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Thread: SOPHOMORE, Junior and Senior - Age limits

  1. #1
    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    SOPHOMORE, Junior and Senior - Age limits

    There are MANY reasons I think there should be 2 (at least!) competitive age groups that do compete at the international level.

    11 - 16 Sophomore

    17 - 24 Junior

    24 - 32 Senior

    Maybe a little change here and there for Just 2 groups:

    14 - 19 Junior

    20 - 32 Senior
    (they have that "older" class and that age might be a good start for them)

    Really it comes down to health, mental health and age fitting an attitude.

    If the amount of tech req. was lessened at a younger age group then I think we would see less injuries and possibly less "youth deprived." I really look back and say I could have just relaxed and enjoyed life a little more to the fullest, I may have enjoyed living my life a little more then living for others.

    That is just me, but I think of Sara and Tara (odd their names are so similar) hip and knee. Would they have held up better, developed at a more physically achievable ratio to prepare them for the triples if doubles were the only thing they needed to do until they were ready for Juniors?

    Bolero with Michell is quite different then if Mao was to skate to it - some of you may not remember what movie(s) the song is synonymous with or what it is about. As far as watching, I acutely don't and didn't like a single skater perform to it; that just is not the song when it is the version by Maurice Ravel. The single performer would be more fitting to be accompanied by Frédéric Chopin or the original spanish composition from the 19th century that is sung to. And it is a Type of dance, not just music that T&D should have sustained the message to anyone watching - no fault of theirs, people just don't pay attention very well. And I do feel like that is to much pressure on some of the younger skaters as well as the older trying to stay young.

    I would love to see a third World competitive class ( not as in the ISU sanctioned adult skating competition for people 28-70 {should be 32+}) to keep the hope alive and let them have a place to compete for a title. That should rase the bar for the older competitors awaiting the arrival as well giving the Junior class a last breath that is not so definitive.

    Although this may be a little bit more of a hassle of scheduling for events, I don't think a true skating fan would mind more days of competition. Also see allot of different views on older vs. younger. My Mom asked me once "why Michelle was still in there, she should just let the little girls have a shot." Have had my nephew say "I hate watching the little girls, bring on the women."

    All and all it just seems wise to Athlete health and spectator benefit.

    Two last quotes from a "qualified "fans"."

    "Olympics is meant to be the best in the world!! Age is merely a number. If we dont allow underagers to compete then it takes away credibility from the competition. Mao Asada would have kicked some butt at the olympics but wasn't allowed to go because of her age. What happens if she puts on 40 pounds by 2010 and loses all her jumps. She'll have to go through life saying she missed out on olympics NOT because she wasn't good enough but rather because of a rule some official made up."

    -point to having a younger class compete, would have had a "sophomore" level she would have.



    "The young skaters are actually MORE prone to getting hurt when training at such a high level. Kids who are in their early teens are not finished with their growth and the muscles mature faster than the bones, leading to more joint injury. Also note the number of young athletes who are out with hip and back injuries- this is not normal wear and tear for the joints. Add to that the fact that many young skaters are training at such a high level that their body fat is very low- this leads to hormonal imbalance and osteoporosis for young girls. As a medical professional, I'm all for age limits for competing at the national, world, AND olympic levels."

    -point to having more classes period.


    I am sure that you will all come up with some great points of consideration.
    Last edited by SeaniBu; 04-05-2006 at 12:27 PM.

  2. #2
    The Future Mrs. Evan Lysacek #1Kerryfan's Avatar
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    That's good.

  3. #3
    Tripping on the Podium
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    What you don't take into account is that triples take years to learn. I started learning triples at 11 (and I wasn't hoping to be competitive, since my coach moved us up a level every year until we were seniors -- she figured we could wait until then). Some kids start them as young as nine -- and this has nothing to do with the age levels. Most competitive juveniles are already working on triples even though they can't compete with them simply because one day, they'll need the triples and they take a long time to learn. If you restrict triples to kids over 16 or 18, it won't change what time they learn. Even if they're just competing doubles, anyone who wants to be competitive in the senior level will start working on triples at a young age anyway so that when they reach the level where they're allowed to compete them, their triples will strong and consistent (which takes many years) and they'll be able to do triple-triples. It's just the way skating works, and imposing age limits isn't going to help.

    I feel particularly qualified to speak on this issue because, while I'm not a medical professional, I've battled a major hip injury since I was 12 (in fact, it as the same injury Tara Lipinski had -- we even had the same surgeon who told me I had one of the worst cases of this he's ever seen). I had surgery at 14 and was off the ice for two years, so it essentially ended any chance I had to ever be competitive. I'll never walk completely normally, and I'll always have to be incredibly careful. I made need another surgery later on, depending on how well it manages to heal. And still, I think age minimums are rediculous. Clearly, the one the ISU already has hasn't done anything -- Mao's still out there trying triple axels even if she can't compete at the Olympics.

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    Great analysis. I'd be thrilled to see those categories adopted. Much improvement over current situation. Of course given a magic wand and sufficient power I have my thoughts on what I'd do and I'm not shy about communicating them.

    If might be easier to get 21 recognized as dividing say an Adult category from a "Senior" under 21 group (calling it "Senior" adds status). I'd have no minimum age for the under 21 group and would certainly expect almost all to be in the 15 to 20 range with a rare 14 yr old prodigy thrown in from time to time. Judging standards can be made to favor the more mature in this group. I also think to make it work at all, Olympic gold medals would have to be given in both categories. Denying Olympic eligibility to any athlete based only on age is hard for me to find justification for. Judging standards for adults could weigh PCS higher than technical to encourage artful and musical programs which is my bias showing.

    Reasoning for no minimum age:

    Many countries have different standards for treating their people and especially their children. If I were commissioner of skating I would be much more concerned with the welfare of children under certain authoritarian training methods than the age at which they compete. In fact younger skaters on the world scene might shine a spotlight on how children are treated and or exploited in some countries. This could actually improve the health and safety of many of the younger skaters.

    Realistically, the ISU has to rely on national laws and federations, coaches and parents to protect the health and safety of children in each country. No rules regarding age eligibility will change what goes on inside countries or cultures where health and safety are second to winning. It will only hide from view the abuses of the younger children and those who fail to make the grade.
    Shocking it is, but exploitation and abuse have very different meanings across national and cultural lines. Someday, hopefully, the entire world will provide and insist on acceptable minimum treatment of children not only in athletics but for health care, nutrition, education and finally caring and nurturing communities.

    Just my thoughts. Like the topic. Thanks for raising it.

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry
    What you don't take into account is that triples take years to learn..
    Acutely I do ( not being sarcastic, I really didn't make that clear), but thank you for pointing that out for it is necessary to mention. It is the fact that they would not be required and that would alleviate some of the pressure and allow more time to develop prior to competition requirements. Practice at whatever age but not be pressured into accomplishing them on a regular basis that would promote "pushing ones body beyond" a reasonable amount of "structural" growth.

  6. #6
    Tripping on the Podium
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    You are pressured to accomplish them, though, even if you're not competing them. Again, see the case of most competitive juveniles. Basically, under your system, even if a kid can't compete triples until 18, they'll still need to be landing them by 14 or 15, so as to allow enough time to develop full consistency and start working on triple-triples. The pressure's still there, even if the effects aren't immediate.

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by Perry
    You are pressured to accomplish them, though, even if you're not competing them. Again, see the case of most competitive juveniles. Basically, under your system, even if a kid can't compete triples until 18, they'll still need to be landing them by 14 or 15, so as to allow enough time to develop full consistency and start working on triple-triples. The pressure's still there, even if the effects aren't immediate.
    It seems to me that you are agreeing without allowing yourself to agree. In the "case of most competitive juveniles" the actual competition is the most pressure. Alleviation of pressure is one aspect I am mentioning, but mainly a change is being suggested.

    Let me repeat, "a change." This would mean that even though you went through "all of this" and others are going through this, it does not have to be the same way for the reason is the questionable element of the conversation.

    Also the logic of thinking that triples are taught at early ages now, only has relevance due to the fact you start with singles and doubles anyway. Now the expectations are alleviated as well, this could minimize injury.

    If it's not broke don't fix it does not apply here for obvious reasons. The most important here is that their are people "breaking." Not that this could be eliminated but alleviated also giving more OPPORTUNITY as well!

    One thing I do feel is being overlooked is the younger skaters that didn't make the age cut would now be able to "go for a gold." Pull a 3f, super, but it doesn't mean you lose out on the opportunity to do them in the next age bracket because your hip or knee structure is developing at a slower individual rate.

    Is the body ready though? Cause and effect often do not happen simultaneously, or even within years of each other.

    Perry, I very much agree with your opinions as opinions, I hope you can conceder the evolution of most "things" for the prosperity and improvement. This is a discussion that has relevance to opinions and not so much the person wanting to ASK others opinions.

    IOW, this is an opinion that has only been stated by me for the considerations of others as well as the ones who have been suggesting it. Allowing them / us / me to voice "values" within a forum.

  8. #8
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    I think the problem is the practicing many times at a young age. It's not really the pressure of compeition, but the number of times practiced before the technique is so solid that it can be trusted in competition.

    Perry, what level were you at age 11 when you first began training triple jumps and what level did you expect to be able to compete those jumps (and how many years did you think it would take you to reach that level, pre-injury)?

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    Question I can't tell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alsace
    I think the problem is the practicing many times at a young age. It's not really the pressure of compeition, but the number of times practiced before the technique is so solid that it can be trusted in competition.

    Exactly! Take away the pressure of having it ready to be in competition because it doesn't need to be in, and there you have it.


    Is no one acknowledging this for some reason? Do I need to be more specific or list / "outline?"

  10. #10
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alsace
    I think the problem is the practicing many times at a young age. It's not really the pressure of compeition, but the number of times practiced before the technique is so solid that it can be trusted in competition.

    Perry, what level were you at age 11 when you first began training triple jumps and what level did you expect to be able to compete those jumps (and how many years did you think it would take you to reach that level, pre-injury)?
    I was intermediate, and I wasn't expecting to be able to do them for at least 2-3 years (I would have been junior by then).

    And seanibu, I agree that I don't think kids should be doing these triples. My growth plates never got a chance to properly form (if you take an MRI of my hip, even an untrained eye can see a gigantic cyst in the middle of where my growth plate was) because of all the jumping at a young age. That said, I still practiced them as safely as possible (I did several singles/doubles for every triple), though I'm even more careful now.

    I disagree, though, that age limits are the way to go. Frankly, I think as long as the sport continues to place the emphasis that it does on jumping, there's no way to change it. Obviously, age limits have not helped, and it won't make the problem any less if we expand them. The only way to keep kids from starting triples at 10-11 is to place a higher emphasis on skating skills (which the new system, despite its good intentions, fails to do). I think the emphasis on spins and footwork already is starting to change the situation a little, but the fact of the matter is that skating is largely about the jumps, and because of the nature of the sport and its emphasis on jumping, overuse injuries like this are going to happen.

    Frankly, the constant challenge in terms of jumping is one of the reasons I love the sport. Actually, only a minority of kids coming through these injuries, those who loved the sport before they were injured, wind up bitter and dejected. Yes, it's bad that kids are getting these injuries, but the vast majority of them still wouldn't change the sport.

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    If the skaters are not allowed to do a jump in competition before a certain age, they will still want to master the jump by that age, so they will be practicing it for several years before that age.

    If they are allowed but not required to do it, the ones who have a hope of doing it will still want to include it in their programs as soon as they can, in hopes that it will help them place better.

    If the skater has mastered all the easier jumps, they're going to want a challenge to work on the next harder one(s) even if it'll be a while before they can use it, especially if they know it might take several years to master or if they're afraid that their only chance to be able to say "I could do triple jumps" might be before growth spurts grow them out of a favorable body type.

    There also seems to be some evidence, for girls at least, that learning the knack of rotating three times in the air before puberty makes it easier to retain or recover that skill afterward than trying to learn it later in the skater's development.

    There doesn't seem to be an easy answer to the problem of balancing safety for the young athletes and optimal development of high skill levels.

    Now that there is a scoring system that codifies how to reward different types of elements, so there's less reliance on either simple jump count or overall "artistic impression," I'd also like to see more flexibility in the types of elements skaters could include in their programs and be rewarded for. That way skaters to who triples, or triple-triple combos, triple axels, and quads come relatively easily could be rewarded for those, and skaters who are less good at jumping but better at spinning skills and flexibility moves could put more of those in their programs, and there would be less incentive for a skater to try to kill him- or herself getting a particular move just because it's expected.

    The well-balanced program rules and the balance between the rewards for doing harder elements passably vs. doing easier elements especially well would need to be tweaked considerably to broaden the range of skills rewarded. Not to mention the definitions and use of the component marks. But I think that might be a better way to level the playing field between high-performing skaters of different body types and maturity levels than to rely on age limits.

  12. #12
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    How do you tell a 12 y.o. boy he should not be practicing triples? He's not doing it for competition. He's doing it because they exist, and quads are next. Maybe the girls are satified more easily while working on combo spins. She will be doing them for competition.

    Joe

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    I don't know if any of you saw the interview Debbi Thomas gave to FS International. She was basically saying that the reason for fewer injuries in the past was that skaters had to spend so much time on figures. She says that out of 6 hours on the ice, may be she'd spend up to 4 on figures. Not only does this leave less time for jumps, but it also helps develop the technique necessary to avoid injuries in the future. She was mentioning off-ice training that she believes skaters should do now that figure are no longer there to make up for it. For example, she mentioned weight training to concentrate on muscles surrounding joints - this way when one does elements there is less stress on the joints because muscles can pick up more slack.

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    You "guys" really bring up the best points!

    So I am getting the feeling that no one will stop trying the jumps no matter the age or the req. And the only reason there are not more groups is because of the popularity of the sport combined with international differences of "age eligibility." Also starting to sound like the physical training - or lack there of - is responsible for the injuries.

    I really LOVE this forum!

    Ptichka-"I don't know if any of you saw the interview Debbi Thomas gave to FS International. She was basically saying that the reason for fewer injuries in the past was that skaters had to spend so much time on figures."
    -This brings up a point that the athletic conditioning is really to blame. Why did the figures disappear - TV audience was board JMO. Are these upcoming youth improperly conditioned?
    I fully understand not wearing helmet and pads, so why isn't there enough focus on how the things that make it all possible are developing rather than getting it done for the moment in the spotlight?- or is it?

    I am also thinking of the popularity of the sport here as well. FOR WHATEVER RESON a classification of 18 or 19 - 31 or 32 will bring more spectators hence generate more interest. This is some what based on "media laws" as well as some feedback / demographics I have done out of my own interest. This would be particularly true in the aspect of a PERFORMING sport - where one of the athletes was "informally" named "Hottest Female Athlete." As we know here at GS, she wasn't under 18. This generated a lot of interest, unfortunately it was in Dance which is the least viewed and understood of the figure skating events.

    I've had a sarcastic welcome (semi understood), been called names / accusations, had PMs sent in judgmental tones within the very first days. Now I am discovering just how "wise" most of you are. No joke. Excellent feed back - particularly when it gets pushed for some specifics. I hope I am not getting a "bad name," or stepping on Redbulls "hooves" by being a "real curt devils advocate." Anyway I look at it, I should have taken this more seriously when joining. This is likely one of the more "intellectually standardized" forums around that talk about things of "entertainment and leisure."

    Perry, Alsace, I hope you understand the "push." Your feedback is valuable to me and everyone reading I believe. I admire the passion and have learned once in my 30s that "the direction the passion is sent, is as important as the meaning being understood." In other words, If I want to send something in a centripetal direction and a "force" is causing syntrifical pressure, the direction is stagnent. I hope you can see why I am concerned about making treads, topics of indiviual opinion when it is meant as benifical to others - my own feeling and nothing against those who mean their threads in a "personal view way". Appoloies if necessary (last time I appologized to someone here I recived a "nasty PM." So I hope I don't get one soon.

    Joesitz, I have respect for you when I say this even though it may not sound like it - to answer your rhetorical question, you don't tell them what to do of course. You tell a kid they can't (regardless of gender) and chances are more likely they will try it anyway. I think of the movie "Ice Castles" when that theory is brought into play. I really think with that in mind and Debbi Thomas's input, there is another way to address that. But not addressing that is well..."Generation X ish"

    I hope I don't wear it out, but I really want more insight for the sports sake. Believe me, my intentions are never anything selfish, accept maybe to say someday, "see I told you figure skating rules!!!"
    Last edited by SeaniBu; 04-06-2006 at 12:57 PM.

  15. #15
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Seanibu, I don't know what posts of yours prompted angry responses, but this thread is a worthy addition to GS. Your arguments are well thought through and you took the time to really lay it out.

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