Ice Network

TCC tidbits: Nguyen announces coaching change

Former world junior champion leaves Orser to train with Glynn in San Jose
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Citing the need for a "fresh start," Nam Nguyen will begin training with Polina Edmunds' coach, David Glynn, in Northern California. -Getty Images

SPOKANE, Wash. -- If the format of the 2016 KOSÉ Team Challenge Cup sometimes made tracking the scoring drama problematic, the members of Team North America cut another drama down to size Saturday night.

Polina Edmunds will indeed go to the prom with Nam Nguyen.

The 17-year-old Canadian skater popped the question to the 2014 U.S. Olympian in front of the icenetwork cameras as he waited for his score during the final singles session -- with a sign that teammates Gabrielle Daleman and Gracie Gold had made for him.

"I can't believe he did it!" Daleman shrieked backstage, claiming credit for the idea while waiting to perform her own free skate.

"HAHAHA omg," Edmunds responded over Twitter. "Yes!"

Ah, but there are logistical problems, which is how the whole thing started.

"We were in the skaters lounge talking about prom and how I wasn't going to be able to go to my prom because I'm moving to San Jose," Nguyen recalled. "Then Gracie was talking about how Polina wouldn't be able to go to her prom because she's doing Stars on Ice. I think she completely forgot what I'd said, because she was like, 'You should ask Polina,' and then Gabby and Gracie started making signs.

"I kind of feel good about [getting a yes] -- but I don't know."

Coaching change

As noted, Nguyen will be relocating to San Jose, and in dropping that information, he went on to announce that he's making some major changes. He's splitting from his coach in Toronto, Brian Orser, and will begin working alongside Edmunds under her coach, David Glynn.

"For my situation, it's best to have a fresh start, a new chapter of my life to move on to," he said. "We felt it would be a good idea if I moved to San Jose and worked in a different environment with a different coach, and with someone I know very well."

Nguyen feels he hasn't just stagnated this season but regressed. The low point came when he failed to qualify for the free skate at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships.

"I set a lot of goals for myself and haven't achieved many," he said. "Honestly, I'm really glad this season is over -- and glad it happened. If it hadn't, I wouldn't be able to push myself higher, and that's what's going to happen for next season. I want to start from zero and work my way up."

New trick for a new season

Many of the skaters in Spokane are already into preparations for next season. Some have already chosen program music, while others are just mulling possible changes.

For two-time world pairs champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, restoring the throw quad lutz to their free skate is a possible goal.

"We might revisit that this summer," Duhamel said. "It caused a little problem this season. We need to throw the triple lutz in our short, and working on the quad made our triple inconsistent. That's why we ended up taking it out.

"We're going to look at finding a way to increase the score in our short program next year by finding new things to do," Duhamel continued. "Unfortunately, they don't allow quads in the short program, and that's something we'd like to see changed."

Changing their tune

U.S. ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates are still in the early stages of deciding what to skate to next season. Based on their experience this year, they are going to do eveything in their power to make sure they come up with the right piece and stick with it.

"It's the most important part for us -- finding the perfect piece of music," Bates said. "I think we learned this year having to switch programs in midseason is really not ideal."

No kidding. Though they won gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy in September, they wound up abandoning the Russian folk standard "Dark Eyes" for their short program, which had already been a replacement for an earlier, rejected dance. Once they settled on new music, it took them some time to get truly comfortable with the foxtrot-waltz combination of "More" and "Unchained Melody" they took on for the rest of the season.

"These program changes and sort of the adversity, if you will, is sort of what's allowed us or forced us to grow as much as we have," Bates said. "The past two performances we've skated felt different -- (we've felt) a new freedom and maturity. The growing pains in the beginning of the year have a lot to do with it."