choice."

In Taipei, Nagasu -- who placed third at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, NC -- is accompanied by her ballet coach, Galina Barinova.

"She is in very good hands," Carroll said. "Galina is a wonderful, wonderful lady. Mirai is relaxed around her. She helps Mirai in many ways I don't help her. It's going to be a different influence and let's see how it turns out."

Carroll was less-than-thrilled with Nagasu's free skate in Greensboro, particularly her flubs of two relatively simple elements, a flying spin and double Axel. In the kiss & cry, he told his charge, "You gave it away."

"Oh yes, I was very angry," he said. "There were things that didn't happen between the two of us and I think she learned something very valuable, because she seemed a different young lady afterwards. I hope I've finally gotten through to her.

"Sometimes working with skaters, it takes a long time before they really understand or get it. I think she's really made a breakthrough with it. So maybe not winning, coming third was a good thing."

Another thorn in Carroll's side is the delay opening his new rink near Palm Springs, Calif. Although he is teaching at Lake Arrowhead, the 72-year-old doesn't relish the long and winding drive up and down the mountain, especially with snow and ice on the ground.

"When is the new rink in Palm Springs going to open? That's a good question. The opening is set for the 23rd of April, but it may be a little later. Evan [Lysacek] wants to come but he's on tour in Canada until the 16th of May, so I hope he will be able to make it."

U.S. pair silver medalists Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig narrowly averted disaster on Thursday, when Ladwig's left boot heel broke off while they were competing their short program.

Fortunately, Canadian pair bronze medalist Rudi Swiegers, a pal of Ladwig's who has trained with him in Ellenton, Fla., ran from the seats and loaned his own left boot.

Thursday night, Ladwig got a better break when a member of the local organizing committee took him to the Taipei equivalent of Home Depot. There, Ladwig was able to set the boot with a heavy duty epoxy and reinforce it with two steel blades.

On Friday morning, a skate technician from the practice facility "showed up out of nowhere" and helped Ladwig screw four bolts into the heel. They even colored the steel plates with a sharpie, so they aren't visible.

"We drilled out the heel from under the sole all the way through," Ladwig said. "We bolted it from top to bottom so it won't come apart. I also added stir-ups basically to the sides. The layer that separated was smothered in epoxy glue. Those three fail safes should make it through Worlds. I hope to (keep it through the season)."