At the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, all eyes were on 14-year-old Mirai Nagasu after she roared into first place after the short program. Sitting beside her in the Kiss and Cry area was her primary coach, Charlene Wong, and their reactions after the high scores were announced are priceless (see below). Everyone commends Mirai for her artistic, fluid and musical style of skating (considering she's only 14!) and Charlene, who has coached Mirai since 2006, has played a major role in bringing these elements to Mirai's skating, while also balancing her youth and growing maturity.
Charlene has had a dynamic skating career of her own in the 1980s and 1990s. Charlene, now 41, was a four-time silver medalist at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships (1983, 1988-1990) and also competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics. After turning professional in 1990, she won her first event, the 1990 U.S. Open Professional Figure Skating Championships and also toured extensively with Torvill and Dean. She was also married to American skater Scott Williams (he coached Michelle Kwan to the 2003 U.S. and World Championship titles) and they divorced in 2001. Coaching full time has kept Charlene busy -- she has 40 students, ranging from recreational to "Mirai-level," and travels to competitions for three of her skaters. She currently lives in Hermosa Beach, California, with her five dogs, and travels to Canada to visit her parents and two siblings.
Below is Charlene's winning program from the 1990 U.S. Open, skating to Claude Debussy's The Afternoon of A Faun.