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Thread: Being an Ice Princess Doesn't Pay Off?

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    Being an Ice Princess Doesn't Pay Off?

    I thought it interesting that some of the very famous female skaters in the US like Sarah, Emily and Kimmie seem to seek other career than (or in addition to) FS, when they could perhaps have a great career by just staying only in the FS world (e.g., coaching, pro skater etc). I wonder what kinds of factors in FS may not be perceived as an ideal long-term career path. Any thoughts?

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    Ballroom Baby
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    Uh...travel, expense, the pressure of maintaining an unrealistic weight for females, being constantly "on" for performing, woudl definitely be off-putting for pro skating. Plus the near-absence of a pro circuit nowdays.

    As for coaching, not everyone is suited to it. I know plenty of ballroom dancers who are great dancers but would make lousy teaching pros. I am a good skater. I'd make a bad coach. I'm an EXCELLENT horseback rider and I would make a horrifically bad trainer. I'd probably be pretty decent as a ballroom instructor, simply because it's not something I learn without thinking, while with skating and especially riding there's a level of instinctive learning to how I do it. I can't explain some things, I just DO them. If a skater learns like that, they may not be a great coach. Or they might not like the hours. Or they might not like working with kids. Or they want to coach, but want to do other things first.

    And simply, maybe they're interested in other things besides figure skating.

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Not everyone wants a career on the ice. Also, other than coaching, touring in an ice show and professional championships can only last so long for most skaters. They may have other aspirations they wish to pursue. For instance Brian Orser has decided to leave the ice show aspect and concentrate on coaching. Figure skating is not all about glitz and glamour it is about hard work - this also includes the professsional side of it.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Baseball and Football players who last until their 40 have earned top millions to keep them happy for the rest of their lives. But still some get into broadcasting. or are appointed executives in a big conglamerate.

    Joe

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    Just like any job you get bored with what you do all the time. The thrill of learing or trying new things can be greater then doing what you've done for so long. Most know they can always come back to skating in some form if they have to.

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    The long, long training hours and the damaged, ugly feet begin to take their toll. Those at the top of the eligible heap also tend to have precious little time for any kind of a personal life. When they are not training, they are competing or touring or doing a club show.

    I have to respect those who manage to go to college and still compete. I don't know where the collegians fit in time for doing all the heavy-duty reading that college requires.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    what a lot of people don't realize is that these girls have been a the rink like 4 hours a day, five days a week since they were 6 years old. Once they reach the top, they want to get onto the track of a "normal" person. They want to go to college, have a career, hang out with freinds and think about somthing other than double axels and spiral sequnces for a change.

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    Also, the world has changed for women a great deal -- giving the "ice princesses" a lot more options than they ever had before. Twenty years ago, no one would ever have imagined one woman (especially an African-American one) teasing another woman (Asian-American) about becoming Secretary of State.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I do think that we admire most those athletes that go on to do something more with their lives after their careers in sports are over. Tenley Albright and Debbie Thomas, both World champions and Olympic medalists, became doctors, for instance.

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morninglight View Post
    I thought it interesting that some of the very famous female skaters in the US like Sarah, Emily and Kimmie seem to seek other career than (or in addition to) FS, when they could perhaps have a great career by just staying only in the FS world (e.g., coaching, pro skater etc). I wonder what kinds of factors in FS may not be perceived as an ideal long-term career path. Any thoughts?

    Until the 1990's, this is what people did. Tenley Albright became a doctor. Also, Sarah was just 18 when she 'left' skating behind. Today there's not much of a pro world to 'retire' into. It takes a while to establish real credence as a coach, choreographer, agent, trainer, commentator, etc - unless you can, it's not easy making a living. If skating is not your only passion, then it certainly doesn't hurt to consider other options.

    Emily & Kimmie are going to try skating with school and something just might 'give'. Also, with all the pounding on the bodies, it's possible for a skating career to falter before establishing one's name to the general public - note the word general because the advertisers are looking for big names, not names known only to the skating world. Just as any pro athlete shouldn't count on a long lucrative successful career in sport, they should have a backup plan.

    Lastly, sometimes these 'alternate' careers bring them back to the sport. US Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Debi Thomas earned a medical degree and is involved in sports medicine. If you want to become a trainer, classes in physiology and psychology should be required. Coaches should have an interest in courses related to education, psychology, etc.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I do think that we admire most those athletes that go on to do something more with their lives after their careers in sports are over. Tenley Albright and Debbie Thomas, both World champions and Olympic medalists, became doctors, for instance.
    I don't think this was an after thought. Both skates to my knowledge were working both aims concurrently.

    I just hope skaters find happiness after their skating competitions (or shows) are over.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    Today there's not much of a pro world to 'retire' into. It takes a while to establish real credence as a coach, choreographer, agent, trainer, commentator, etc - unless you can, it's not easy making a living.
    Wow, this sounds a bit surprising to me. I have had an image that the US is a dream place for figure skaters who want to seek professional career (either in coaching, choreographer, or trainer etc).

    But it seems that the market is shrinking in the US, correct? Are there less and less kids and adults who learn FS AND less and less popularity of ice shows?

    I am not specifically interested in knowing personal choices of individual skaters, but I thought it interesting to see this as a trend going on.

    BTW, I have heard not a few Japanese skaters saying dreaming of becoming a bride and a mother as their post-retirement career while doing something in FS as well.
    Last edited by morninglight; 05-28-2007 at 11:56 PM.

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    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    I've said this before in previous discussions regarding Sasha and Tara, but it's even more relevant to this topic:

    I think in part it's a "generational thang". Today's young people seem to operate under a principle that one can change careers, and for that matter, even whole identities, every 5 years or so. It's like I'm a figure skater! 5 years later -- I'm a fashion designer!! 5 years later -- I'm running a convent!! And why not? More power to them if they can pull it off. And it's certainly not unusual for former pro baseball players, football players, etc, etc, to go into something entirely different (i.e, selling real estate or used cars, or having executive positions) once their playing days are over. Why should top-ranked figure skaters be any different?

    I think regarding Kimmie, Sasha, Emily, Sarah, et al, that this is actually also a testimony to the myriad opportunities available to young women in general these days; Tenley Albright notwithstanding, the opportunities for top ladies of the past, i.e, Peggy Fleming, Carol Heiss, were much more limited. I think Kimmie, Sasha, and Company are more of a product of their generation than of a general trend of just not wanting to be in the skating world all their lives.

    As far as opportnities in skating as coaches and choreographers are concerned, I think there is still a market out there. Certainly at the elite level there are more skaters attending the Worlds than ever before, and skating is developing in countries where previously there was none. Perhaps this trend may bottom out in a few years for various reasons, but that may well be a subject for an entirely different thread.

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    Thank you JonnyCoop for providing interesting insights.

    A good thing about FS amateur career is that they tend to retire at fairly young ages so that it may not be too difficult to start all over in a completely different field.

    Further, having successful career in FS may often help one to get into good schools or companies. A friend of mine tutored an elite skater who couldn't solve factorization problems. But in his case, it was fine because his skating career was good enough to receive an admission from an elite private university.

    Regardless of other things that ordinary kids may learn in school life, competing career definitely helps one to develop physical and mental strengths that can be useful in any field.

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    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Quote Originally Posted by morninglight View Post

    Further, having successful career in FS may often help one to get into good schools or companies. A friend of mine tutored an elite skater who couldn't solve factorization problems. But in his case, it was fine because his skating career was good enough to receive an admission from an elite private university.
    That, and the fact that it seems to me that a large percentage of skaters at any decent level tend to be over-acheivers anyway. Back when I used to get SKATING magazine, they would run profiles of up-and-coming skaters and just about every single one of them read like "In addition to winning seven competitions in the Midwest this season, Brittany is also an award-winning short story writer and youth concert pianist, is a spokesperson for three local charities, and in her spare time builds apartment complexes single-handedly for Habitat for Humanity; Brittany also maintains at 4.3 GPA at the top high school in her home state." Honestly, it would wear me out just READING these things......

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