While I certainly agree with Ladskater's ideas to praise the many wonderful mothers and fathers who sacrifice willingly to allow their sons and daughters to pursue their skating dream, I feel compelled to mention the other side of the coin.
THE DRAGON LADIES......ARGH!
While I will never condone Tonya Harding's outrageous behavior, poor choices, and excuses, the fact remains that her mother qualified fully for the "Dragon Lady" skating mother category. Mrs. Harding used to abuse Tonya verbally and sometimes physically at the rice rink if her daughter made mistakes or did not "try hard enough" to master the jumps.
Mrs. H. had a habit of screaming at Tonya, "You're not good enough! You'll never be a winner." When Tonya competed and came in, say fifth, her mother would berate her for not finishing higher. I recall a television documentary made of the young teenage Tonya Harding in which she phoned her mother from Garden City, Long Island, site of the 1986 US Nationals, where she had finished 6th. That was a very respectable result for a 15-year-old, and it earned Tonya several international assignments that fall. However, her darling mother criticized Tonya for making a mistake on her combination jump and for not finishing higher. After the phone call, Tonya slumped on the bed and moaned, "What a
b-----". Now really, does anybody think Mrs. Harding helped her daughter to grow into a mature, caring, and confident person with her brand of mistreatment? UGH.
Tiffany Chin won the 1985 US title and two World bronze medals, in 1985 and 1986, and she clearly possessed the talent to continue onward towards the 1988 Olympics. As a 16-year-old, Tiffany had won the silver medal at the 1984 US Nationals and competed brilliantly at the 1984 Olympics, where she finished fourth overall. However, Mrs. Chin was yet another Dragon Lady of the first order, a woman who could be counted on to verbally bully and criticize her daughter. Once (and I'm sure this wasn't the only time) Tiffany and her mother were interviewed together and were asked if they thought Tiffany was preparing well for the upcoming competitive season (in that case 1986/1987). Tiffany said she was training very diligently and felt she would be ready to compete well at Nationals to try to regain her US title. Her mother, however, contradicted her daughter and said Tiffany was lazy, not in good shape, and was not working hard enough to justify the amount of money her family was spending to finance her skating. Tiffany looked at her mother, sighed, and slouched back in her seat, with a facial expression of hurt and anger. Is this the way to motivate a child to skate their best. I hardly think so!