While viewing my videotape of the "Fire and Ice" figure skating television documentary that featured segments on most of the top American women skaters from the post World War II period through the 1998 Winter Olympics, I was intrigued by a quote attributed to 1960 Olympic gold medalist, Carol Heiss.
She said (to paraphrase) "The woman figure skater carries a burden that the male figure skater doesn't have to carry. A male figure skater can go out there and be strong, tough, aggressive, and in harmony with his technique, and that's all that's required of him. A female skater, however, has to be just as strong and competitive, but she also has to look like a princess."
There's some truth in this statement, I believe. For so long the women skaters have been expected to be virtual princesses, both with their appearance, behavior, and skating. They were supposed to be "ladies", despite the fact that they competed in a sport that required years of grueling, tough practice - tons of sweat and long hours. There's nothing terribly glamorous about training, but these women are expected to make it all look so easy and carefree. In my opinion, this fairy-tale persona is very misleading and can give a very unrealistic impression to young girls as to just what they must go through, and endure, if they want to be top competitive figure skaters. It's tough, tough work.
I bet some are in for a major shock when they start to realize the years of work and effort that are required to just learn all of the jumps, spins, and other moves, not to mention learning how to present a feminine look while performing these moves.
Carol Heiss's comments about the guys - how they just have to go out their and perform their athletic moves - may explain in part why her former student, Timothy Goebel, had such undeveloped artistry. Maybe Heiss did not consider this aspect terribly important, and perhaps she just did not place much emphasis on Timothy's learning correct carriage, line, etc.