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Sasha Cohen: Fire on Ice    by Sasha Cohen & Kathy Goedeken order for
Sasha Cohen
by Sasha Cohen
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2005 (2005)

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Ranked among top performers and a contender for the 2006 Olympics gold medal, the championship ice skater recounts her life and career in Sasha Cohen: Fire on Ice. Born in 1984 in Westwood, California, she was given the name Alexandra Pauline. Training early in gymnastics, Sasha soon fell in love with skating and devoted herself to the ice at the age of seven. Since that time, she has competed in venues including Skate Canada, Skate America, the 2002 Olympics at Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Nationals. Her routines include Carmen, My Fair Lady, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake. Kathy Goedeken's photographs in this book are exceptional, featuring Cohen in varied skating positions, as well as with friends and family.

Cohen provides interesting tidbits of information about ice skating. For example, did you know that figure skates come in over twenty boot styles, and fifteen different blades? I didn't. Sasha writes candidly of victories and defeats, intensive training, and the devotion of her family and coaches. She speaks of the search for the right skating outfits and for music compilations. She writes of advances in skill, with a range of emotions including excitement, exhilaration, and tension - as she accomplished the waltz jump (the foundation for more intense jumps), double jumps, single axels, triple jumps, triple toe, Lutz, and the quad Salchow. In competition, Sasha tells us, 'I take my usual approach, methodically talking myself through everything: okay, just breathe, step, spin, crossover, keep going, warm up this jump, this landing, hold, balance. I'm trying not to overwhelm myself. It's so easy to slip into, 'Oh my God, look at all these people ... I'm at the Olympics!' But I keep my mind on what I'm doing: I keep breathing.'

In the summer of 2000, Sasha suffered a setback at Lake Arrowhead preparing for the Hot Summer Nights show. During stretching exercises , she 'felt a crack in her back'. After many attempted diagnoses, Sasha was found to have 'extreme arthritis in her lower right back joint'. To this day, she follows a maintenance regimen of physical therapy, and core exercises. Sasha Cohen - who writes of skating competitors with empathy, understanding, and joy for their successes - is without a doubt a champion. I highly recommend her autobiography for all ages.

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