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Olympic Skater Sasha Cohen Talks NYC Fashion Week and Sochi Figure Skating


Nothing goes better with trying on clothes than a hot pair of shoes and some juicy gossip. So naturally, when Shape was invited to meet with 2006 Olympic figure skating silver medalist Sasha Cohen during her dress fitting before she walks the iconic Red Dress Fashion Show, presented by Macy's and Subway Restaurants, at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, we figured we might be able to get some intel on the U.S. Olympic ice skating team's odds at winning in Sochi. 

SHAPE: How did you first get involved with the Go Red For Women/Heart Truth–Red Dress Fashion Show?
Sasha Cohen (SC): I'm really good friends with Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin. Subway had invited her as a guest to walk the fashion show last year, but since she'll be working as an Olympic correspondent in Sochi this month, she won't be here for this year's event. She mentioned to me how Subway would love someone to walk in her place and I said, "Count me in!" Also, I believe in the cause. So much of heart health is taking care of yourself, which fits in naturally with my persona of being an athlete.

SHAPE: Do you have a passion for fashion?
SC: Yes, I designed all of my skating dresses growing up. First, I would choose the music, listen to it, and then I'd sketch ideas. I would get dye samples made, pick out beads, and then we'd do a mock-up. 

SHAPE: Ever see yourself going into fashion as a second career?
SC: I'm very interested in it. I have this line of socks called Snoxx that snap together so you don't lose them in the washer and dryer. That's my minor foray, but right now, I have a lot on my plate. I go to school full-time at Columbia University and I'll be corresponding for ABC's Good Morning America this month, which I'm super excited about.

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SHAPE: You'll get to comment on some of the drama, like how figure skater Ashley Wagner, who placed fourth at the U.S. Championship, got the invite to Sochi over third-place finisher Mirai Nagasu. Can you talk about that?
SC: Mirai is such a sweetheart. She was the highest American finisher in figure skating at the last Olympics [she placed fourth], then she had a rough few years. To come back, have that performance of her life at the championships, think she made the Olympic team, and then have that taken away? It's devastating. It's difficult because Ashley has so many endorsements, and she's been the highest finisher over the last few years. It was a hard decision to make because Ashley did do better for the U.S. in recent years, but in every other sport, the top three go the Olympics. There's no question. So I imagine it's hard to deal with.

SHAPE: Will Wagner go into the Olympics with something to prove?
SC: I think she'll feel like she needs to justify them giving her the spot instead of Mirai.

SHAPE: With reigning Olympic champion Yuna Kim from South Korea and reigning Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada from Japan returning to defend their titles, do you think that any American has a fighting chance to podium? Maybe favorite Gracie Gold?
SC: When it's your first time and you're young and talented, there's not as much pressure to win. Gracie is certainly well-trained and excited. Obviously, she'll be dealing with a lot of nerves, but it's not the same as feeling as if this were her last Olympics. There will be a second time around for her. I think it is possible for her to do well, especially for third place.

SHAPE: Do you think America's best shot at gold might be the ice dancing couple Meryl Davis and Charlie White?
SC: Definitely. I don't want to call it a shoe-in, but they are going to win this event. They won silver at the last Olympics and have continued to train really hard and stay consistent ever since. They are so talented. They are an ornament for the U.S. Team for this Olympics.

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SHAPE: Is it really unconventional for them to ask someone like Derek Hough from Dancing with the Stars to choreograph their program?
SC: It is a little unconventional, but that's how they keep it fresh. And they've established in their own right that it's their prerogative to do that. They are experienced enough to know what's needed technically for the judges that they can take on fresh inspiration from Hough.

SHAPE: The ice skating team event is making its Olympic debut in Sochi this year. What are your tips for watching this new event?
SC: Think of this as the team event for gymnastics in the Summer Games. You have one person performing in vault, another on floor, another on bars, and so on. It's the same thing, but for figure skating: Someone will compete in the short program, another in the long program, another in ice dancing, etc. The judges will add up the scores for each country. It's really nice to include a team element in this individial sport. I wish they had offered this event when I was skating. It's a chance to win more medals!


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