The biggest winner of Monday night's ice dancing competition never even laced up her skates for the event.
But viewers may recognize her face. She was the brunette with bangs who greeted America's first gold medal winners in the event, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the moment they stepped off the ice. She sat with them as they awaited their scores, alternatively squeezing their hands and waving at the camera.
She did the same with Canadian silver medal winners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and again with 9th place American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani.
U.S. & World
It's not just that she's friendly. Marina Zoueva coaches them all.
The 57-year-old, who runs an elite Michigan skating school, could bask in the triumphs of each medal winner of the night — even those of Russian ice dancers Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapo, who clinched the bronze.
Born in St. Petersburg, Zoueva once competed on the Soviet ice dancing team before eventually relocating to Canada and later the U.S. In preparation for her homecoming of sorts, Zoueva planned each routine with Russia in mind.
"It was important for me to do a special programme for my mother land country," Zoueva said, according to Reuters."I chose a Russian story for each programme. I wanted to touch the heart of the people."
Davis and White, you may recall, skated to the Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, the story of a sultan's clever wife. Virtue and Moir skated to music by Alexander Glazunov, while the "Shib Sibs" skated to another artist beloved in Russia — Michael Jackson.
"He's really, really popular for Russians, as well. I learned myself the Thriller movements," Zoueva told USA Today. "All my skaters in Russia, they learned Thriller."
The results couldn't have been better for Zoueva, who never made it to the Olympics during her own competitive skating career. Before a home crowd, her carefully constructed routines and trained skaters rose to the top of the podium with fellow Russians coming in third.
Still, she admitted on the eve of competition, that even the best case scenario — one of her teams place first, another second — she would feel some sorrow for the silver medal-winning pair.
“I always so much enjoy for the team that wins and am very sorry – sometimes cry – for the team that lost,” Zoueva said, according to NBC Olympics. “For me they are individuals, I keep in my heart both of them.”