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Thread: Americans Skating for Other Countries

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by mememe
    Also, Jennifer Goolsbee was an ice dancer back in the early 90s -- she competed in the U.S., then her partner retired or something to that effect. She found a German partner and eventually applied for German citizenship and did become a German citizen (I think she was from German ancestry on one side of her family). She really wanted to go to the Olympics, but I think it didn't work out.
    I don't know about any troubles they may have had getting there, but Jennifer Goolsbee & Hendryk Schamberger DID compete at the 1994 Olympics and placed a very nice 9th place I also liked their program, a Jewish folk music dance.

    She later tried to continue her skating career for Germany, after 1995 when Hendryk Schamberger had quit and teamed up with Samuel Gezalian (former partner of Tatiana Navka), but that team didn't really get off the ground, I don't remember what exactly happened in the end. In 1996 they had back luck with illnesses and injuries, and while they did win German Nationals in 1997 (and I have them on tape skating a show together in Germany in the same year I think ), I'm not sure if they ever represented Germany internationally.

    In regards to the topic, I think especially in dance and pairs, the situation would be quite depressing if skaters couldn't look for partners from other countries, especially many smaller countries (small in regards to skating tradition especially) might never be able to build a skating program without some "foreign" input. And it's hard enough finding the "right" skating partner for a team, without being bound by country limits additionally. Who knows if Aljona Sawchenko would ever have found a partner good enough for her in the Ukraine and she's such a talent, it would have been a shame if she had ended up a partnerless "pair" skater there, just because there's no good enough guy in the Ukraine. It took her long enough to find somebody as it was (first Morozov from Russia and now Szolkowy from Germany).
    Last edited by Miezekatze; 08-05-2005 at 06:10 AM.

  2. #32
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emma
    But I do agree that state funding for arts, sports, and education (science, humanities, etc.) are so important, and as we watch, in the US, more and more of what was once 'the public' become private, more and more of the arts, sports, etc. be eliminated from or decreased drastically in size from our national and state budgets...the more distressed i get.
    I don't think you get what I said yet. Sasha has it easy as far as finances are concerned. Her uprooting at that time (by choice) had the family with her and living well. She has the best of all worlds. Kwan now has it since she became a money maker. Baiul was another case in point where the State offered her something she would never have had. Shen and Zhao were better off with Government sponsored sports than living at home. I remember him saying something like that. They had an advantage as far as skating is concerned.

    And yes!!!!! State funding for arts, sports and education are important!!! We all know that and we don't disagree. But that does not exist in the USA for figure skating or any other sport for that matter.

    The question remains for you: Does State sponsored Figure Skating give an advantage to skaters who have it and a disadvantage to those who do not have it?

    It's a simple question. It doesn't need specific personalities. (Attracting blacks into figure skating took a fund raiser.)

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 08-05-2005 at 06:39 AM.

  3. #33
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    Joe...thanks for keeping at it with me...I just think that maybe you and I interpret things differently....I am simply not prepared to say 'x' is an advantage (in this particular case state funding) because TO ME that implies a uniform and measurable, well, advantage....to use an analogy, it would be like a runner running the '50 yard dash' race but only having to cover 45 yards...a 5 yard start advantage....So for me to say state funding provides an advantage, i would need to be able to say precisely how (and it would need to be uniform for all those who receive it).

    I do agree that the former Soviet and current Chinese state support for skating/skaters made/makes it possible for those skaters 'benefited' to skate...and they might like or it praise it ....or not....without that 'benefit' many US families had to pinch pennies, work extra jobs, eat less or less well, mortgage houses etc....I get all that, really...but that does not mean that a) those soviet or chinese skaters 'felt' the advantage the same way a runner would have in my example above (in fact, as individuals, they may have experienced pain, fear, loss etc that potentially negated any advantage they were awarded; OR like your Zhao example, they may well awknolwedge the support and like it, yet still sacrifice a ton...and that too is real); b) i find it hard to compare apples and oranges....individual families in the US may have sacrificed tons, but by the sheer fact of living in the US, they have numerous 'advantages' too...that other people in other countries simply do not (for example, rinks that work, cars for transport, phones to make arrangements etc etc...these are all 'advantages'...does anyone really feel them as such in the moment of waking up at 3:00, driving to the rink, taking a second mortage, etc?). LIkewise, families in the Soviet Union with skating children may have had better apartments, and may not have had to do the 3:00 am shuffle or find financing....but how advantaged did they feel when they missed their children? What kind of pressure to succed did that place on those children?

    Anyway....the other thing that bothers me about the 'advantage' thing is that is sets us (people in general) up once again for all the old cold war ideology debates..."THEY [evil communist people] win because they have an 'unfair' advantage"....sorry, but I just cannot stand those kinds of arguments.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by emma
    ... Anyway....the other thing that bothers me about the 'advantage' thing is that is sets us (people in general) up once again for all the old cold war ideology debates..."THEY [evil communist people] win because they have an 'unfair' advantage"....sorry, but I just cannot stand those kinds of arguments.
    ITA! The governments of certain countries have made a decision to support their Oly athletes to varying degrees; if the USA wanted their skaters/hockey players, etc. to be competitive during the cold war, it could have chosen to provide more support -- and in the US (unlike the USSR), the athletes who didn't like it, had alternatives to persuade the government to provide more money. When it came to Oly medals, the EVILLE Communists reaped the rewards of their choices; when it came to landing the first man on the moon, the USA got to reap the rewards of its choices.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I don't think you get what I said yet. Sasha has it easy as far as finances are concerned. Her uprooting at that time (by choice) had the family with her and living well. She has the best of all worlds. Kwan now has it since she became a money maker. Baiul was another case in point where the State offered her something she would never have had. Shen and Zhao were better off with Government sponsored sports than living at home. I remember him saying something like that. They had an advantage as far as skating is concerned.

    And yes!!!!! State funding for arts, sports and education are important!!! We all know that and we don't disagree. But that does not exist in the USA for figure skating or any other sport for that matter.

    The question remains for you: Does State sponsored Figure Skating give an advantage to skaters who have it and a disadvantage to those who do not have it?

    It's a simple question. It doesn't need specific personalities. (Attracting blacks into figure skating took a fund raiser.)

    Joe
    One benefit to state sponsored sport like in the old communist countries is that it may attract more people to try. In western Europe the stigma that all male figure skaters are gay puts off a large number of boys who might be very talented at it but don't want to pursue it because of the stigma. Equally maybe someone won't even give the sport a go on that basis. The benefits that skaters in eg china receive for skating and doing well far outway any stigma that might be attached to figure skating.

    Ant

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan
    ITA! The governments of certain countries have made a decision to support their Oly athletes to varying degrees; if the USA wanted their skaters/hockey players, etc. to be competitive during the cold war, it could have chosen to provide more support -- and in the US (unlike the USSR), the athletes who didn't like it, had alternatives to persuade the government to provide more money. When it came to Oly medals, the EVILLE Communists reaped the rewards of their choices; when it came to landing the first man on the moon, the USA got to reap the rewards of its choices.

    but they still get to claim the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin) and first woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova), as well as the first man to take a walk in space (I think it's German Titov, but I am not sure.

    It is possible to support both sports, arts and science.

    Yana

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by STL_Blues_fan
    but they still get to claim the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin) and first woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova), as well as the first man to take a walk in space (I think it's German Titov, but I am not sure.

    It is possible to support both sports, arts and science.

    Yana
    I didn't mean to imply that a government couldn't support it all. I mearly wanted to state that governments should reap the consequences of the choices they make. The US chose to support a specific space program, and got a reward; the USSR chose to support sports and other space programs and got different rewards. The US, though, should not whine about the rewards obtained by the USSR when it chose to support certain programs -- sports or space -- that the USA chose not to support.

  8. #38
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STL_Blues_fan
    but they still get to claim the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin) and first woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova), as well as the first man to take a walk in space (I think it's German Titov, but I am not sure.
    Also the first dog in space (Laika).

    But th U.S. gets credit for the first monkey in space and also for the first monkey to survive a space flight (unfortunately, not the same monkey).

    I remember the big panic in the U.S. after the first Sputnik was launched. We used to go out in the back yard and watch for it passing over. The politicians kept warning us that on the next pass it would start dropping atom bombs.

    That's why the U.S. suddenly decided we'd better get on the stick and devote the resources needed to put someone on the moon. That way, we could throw more atom bombs at them than they could throw at us.

    At that time the U.S. also maintained four nuclear-armed submarines whose sole job was to hide under the arctic ice pack and not come out under any provocation. The point was, if the world war three came along and the world was destroyed in a nuclear holocost, afterwards the U.S. would still have some atom bombs left and the other guys wouldn't, having used all of theirs to blow us up.

    Ah, the good old days.

    Mathman

  9. #39
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    Emma - I'm beginning to think we ought to push this thread to where it belongs into Le Cafe.

    Anyway, If I am correct in reading your last post, You are undecided as to whether government sponsored sports have more leaverage in winning more medals than those of non-government sponsored sports. (note: I changed advantage to leaverage, if that helps you.)

    Your bringing up hardships for skaters and their parents has nothing to do with the question. There are apparent hardships in both systems, and we are all aware of the hardships for any skater. But this is not my question. If you wish to start a thread on hardships, by all means do so.

    Also it has nothing to do with the cold war. Many States both socialist and capitalist support their Sports. The US just isn't one of them. It doesn't have to by the rationale that baseball doesn't need government support, why should figure skating?

    I contend that Government sponsored sports greatly assists those States in winning more medals than States with non-Government support. Of course, there will always be an exceptional sportsman with or without Government support, but the entire team needs the support. JMO.

    Joe

  10. #40
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    OK - I'll bite!

    I think "Government Support" needs to be defined. The money in the US coffers comes primarily from Taxpayers. And we need to consider the various levels of Government - Federal, State, Local.

    I would submit that there are a number of sports that recieve plenty of "Government Support" here in the USA - and that begins through the school systems (public ones anyway) which utilize taxpayer dollars (hence in my eyes, government support) to fund school sports programs. Obvious examples include baseball, football, basketball and to a lesser degree, other sports. It just happens that Figure Skating is not (at least to any significant degree I'm aware of) part of this type of Government Support.

    Regardless of the type of Government in any country, I'm sure the "government" (in our case, elected officials directing tax payer money) are choosing sports to support, and not to support.

    So... kids going to public schools that offer various sports programs have more exposure to those sports than other sports that are NOT offered through the schools. So we tend to have lots of great basketball players, football players and baseball players since many kids are exposed, and therefore the ones with "talent" for those sports are more easily discovered.

    If the USA instead chose to make Figure Skating a widely offered sport in the public school system, more gifted kids for that sport would be identified (with so many more exposed), and also financially supported through the early year school programs, scholarships at the higher ed level, etc.

    I suspect that hockey is an example of a sport that recieves similar "Government Support" in Canada, but I could be wrong - I hope someone from Canada will comment.

    Countries pick and choose what sports programs they want to focus on (just like all other matters of public policy). I doubt that any country under any economic system is providing Government Support to ALL sports - it's a pick and choose thing. Figure Skating just hasn't been a chosen sport in the US for Government Support purposes. (at least not to a large degree like the other sports I mentioned)

    So I do think government financial support ads leverage / advantage to a sports program. I guess my point is that we DO have government support for some sports in the USA, just like China has government support (in a different form)
    for some sports, and other countries other sports.
    Just my 2 cents...
    Last edited by Doggygirl; 08-05-2005 at 12:43 PM.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miezekatze
    I don't know about any troubles they may have had getting there, but Jennifer Goolsbee & Hendryk Schamberger DID compete at the 1994 Olympics and placed a very nice 9th place I also liked their program, a Jewish folk music dance.

    She later tried to continue her skating career for Germany, after 1995 when Hendryk Schamberger had quit and teamed up with Samuel Gezalian (former partner of Tatiana Navka), but that team didn't really get off the ground, I don't remember what exactly happened in the end. In 1996 they had back luck with illnesses and injuries, and while they did win German Nationals in 1997 (and I have them on tape skating a show together in Germany in the same year I think ), I'm not sure if they ever represented Germany internationally.
    Thanks -- I had kept up with her career for a while but lost track. Maybe it was the 1992 Olympics where they didn't make it for some strange reason, or maybe I was just remembering wrong. I did recall a partner change, but didn't realize it came after she made the Olympics.

    I just remember at the time wondering if a teenager (I think she was still a teen, or maybe 20 by then) could really understand what it meant to the rest of her life to change citizenship for something that might only last a few years (a competitive and/or professional skating career). I realize people DO change citizenships for jobs and other reasons, but it seemed a huge step to take at the time for a young girl. But again, it was her decision and hopefully it turned out to be worth it to her.

    Thanks again for the update on her.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl
    If the USA instead chose to make Figure Skating a widely offered sport in the public school system, more gifted kids for that sport would be identified (with so many more exposed), and also financially supported through the early year school programs, scholarships at the higher ed level, etc.

    So I do think government financial support ads leverage / advantage to a sports program. I guess my point is that we DO have government support for some sports in the USA, just like China has government support (in a different form)
    for some sports, and other countries other sports.
    Just my 2 cents...
    That's my point that government financial support adds leverage to a sports program. Not only for the 'hidden' talent that exists, but also for the coaches to become more specialzied in the their fields. It also takes some time for a sports program to become effective and imo, the US is lagging way behind, but it's never too late.

    Without a sports program assisted by the government, we will be counting on our 'well off kids' to come up with the talent and money to pay for the best in figure skating. And the question arises - Are they really the best we have?

    Joe

  13. #43
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    That's my point that government financial support adds leverage to a sports program. Not only for the 'hidden' talent that exists, but also for the coaches to become more specialzied in the their fields. It also takes some time for a sports program to become effective and imo, the US is lagging way behind, but it's never too late.

    Without a sports program assisted by the government, we will be counting on our 'well off kids' to come up with the talent and money to pay for the best in figure skating. And the question arises - Are they really the best we have?

    Joe
    ITA with your first point - that government sponsored sports programs add leverage to that sport. The sponsored programs DO find hidden talent, DO find coaches that might otherwise not be found, etc.

    In what way are you saying the USA is lagging behind? If it's in FS specifically, then I would agree, since FS is not what I would consider to be a widely Government Supported USA sport.

    If we're talking baseball, then I would say that the USA is right up there, and my own nephew is benefiting from the Government Support that the USA provides THAT sport. (and I hope I'm in my nephew's will for all the obvious reasons!! - just kidding)

    For non-government sponsored sports in the USA such as figure skating, you are right. These sports do NOT have the same leverage that sponsored sports have, and therefore not as many kids are exposed, and not as many natural talents found.

    But isn't that the whole point of your post? What sports do you think the US Government should be supporting that it is not? And if more sponsorship for sports is part of your proposal, how should those additional sports programs be funded?

    DG

    DG

  14. #44
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    The Duchesneys were an interesting case. He was actually born in France, so I guess he was a citizen there first. Also, they didn't make the move because they couldn't place at Canadians. There were other politics involved. I don't know of anyone else whose situation resembles theirs.

    I don't see whay nationality has any importance in the skating world. It's a sport. There's no reason to bring geography and politics into it. I'd rather not see flags or hear national anthems when medals are presented. Maybe de-emphasizing nationalties would help with the internal politics of skating, too.

  15. #45
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl
    In what way are you saying the USA is lagging behind? If it's in FS specifically, then I would agree, since FS is not what I would consider to be a widely Government Supported USA sport.
    From the thread on how many medals will the US win at the Olys. Dance - 0 Pairs 0 Men - Maybe 1 Ladies - 1. Compare it with countries which have Government sponsorship of fs.

    If we're talking baseball, then I would say that the USA is right up there, and my own nephew is benefiting from the Government Support that the USA provides THAT sport. (and I hope I'm in my nephew's will for all the obvious reasons!! - just kidding)
    Is it State Government or Federal Government? Athletics is part of the school curiculum and it is not surprising that the State would include costs in its budget.

    For non-government sponsored sports in the USA such as figure skating, you are right. These sports do NOT have the same leverage that sponsored sports have, and therefore not as many kids are exposed, and not as many natural talents found.

    But isn't that the whole point of your post? What sports do you think the US Government should be supporting that it is not? And if more sponsorship for sports is part of your proposal, how should those additional sports programs be funded?
    DG
    I'm not saying that the Feds should support Figure Skating. I'm just saying it doesn't, so it is not surprising that countries that do will win more international medals than the US. Of course, there is always the exceptional skater from any country, e.g., Evgeni Plushenko. I think he would win regardless of where he came from. And from Switerland (without government sponsorship) there is Stephane Lambiel who more than likely will win a medal.

    Joe

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