I've been wondering...
Do you all think that all "injuries" we read about are real? Are any of them engineered to give skaters more practice time before big events?
In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
$peedy apparently seems to think so....
It wouldn't surprise me. This kind of thing happens in tennis all the time; someone doesn't want to trek out to Abu Dhabi for an event, cite an injury, and then play somewhere else a couple of weeks later all fine. With skaters spending so much time "on tour" these days it can cut into practice time, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they're pulling the same thing.
Considering human nature, I would think that some people are definitely capable of using a "fake" injury as an excuse. Just which skaters would do that, I couldn't tell you. I guess the best thing to do is accept what they say rather than speculate.
It could be an excuse to get out of something not unlike when I didn't want to go to school one day.
I don't think is answerable and only conjecture will do.
I don't understand why a competitive skater would ever want to "get out" of skating in a competition. If you want out, get out. Even if they skate in everything, that still amounts to only five or six events a year.
I wonder if the main reason why so many skaters are injured (or possibly faking injury) is simply because they are too old for this kind of life. Figure skaters used to go go go until they won their big medal at 19, then either went on to skate in shows or returned to civilian life.
With skaters staying in the game well into their twenties, I can see why neither their bodies nor their competitive fire are holding up.
Last edited by Mathman; 12-18-2006 at 07:39 PM.
It makes me think of the article I read about Michelle Kwan months ago--where she was talking about how when she would first wake up in the morning, every morning, she would be in so much pain it was hard to just get up and walk. And then by afternoon, she would have done everything she needed to do to make it possible to get on the ice and train.
Perhaps it's not so much that skaters are faking injury, as that this is a sport where everyone is expected to have certain injuries almost all of the time, and to be able to skate anyway? But for non sports people, the advice doctors routinuely give for someone with even a minor injury is to avoid putting any more stress on it till it heals, lest you make the injury worse. I guess if you go against medical advice too much and too often, you end up having no choice but to stop for awhile.
There has been a rash of injuries this year. Some have occurred prior to events, others while the skaters are at the events (Evan this past weekend). I don't think most of these skaters would travel around the world if they planned on NOT skating.
Originally Posted by Mathman
I honestly think that sometimes nagging/chronic injuries are present, but with the travel, change of diet, location, nasty airplane air....the chronic injuries "sink" in, and with one or two very painful falls, it becomes more of an issue..."Do I skate and risk further injury and potentially missing Nationals/Worlds" or do I know my own body best, and decide that missing an international event is not the end of the world, and I make an unpopular decision with the public/officials and withdraw?"
For the future well being of the skater, I think they have to make the best decision based upon their health at the moment. Looking at those elite skaters that have retired in the past few years, ....do we all want to have major orthopedic issues at such young ages? I hope not. You have to give some of these teens and young adults more credit for making decisions that affect their health long range. When is enough too much? JMO.
It also makes one wonder if the changing of training habits has contributed to more injuries. Back when skaters still did school figures, there seemed to be fewer injuries. Now, that *could* be for several reasons:
1. The tricks weren't as taxing on the body back then; therefore, fewer people were injured.
2. School figures created better overall form, which lessened injuries. Now skaters may be using improper form, which contributes to the number of injuries.
3. Skaters spent hours upon hours perfecting school figures, which they now spend (I would assume) perfecting jumps, spins, etc. which are more more likely to cause injury.
4. Now that the technical level is so high, skaters must begin skating younger and younger just to compete when they come of age. All that abuse on young bodies takes its toll.
Also, are American skaters injured more often than skaters from other countries, or does it just seem that way because we have more information about them?
No, I think of Urmanov, in particular, when I remember a really unfortunately timed injury. I really do think the quad and now some of the "pretzel-like" moves are particularly hard on skaters now.
However, some skaters seem to have the body type to do some contorted moves with less strain. Here I go -bringing up Toller again! But, he did have an extraordinarily long career with a low rate of injury which he claimed was due to developing "elasticity from years of spin variations, Russian splits and spirals." He certainly couldn't point to dexterity in figures because he was notoriously poor in those. While he didn't have to contend with quads or triple axels, I saw him do eight double axels in a row with ease and they were very good ones. He also did several triple jumps. I just tend to think luck and again body type weigh in here.
Also, I think skaters do practice a good bit more than they did in the years when most of them attended regular schools and as someone said left amateur competition at a relatively young age due to the expense of skating which couldn't be augmented by the paid shows and endorsements skaters can do now. Tara literally jumped her hip away and didn't give herself the proper time to recover when the damage was done.
I really just don't care for the quad enough for the risk it seems to pose. But, I am a voice crying in the wilderness on this one]
Gadfly and Bon Vivant
Almost all athletes are used to performing or competing while in pain.
I remember a documentary on a ballet company in London (at Covent Garden?).
Anyway, at one point they show the end of a performance filmed from the back of the stage. As soon as the curtain comes down, the lithe, graceful dancers contorted into arthritic grandparent shapes and seemed unable to walk (or stand!) without pain. These weren't particularly old dancers either.
I wouldn't be surprised if at the elite level most skaters are in some degree of pain while performing most of the time while competing. The thought certainly makes me perceive the unsmiling expression some skaters have very differently.
My inclination is take skaters' word for it about injuries unless there's _strong_ evidence to support malingering.
I think injuries have always been around in skating but are probably more of a problem more of the time for several reasons.
- the season is longer and more public. eligible skaters in the 70's and 80's just didn't have as many competitions, certainly not as much media coverage
- eligible skaters didn't tour much. mostly they trained and competed, other kinds of venues were just not as common.
- the physical requirements have increased while the equipment has stayed the same. people are training quads on equipment that arguably wasn't developed for jumping at all.
- figures took up a _lot_ of training time for elite skaters. they didn't have that much time to spend on the big risky moves.
- figures produced better basic technique (flutzing didn't become a problem until a few years after figures were eliminated) and body control, skaters knew better how to hold the correct position.
- skaters are (of necessity) learning the big, risky tricks earlier, probably too early in many cases. apart from basic wear and tear issues, one problem is they're learning jumps before they understand and master the basic skills needed to perform them correctly (beyond cranking out rotations and not falling)
- skaters used to change programs less. IIRC Peggy Fleming used the same music for her freeskate throughout her eligible career. in pre-vcr days when skating on tv was a rarity, that even made sense. now elite skaters are often performing programs that they haven't learned as well as they might like
- add your own...
All things considered, I'm suprised that there aren't more injuries than there are.
Truth and the printed (or spoken..) word are often lightyears apart, not only when it comes to skating injuries.......
I've often wondered if American skaters get injured more often than skaters from other countries because, for years, American skaters would be the "young'uns", and I have read that a lot of pounding on the bones (practicing jumps, etc.) can cause trouble years later. Touring, though, might be another big factor -- often, young American skaters get signed to do COI, for example -- especially during the post-whack boom (MK, for example, would do 70+ shows a tour -- even in non-Oly years -- at the age of 13, whereas when Irina signed with COI, there might be 40-50 shows a tour -- and the number has been declining)
Originally Posted by dutchherder
It may be, though, that as interest in skating decreases in the US and increases elsewhere, that the US skaters will get fewer injuries and skaters from other countries get more.
No, I do not think any of the skaters are faking their injuries. I think lack of training time due to touring and exhibitions (which pay the bills as not every skater's family are millionaires), body type (Johnny Weir has absolutely no fat on his body so any fall is like bone hitting ice) and the constant changing demands of CoP contribute to injuries.
Good thoughtful post. However, I think skating injuries has no boundarires. Sara has suffered quite some time; Lambiel is continuing to suffer, Plushenko has had his share, Yags, luckily it came after the Olys, Irina has her cronic problem. It's not just Americans.
Originally Posted by dutchherder
Anybody who ever tried ice-skating and fell before would know that it was really hurt. This is a tough sport. No, I don't think anyone's injury was fake. How mean and insensitive to say that they were faking an injury when they were hurting? We are not their doctors. We are not their coaches. We don't know the exact details about them. We have no right to say it's fake. Besides, they had the team doctor checked them. Do they need to prove to the public that they were really hurt, not fake? No! Take the word they said and wish they will recover soon. You certainly will feel hurt more emotionally if someone (in this case, so many people whom they don't even know) says you are faking it when you are sick.
I, too, wish Evan, especially Johnny doesn't read this board.
I am sure they all have struggled a lot on whether to withdraw or not before they decided to withdraw. I am sure they don't want to risk their health to compete at GPF and make the injury further, so they would have to miss the Nationals. At this point, I think the Nationals means a lot more to both Evan and Johnny than GPF.