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Thread: International Fans

  1. #1
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    International Fans

    Here's something that's been bothering for a long time: I think figure skating fans are too nationalistic. I remember the forum thread where Johnny's enthusiasm for Russian skaters was deemed as a career risk because it apparently displeased the USFSA.

    But I think that kind of attitude of making athletes root for a team as opposed to appreciating fellow skaters from other countries is terrible.

    Think about the Asian girls that have begun to dominate ladies figure skating. Can American audiences and skaters be their fans? I bet if Ashley Wagner were to say in an interview that she is inspired by the skating of Mao Asada, the skating community would get all riled up.

    Or suppose that Yukari Nakano were to tell the Japanese during an interview that she finds Carolina Kostner's or say Caroline Zhang's skating absolutely breathtaking. God, would they blast her for being unpatriotic.

    The whole idea of forcing skaters to only gush about their fellow athletes from the same country passes on to the fans as well. How many American skating fans were happy to see Shizuka Arakawa win the gold at the last Olympics? I don't mean the people on this message board, but the larger audience that includes people who follow skating on and off or not with the same devotion as the people here?

    The respect for your own country's athletes only would drive down ratings. Think about the way that Evan Lysachek got hyped this year after doing well at nationals. Realistically speaking people knew that he isn't going to medal at any Worlds anytime soon, but they had to pump up the expectations because American fans don't really care about the other male skaters. What percent of the World championship audience in the US cared about Lambiel and Joubert? Of course, I bet the Japanese are also like that. I'd bet a good lump of cash that the number of Japanese skating viewers who adore Yuna Kim and cheer her on is miniscule to non-existent.

  2. #2
    Skating Freak Barbie
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    Well, I think that to generalize any group of people, fans or whatever, is a no-no also.

    I'm from the U.S. My favorite female skaters are Sarah Meier and Yu-Na Kim. My favorite pair team is Mukhortova/Trankov. Favorite male skaters are Andrei Griazev, Stephane Lambiel and Daisuke Takahashi.

    Maybe I should be ashamed that the only skater/team from the U.S. that I consider a favorite is Davis/White.

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    I think that there is a big difference between what skaters are popular among a country's skating fans and what skaters will get hyped by that same country's skating federation (and media). The federations (such as the USFS) want donations, and/or ticket sales and/or TV audiences and the best way to get the money is to get the public behind that federation's skater. For example, the USFS will hype a US skater because no one will donate to the USFS, or buy tickets to a cheesefest (let alone watch it) as a method of supporting Mao Asada (if she is in the event, the money has to be split with the ISU), but the USFS gets all the money from the all-US cheesefests.

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    Well, I don't know. Yu-Na has said that her favorite current skaters are Buttle, Verner, Takahashi, Preaubert, etc. and there hasn't been that big of an uproar in Korea over that. Maybe the fact that Korea doesn't have any other elite skaters gives her carte blanche, but I'm not sure if it's that big of a deal.

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    I cannot believe that a skating federation has problems if a skater from their country appreciates skaters coming from other countries? Skaters surely are allowed to have their own taste, LOL. Weir´s obsession with everything coming from Russia (or former Soviet Union) does not seem to be any problem with USFSA either. But what about the team jacket? Personally I think that a skater who does not use a team jacket in Olympics or other international skating events where he is representing his own country, needs to be reminded of which country he is representing there.
    Last edited by Jaana; 06-22-2007 at 10:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Vancouver 2010, 247.23, Bronze
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    While I understand concerns of national federations about promoting their own skaters, I as a fan can't do anything about my personal preferences & taste. I happen to like certain performances done by certain skaters. I'm not sure if it means anything marketing-wise. It probably does, since I suddenly want to go to Sweden next year and spend a good amount of $ on that trip, after having ignored the sport for more than 20 years. So I guess they’ve hooked me at last. But then again, I'm not going there to see best Russian skaters. Or Swedish champions. And I can assure you, I'm not doing this to see the reigning US mens/ ladies champ skate live. Meaning I don't know what's right and what's wrong when it comes to bringing into balance figure skating/ nationalism/ money. But I'm sure someone does.

  7. #7
    nefertiti..reincarnate
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    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    ...Of course, I bet the Japanese are also like that. I'd bet a good lump of cash that the number of Japanese skating viewers who adore Yuna Kim and cheer her on is miniscule to non-existent.
    Then you have lost your good lump of cash to the huge population of Yu-Na fans in Japan.
    You don't have to ship it here because if we divide that lump it would be less than a penny.

    I'd say about 80% to 85% of Mao fans in Japan are also Yu-Na fans, they enjoy the similarities and differences of these two young ladies, of course as well as their rivalry.
    At Worlds in Tokyo the whole arena sighed at Yuna's falls, all having hopes for her perfection.
    And in a recent poll "Figure Skater of the Year" by the major web-provider "Nifty", Yu-na came 5th after Miki, Mao, Takahashi, and Joubert.

    Less than a few percent (maybe less than 1%) are Mao freaks (we call them "Maota", =Mao+Otaku), they attack Yu-Na vulgarly and persistently on a notorious web-forum here, and true Mao fans seriously worry that such a stupid bunch of pseudos do harm to Mao's public impressions. They are truly traiters to their own country, what's worse they are unaware of it.

    Anyway if you come here you'll find an army of Japanese girl fans all in love with Lambiel, Wier, Buttle, Joubert, etc... !

    Fortunately or unfortunately, figure skating doesn't boil up like soccer in spite of its incredible popularity here. TV audience rating marked average of 38.1% for Worlds, and at the instance of Miki winning, 50.8%.
    Last edited by sorcerer; 06-22-2007 at 11:25 PM. Reason: misspelling

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    The burr up Speedy's Butt! visaliakid's Avatar
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    I personally believe the premace of this thread is way overblown. Being nationalistic is not a crime for one. Most skating fans do appreciate great skating by skaters from countries other than their own... I know I certainly do. And the role of a nation's skating federation or association is to Be nationalistic.. and support and encourage the skaters from their own country. Much to do about nothing imho.

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    I would like to hear a sincere answer! About Zhang, Wagner and Nagasu! If they were representing China, Germany and Japan, do you think there will be so many threads dedicated to them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gio View Post
    I would like to hear a sincere answer! About Zhang, Wagner and Nagasu! If they were representing China, Germany and Japan, do you think there will be so many threads dedicated to them?
    Excellent point!

    These forum are often so US focused that I don't even bother answering. There are so many talented young skaters out there, that do not have the benefits of the US system, where you can be home schooled and spend all your time skating and I find it more impressive and rather read about it if one of them does well internationally than having yet another Johnny Weir(d) or Sasha Cohen article.

  11. #11
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    For me, it's always nice when an American wins but only if the skater deserves it. I may be old fashioned but I do believe in "The Best Man Should Win".

    Also in America there are so many diverse cultures that there could never be a unified push for a skater. The media plays up this 'rah rah' for the American athletes too much. Not the public.

    Joe

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    I think there are two factors that make figure skating more "nationalistic" than, say, tennis or golf.

    The first is that in the minds of most fans, figure skating remains an "Olympic sport." The Olympic games are all about waving the flag and saying ha, ha, my country got more medals than your country.

    Secondly, the structure of the ISU is centered around the National Federation, not the indivual athlete. I believe that the ISU culture of deal making and voting blocs keeps nationalism at the forefront.

    As Attyfan suggests, money also plays a role. For many federations, no medals = no money. Hence the push for "winning for the (national) team."

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    My totally subjective opinion is that the only fans too many nationalists are the USA people.I read many forums of different countries on skating and the majority they have many favorite skaters. And it does not import his nationality but his style.
    Also I have listened to multitude of interviews to skaters to speak on the admiration that they have as other skaters of other countries
    But in the only country that I have seen that this attitude is criticized it is the USA
    I have never listened to russian nobody criticizing Plushenko for saying that he likes Lambiel. To french nobody criticizing Joubert for admiring Takahashi, on the other hand whenever Weir speaks about his admiration for the Russian skaters, always I read contemptuous commentaries towards him

  14. #14
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    Welcome to Golden Skate, Calica. Thanks for joining us. As we say here, "post often, post long!"

    I agree with your points, in particular about Johnny Weir. Especially since, if you asked 100 people on the streeet, "What do you think about Johnny Weir wearing a CCCP jacket at the Olympic warm-ups?", 99 of them would first say, "Who is Johnny Weir?" And then they would say, "What is CCCP?"

  15. #15
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    It isn't only Johnny Weir among the American skaters who have stated publicly his admiration for non-American skaters. Mirai Nagasu is well known to be a great fan of Mao Asada's, and Caroline Zhang has said how much she loves Chen Lu and that's why she wanted to work with Mingli Zhu. I don't know who Ashley Wagner's favorite skaters are, but she has said that her favorite country is Germany, where she was born.

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