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Thread: NY Times Magazine Story on American Figure Skating

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    NY Times Magazine Story on American Figure Skating

    Very lengthy featue in he NYTimes magazine section this week. It's about Emilie and figure skating mostly American. You might enjoy it or think it is not correct. But there is a lack of male fans in figure skating.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/18/ma...html?th&emc=th


    Joe

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe, that was the best skating article I've seen all year.

    "Figure skating, especially ladies' figure skating, has the largest fan base of all sports among females 12 and older and does surprisingly well among males as well. Participation is also strong: U.S. Figure Skating, the sport's national governing body, reports that 15,000 skaters have competed at the regional level over the last six years and that membership in the more than 600 skating clubs around the country reached a peak of 173,000 after the 2002 Olympics. Last year's number was down to 159,000, but it will probably rebound after Turin, when thousands of star-struck little girls will demand to be enrolled in classes."

    That being the case, why the gloom and doom about figure skating's future? Why are we losing television coverage, losing audience appeal, losing advertising dollars?

    "Every coach or trainer I spoke to said that eating disorders are rampant in the sport. The pressure for thinness already dominant in American culture is vastly increased in figure skating by its physical demands (smaller girls rotate better) and by its iconography. But that pressure is also contradictory (smaller girls can't jump as powerfully) and confusing for kids in their teens. There are even rumors of some skaters trying to delay their adolescence medically."

    I wonder what would happen if an athlete built like Serena Williams were to come on the skating scene and start racking up 200 point programs with a slew of huge quads.

    MM

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    Down With It
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    Very interesting read indeed. Thanks for posting

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    On the Ice
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    Great article. Not surprised that women's figure skating is most popular. Fair or not, most people just don't see figure skating as compatable with masculinity.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwan101
    Great article. Not surprised that women's figure skating is most popular. Fair or not, most people just don't see figure skating as compatable with masculinity.
    The author made a very interesting, if blantantly sexist, point about television coverage of figure skating, too. She gave ABC's Roone Arledge the "credit" (or blame) for the "close-up and personal" approach to skating coverage.

    Arledge figured (so the author contends) that, well, women don't really like sports anyway, what they like is soap operas. So we will make figure skating as much like a soap opera as possible, bringing in side stories about skaters' off-ice lives, and trying to find a "hook" in match-ups like Michelle-Tara. (Of course, Nancy-Tonya was too easy, LOL.)

  6. #6
    Ballroom Baby
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    Figure skating's not the only sport with a lot of puff pieces and up-close-and-personal stuff. If anything, horseracing is worse. I wish that TVG could cover the major races live instead of on tape delay, because, while during-the-race commentary is strictly the caller, the ancillary material (ie every sob story they can dredge up regarding anyone remotely connected with just about any horse except the eventual winner, the way things usually go) on the major networks makes me want to hurl. Hurl objects at the TV, that is.

    Is it just me, or is ESPN's figure-skating coverage less chatty, and when they do talk it's generally at least tangentally related to the current skater's performance?

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I do find ESPN somewhat less chatty than the major network ABC. I think it is because they are professional sports broadcasters there and their directors may have an imput into the sports whereas ABC just goes for the froth.

    Joe

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    Mr. Michelle Kwan Spirit's Avatar
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    Thank you for this article. It was extremely well written and entertaining.

  9. #9
    Down With It
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I do find ESPN somewhat less chatty than the major network ABC. I think it is because they are professional sports broadcasters there and their directors may have an imput into the sports whereas ABC just goes for the froth.

    Joe
    Well, that makes sense. ESPN's market is sport, while the major networks have to cater (more) to overall ratings.

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