U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott is ending his long-time professional relationship with Tom Zakrajsek at the World Arena in Colorado Springs and moving to the Detroit Skating Club, where he will be coached by Yuka Sato.
"I want to try a new situation and new environment," Abbott said. "I've really thought through this decision. It's not spur-of-the-moment or emotional. After the success I had this year, I thought about what type of training I needed, and [decided] I needed to make a change.
"I've done great work in Colorado Springs, and Tom is an amazing coach. We've been together for 10 years, and I've enjoyed that time. Yes, [the move] is upsetting, but I need to do it for me."
Abbott, who placed 11th at the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, competed as part of the winning U.S. team at the first annual ISU World Team Trophy in Japan last month then traveled to Korea to perform in Yu-Na Kim's Festa on Ice. After those shows, he took a brief European vacation to mull over his options.
"I met Yuka in Korea and talked with her a lot, just as a person, not as a potential coach," said Abbott, who will turn 24 on June 5. "When I got home from vacation and made my decision [to leave Colorado Springs], she was one of the first people I thought of.
"Last week, I went down to DSC, and we kind of tried things out. It just really worked out between us, and I think it will be a good situation for me."
Sato, a two-time Japanese champion who won the world title in 1994, has enjoyed an exceptionally long and successful professional career, performing for many seasons in Stars on Ice and other shows throughout the world. The daughter of two prominent coaches, Nobuo and Yumiko, she is often called "a skater's skater" for her speed, deep edges and fine carriage.