U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott is leaving his coach of 10 years, Tom Zakrajsek, and will train with former world champ Yuka Sato at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Abbott, who also won the Grand Prix final last season, has trained with Zakrajsek at the Colorado Springs World Arena since 1999.
"I am sad to be leaving Colorado, where I have lived my whole life," Abbott said Friday, "but am very excited about my future and the opportunities that lie ahead.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without Tom. I am so grateful to him and everyone else at the World Arena for all that they have done for me in the past."
Zakrajsek was the Professional Skating Association's coach of the year last season.
"I want to thank Jeremy for allowing me to lead him these past 10 years," Zakrajsek said. "I am very proud of my work with him and wish him good luck in his new situation."
That new situation teams Abbott with Sato, the 1994 world champion and a coach at the Detroit Skating Club since 1998. Sato also works with 2009 U.S. women's champion Alissa Czisny.
Although Abbott had a disappointing showing at the world championships in Los Angeles in March _ he was 11th _ the 23-year-old Abbott had a strong season.
Besides winning nationals and the Grand Prix final, he was first at the Cup of China event and stamped himself as a contender for the 2010 U.S. Olympic team.
Earlier Friday, U.S. pairs champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker announced they are training with John Nicks, the renowned coach who led Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner to a world pairs title and Sasha Cohen to the Olympic silver medal. McLaughlin and Brubaker had trained with Dalilah Sappenfield since pairing up in 2006.
There have been four coaching switches in four days by high-profile U.S. skaters. Mirai Nagasu, the 2008 U.S. women's champion, announced Wednesday she is training with Frank Carroll. Rena Inoue and John Baldwin, two-time U.S. pairs champs, said Monday they'll be coached by Jenni Meno and Todd Sand.
"We needed a change, a big change," McLaughlin said. "This is going to be one of the toughest years for us, having it be our first Olympic season, and we felt comfortable going with someone that had that experience."
Babilonia and Gardner's world title in 1979 was only the second by a U.S. pair. They were medal favorites for the 1980 Olympics, but they had to withdraw after Gardner got hurt. Nicks also coached Meno and Sand, whose silver medal at the 1998 worlds is the best finish by an American pair since Babilonia and Gardner, and two-time world bronze medalists JoJo Starbuck and Kenneth Shelley.
The Hall of Famer also was Cohen's longtime coach.
"Of course it's hard to see your students move on. However, we all made this decision with a great deal of deliberation and forethought," Sappenfield said. "I wish them nothing but the best."
The United States has had a notoriously tricky time developing world-class pairs teams. American pairs have won only two medals at worlds since 1998, and haven't won an Olympic medal since 1988.
But McLaughlin and Brubaker have the makings to be international contenders. Together only three years, they've made a shockingly quick rise in a discipline where it normally takes years to develop chemistry and cohesion.
They've won two U.S. titles _ three when you throw in their junior crown _ as well as the world junior title in 2007. They qualified for the Grand Prix final in their first season as seniors, and have won medals at every Grand Prix event they've done the last two years.
They have great athleticism and speed, and are so good at portraying emotion and expression they could give actors a few tips.
But they lacked their usual polish at nationals, and their debut at the world championships was a disappointment. They finished 11th, two spots behind fellow American upstarts Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, who had been together nine months.
Brubaker had surgery April 3 to repair two sports hernias, tears in the muscles of the lower abdomen.
"We look forward to working with Mr. Nicks this season to attain our goals of qualifying for the Grand Prix Final, retaining our U.S. title and preparing for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games," Brubaker said.