Where does Aldo Montano train and with whom? In the video interview with Giovanni Sirovich, the recently (Jan 1) appointed CT of Italian saber (M & W) http://www.atleticomtv.it/federscherma/index.asp I found one bit of interesting (I suppose) news: Aldo Montano trains in China with the Chinese national team and its CT, Christian Bauer. Montano has always been very close to Bauer, extremely supportive of him, and has given full credit to Bauer for his success in saber in general and for his Olympic gold in Athens in particular. He also has stated that his failures are a consequence of Bauer not being his coach. Since Bauer's defenestration by the FIS and his subsequent migration to China (while Montano is his strong supporter and defender, many others, in Italy and in France are not and are very critical of the French coach methods), Montano has kept in contact and trained on occasion with Bauer and the Chinese team, "under cover" so to speak. This time however it is all in the open. Sirovich said in the interview that Montano had asked for permission to train with his former coach and such permission was granted by the FIS, as long as his training periods would not conflict with the Italian national team training sessions. Compromise reached, everybody is happy... Only fly in the ointment is Montano's physical condition described as "fragile as a delicate piece of crystal." Montano is often plagued with muscular problems, tears, pains etc. However, he is and remains a most exciting sabreist to watch in the world. This news made me think about conflicts many athletes, top athletes, have with national coaches and how federations manage such conflicts. This "new" approach by the FIS towards Montano, giving him the freedom to work and train how he, not the CT thinks is best (provided, I assume, that results keep coming) may be a smart compromise when strong personalities collide. We have had instances of disagreement between top athletes and national coaches or the DHPP. So far it seems that the USFA has always gone against the fencer in case of conflict even if this meant losing an exceptional champion from the program and possibly the sport. I wonder how the USFA will handle such a conflict in the future, considering that we are in the process to formalize the National Coaches cadre (+ DHPP)? Will primadonna athletes with obvious world credentials continue to be the sacrificial lambs in such conflicts of personality with the "system?" Or will the new FIE (with a substantial group of retired fencing champions in its cadre) change the tune and the pendulum will swing more in favor of the elite champions? And if so, what will determine "super elite" status allowing some to be able to pick and choose while others must follow the rules? Another example of how difficult situations defy simple categorization and/or fair (for whom?) solutions.