Tara made her name in figure skating and probably will not be able to continue as a skater due to arthritis in the hip she injured practicing those 3L/3Ls.
She does indeed want to continue in the limelight by switching to an acting career. What is unfortunate is that she doesn't have much in the way of acting talent. I have seen her in many of her TV appearances, including her latest role on "Seventh Heaven" and I haven't seen a great deal of improvement in her acting abilities. She has learned to speak better, but she is no threat in the acting department.
Sadly, if she is truly unable to skate any more, she will find it more difficult to get acting roles. Her skating gives her name recognition, but as her skating career fades away, the cachet will fade away too.
As for her taste in clothing, after years of glitz and glitter in SOI, it is not surprising that she prefers the flashy to the tasteful. The skin part, well, Tara still has a pre-teen figure, so there is very little showing even when there is a lot showing.
I wish her a lot of luck. It has to be hard to give up what has been one's bread and butter for the past 5 years.
Tara looks sharp in that blue costume.
About Tara and others wanting to stay in the limelight after their "fifteen minutes of fame," I think this is all part of the Olympic Gold Medal mystique. Yes, winning the top prize is a wonderful accomplishment. But life goes on. There are no guarentees. I admire most the people who can keep such an accomplishment in perspective. Two examples:
Kristi Yamaguchi won a medal, but rather than spending the rest of her life looking backward at it, she plunged forward into a rewarding career as a professional entertainer, taking her skating to ever new heights.
Olympic Gold Medalist Alexei Urmanov learned to take the good with the bad, both before and after his triumph. He continued to work hard at his profession, dispite many setbacks, and also perservered as a patriot and as a husband and father.
I appreciate athletes like these, who seem to be grounded in reality, more than I do those who let one 4 minute skate define their whole lives.
Tara is a classic example of "Be careful what you wish for." She got her wish, she won an Olympic Gold Medal and became a star, but she paid a dear, physical price for it with her hip. Now her skating possibilities are limited, and I don't think she understands that her "go for it" attitude might not bring her quick success in acting like it did when she skated. I agree that with her "skating persona" fading out, some of her celebrity appeal will fade, too, and that can't help her in Hollywood. As I've said before, while she is a natural skater, she is no natural actress and hasn't made much of an impression in acting from what I can see except amongst her most ardent fans. I haven't seen any info about her taking any acting classes or doing anything to really work toward improving her acting skills--she seems to be relying on her "star power" to get her in the door. It will interesting to see where she is in her life when the next Olympics roles around.
Tara HAS been taking acting lessons over the past year or so. The only thing that has improved is her overall speech. She used to 'clutter'---jumble words together, and speak too fast and in spurts. She is able to read a line now so that you can understand what she is saying.
The bad news is that the acting part isn't really any better. She just doesn't have the basic talent and all the lessons and classes in the world won't make her into a creditable actress.
It's sort of like Britney Spears yearning to be an opera singer. It ain't gonna happen.
I have only seen two episodes of 7th Heaven (the two she was on...I believe they are rerunning them this week). For the record, from what I've observed, she is easily the best actor on the show, (which believe me, is extremely faint praise). As long as this program remains on the air, she'll definitely have steady employment. After all, they've already got an unconvincing minister, an unconvincing cop, an unconvincing fireman, an unconvincing doctor, and unconvincing seminary student, and even an unconvincing dog, so why shouldn't they also have an unconvincing [color=red]*[/color][color=red]*[/color][color=red]*[/color][color=red]*[/color][color=red]*[/color]? Please note that every single one of these people would make very convincing clothing catalogue models (see picture below).
Idle, there is no picture below.
For a moment, I mistook Mary for Tara! It must have been the blue outfit. LOL
Shall I assume the dork behind Lucy is her cop husband? When did Ruby's hair go straight?
Anywho, speaking of Tara looking good in dark blue, apparently it's her favorite color. I recently read a quote by Lauren Sheean where she was always trying to get Tara to try other colors (Lalique pink costume for example) but Tara always vetoed and went back to dark blue. Funny. I had read the same thing about Joan Crawford years ago.
If you look at Tara's Tara, you'll notice that every single room is decorated in the same shades of yellow and blue that her "heidi-goes-yodeling" SP costume was. Interesting.
BG ... "heidi-goes-yodeling" ...
Edit 9-6-03: Apologies for this being WAY off-topic. Wanted to answer Taf's questions. Perhaps should have started new thread. RG
Sorry the paragraph you cited didn't make sense. Thanks for pointing it out; in fact one of your questions pointed out a timeline report that doesn’t add up even after I had accounted for my memory lapse. I'll try to answer your questions and have included excerpts from a first-person account by Tara of the situation with her hip. This is a long one, but in going through her hip problem, I think people can better assess how they feel about Tara’s injury and Tara as a skater. I would describe myself as a “hopeful fan of Tara at one time.” But whether because of her injury, which I think is the main factor, or other reasons, unfortunately Tara failed to progress technically or artistically enough to keep me interested. I have, however, always found her personality to be delightful and since someone mentioned it, always very genuine and sincere.
The paragraph I wrote in question is: "Also, Tara is only 21 and just this past season got the crushing news that skating was something she was not going to be able to continue doing. This, after five years of excruciating pain. BTW, Tara was not told to stop skating. Her hip injury was not even diagnosed until about 2002. It's been reported that she went back to skating too early after her surgery, but when you've got SOI breathing down your neck and you're all of 19 or 20, it's a tough decision since ALL top skaters have skated through injuries at one time or another. Tara got dissed for missing SOI shows and dissed for skating in them. She can't win."
I’ll briefly address your questions here, Taf, and then provide links to the sources as well as some excerpts later.
Taf asks: "You mention 5 yrs of excruciating pain, then say her hip injury wasn't diagnosed until about 2002.”
Rgirl: You are correct. I made two major mistakes re time in this paragraph. One is that Tara’s hip injury was NOT diagnosed in 2002, but rather in September of 2000. It’s no excuse, but I was thinking of the time from November ‘02 when Tara reinjured her hip at rehearsals for Ice Wars, which prevented her from appearing with SOI last season and leaves her skating future very uncertain. My other mistake is the statement “five years of excruciating pain.” Tara reports that she started having hip pain prior to the ‘98 Olympics, but does not specify when. She is specific, however, about the first time she felt and heard her hip “pop,” which was about two months after the ‘98 Olympics and that the diagnosis and hip surgery occurred in September 2000. You are correct that this timeline does not square with neither my “five years” nor with what Tara reports. In a first person account from a link listed below, Tara says, “From that point on [meaning the hip pop in ‘98], I was misdiagnosed for four years.” I can say that Tara has remained consistent across different interviews in saying four years. I guess we would have to ask Tara to clarify that inconsistency.
Taf: “One of her many reason why she went pro is that she knew her hip couldn't take the training that eligibles have to do. (Frankly, I don't care WHY she went pro, it's her life-just get a reason and stick with it.)”
RG: The reinjury to her hip in November ‘02 has not allowed Tara to stick to her plans of continuing her pro career. Also, IMO, people usually have multiple reasons for making important career and/or personal decisions, so I disagree with the assertion “Just get a reason and stick with it.” In my experience, life is not that cut and dried.
Taf: “If she was in excruciating pain (and how do you know that?), why wasn't it diagnosed? Did she see one doctor who didn't know what it was?
RG: How do I know Tara was in excruciating pain? From what Tara has said in written and televised interviews and from knowing the kind of hip injury she sustained and the severity of pain it causes. Why wasn’t it diagnosed sooner? That’s not a question that can be easily answered in a couple of sentences. See excerpts below for details, but in short, Tara saw a number of doctors and had nine MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) tests between the time prior to the Olympics in ‘98 and the day before she underwent surgery to try to repair her hip. It was not until the ninth MRI, as well as a dye test that was done only by the hip specialist who did the surgery, that the damage to Tara’s hip was seen and diagnosed. The whole story is more complicated, but that’s the gist.
Taf: “If my hip was hurting I think I would see as many doctors as I had to until it was properly diagnosed.”
RG: Tara did just that. It still took from early ‘98 until September 2000 -- about two years, nine months -- until her hip injury was properly diagnosed. This kind of thing happens in medicine more often than most people realize, even with elite athletes and celebrities who are surrounded by top physicians. I worked in various areas of health care, including sports medicine, for about a decade. I saw it.
Taf: “If you look at the way she skated the first couple of years after 98, it's doubtful that her injury goes back that far."
RG: Lipinski says the hip pain was present prior to, during, and after the Olympics, but that the hip “pop” occurred about two months after Nagano (see details below). Elite athletes have an incredible capacity to perform through pain. Also, the severity and pain of an injury of this kind increases over time. From my experience and from what Tara says, she was able to skate at 100% at the Olympics even though she had hip pain. It wasn’t until the hip “pop” after the Olympics that the pain begain getting severe.
Taf: “Also I read an article in which Tara was quoted as going back on the ice long before the doctors wanted her to.”
RG: Tara’s hip surgeon wanted her to stay off the ice for 21 days after her surgery. With her surgeon’s knowledge, Tara went back after eight days. In the same first person account quoted above, Tara says, “[M]y goal was to get back to rehearsals for Stars on Ice in a month, so I went back after eight days. It was a little early, and the doctor was not happy. But he knew I wanted to try it, even if it hurt.” It’s frustrating to see athletes do this, but it’s also not unusual and the mindset is understandable. Elite athletes get to be elite in part because of their extremely high degree of self motivation and concentration on their sport. The very qualities that help get them to the top are often those that can hurt them in an injury situation. Sports medicine is a tricky business, plus Tara was 18, part of that time when athletes and active people in general feel indestructible. We saw another example of this with Yagudin pushing through his hip injury last year and paying for it. It’s not uncommon, with injuries both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Ilia Kulik skated with a back injury and Elvis Stojko with a groin pull in Nagano, won the gold and silver medals, respectively, and both went on to recover and continue to skate, Kulik as a pro with SOI (“The Olympics are a little too hard on the body”) and Stojko as an eligible who also skated in the ‘02 Olympics. Another example of competing on an undiagnosed injury is US ‘92 Olympic gymnast Kim Zmeskal. She was favored going into the Olympics to win the all-around gold and a couple of individual event golds. But Zmeskal had perhaps the worst competition of her life, falling on landing after landing, with the commentators shaking their heads and saying, “I guess Olympic pressure just got to her.” Six weeks later it was briefly reported that in fact what had gotten to Zmeskal was a stress fracture in her lower leg. But what most people remember is that Kim Zmeskal choked when in fact she competed on a fracted leg. The media doesn’t tend to cover situations like that. Anyway, what I wish is that Tara had had a sports psychologist during the time of her hip pain and surgery, someone whose interest in Tara was not limited to her ability to skate. If I give Tara what seems like a lot of leeway on this, it’s because I’ve worked with athletes and other performers and what seems obvious on paper is not obvious at all when the human “x” factor and just plain luck, both good and bad, is involved. They can do what looks like superhuman feats, but they are very human, with all the complexities and contradictions inherent in that.
Taf: “But I haven't seen one diss on any board for missing SOI shows when she was injured. I don't think the public is so heartless that we would complain that a skater didn't show up when they are injured. In fact, the only skaters I've ever seen critcized for using an injury are those who are perceived as being not really injured. (Such as those who missed 2002 GPF.)”
RG: Prior to September 2000, Tara was indeed perceived as not being injured and not just by fans, but also by her fellow SOI cast members. The doctors kept saying her hip pain was just a muscle problem and that it would go away. So for those years, at least some skating fans and who knows how many of the SOI cast felt Tara was faking or at least exaggerating her hip pain. I saw forum comments about Tara missing SOI shows prior to the diagnosis like, “Apparently at SOI, if Diva Tara doesn’t want to skate, she doesn’t. That’s so unfair and disrespectful to the other cast members.” One response went something like, “That just proves what I’ve always felt about Tara. The only person she ever thinks about is herself.” After the surgery, Tara was criticized for “whining” about it and in your question about why it took so long for her hip to be diagnosed, there is the implication that Tara is to blame for not seeing enough doctors and continuing to skate in pain. Now that she’s been reinjured and is putting more effort into her acting career, some are criticizing her for that. That’s why I said, “She can’t win.” But I should amend that to say, “With some people, Tara can’t win.”
The information I have about Tara’s hip injury, her pain levels, the timeline, and other things I discussed in my post is from various articles about, interviews with, and first-person narratives by Tara about the events that transpired. I’ve listed links to all the ones available on the Internet below and for those interested in more detail, posted selected excerpts as well.
Although I got my information from a number of sources, the most comprehensive one about Tara’s hip pain and injury comes from a site on deep vein thrombosis (DVT), for which Tara became a spokesperson after her surgery. Because of the nature of her hip surgery, she was at risk for DVT and, along with other celebrities and/or athletes, told her story in first person format at the following link:
I think if people read everything from that site (Spotlight on Health), including the transcripts from the video portions, they will get as full a picture of what happened as is possible without being there to ask questions of Tara. I would reprint it here, but besides the length there are copyright issues. However, I have tried to reprint sections that address your questions. Entitled “Tara’s Story,” everything I’ve excerpted from this piece, which is TL’s first-person account, is in quotes and in a different font. The sections that are in brackets are Tara’s comments from other parts of same site, comments I’ve made to either correct something I posted or emphasize a point. I’ve compressed some of the paragraphs for space.
“When I was 15, I started having trouble with my right hip. I was feeling some aches and pains, but I could still skate and do everything. I never imagined that I was in danger of never being able to skate again. [About two years before the Olympics,] I started doing the triple loop-triple loop,combination. [Describes jump.] Obviously, that puts a lot of torque on your right [take off and landing] hip.
My practice schedule was often 10 hours a day, and I did an enormous amount of jumping. I pushed my body to the extreme... It was normal to try maybe 20 triple-triples every day. Doing the combination again and again...to make it consistent, that's what really put all the wear and tear on my hip. But I didn't realize I was hurt so badly.
I was going through MRIs to find out what the problem was. Even at the Olympics I was skating in pain, but I didn't want to say anything. There was so much media attention, I didn't need something else about an injury out there. So I kept it to myself, and I skated through it. But it was one of the main reasons I turned pro.
Then about a month or two after the Olympics, I went into a jump in practice... I heard my hip pop, and my whole leg went numb... My first thought was, My leg is paralyzed. I couldn't get up. They had to carry me off the ice. We went right to the hospital... It was extremely scary.
From that point on, I was misdiagnosed for four years. [Rgirl comment: As I said before, this doesn’t add up, but we’d have to ask Tara.] We did MRIs and the doctors said, ‘Oh, it's torn muscles. It'll be just fine.’ My physical therapist...was confused by what was happening. This couldn't be pulled or torn muscles... But the tests didn't show that anything was wrong. So I kept skating on it...and it kept getting worse and worse.
It's hard to explain how bad it was. My back was aching constantly, and my knees were so stiff, sometimes I was barely able to get up and brush my teeth. I couldn't sleep with the covers over my leg because they were too heavy. Every time I moved, it hurt. [RG: I think this qualifies for “excrutiating,” even though Tara doesn’t use the word herself.] I couldn't...do anything really, other than just try to skate and get through the day. The pain was so discouraging...[and] so challenging mentally to say to myself over and over, Keep going. It's only a strained muscle.
Then one day, four years later, [RG: Again, the four year timeline doesn’t add up, but Tara is consistent on this point in this and every other account or interview I’ve read or seen on TV. A question mark.] I was rehearsing...when again...I felt a pop, and then I just didn't know what to do. I went to [my physical therapist, Russ] and I said, "Find me a doctor. I can't live like this any more." Russ was working with a professional golfer, who had just had a hip operation [recently]. Russ said, "Let's go see Steve's hip specialist..." [RG: Physical therapists, PTs, cannot diagnose. They are not trained nor certified to do so. Only doctors can diagnose an injury, then the PT, with a doctor’s prescription, designs and oversees the rehab.]
We flew to Florida to see the surgeon, and they did a test where they injected dye into my hip that illuminated the whole joint. Since I was first injured, I'd had eight MRIs. This time—the ninth one—showed a tear in the cartilage that cushions the hip socket.... The bone was starting to be exposed, there was arthritis..., and the joint capsule had become enlarged.
The doctor said, "You've got to have surgery." I was shocked. I didn't want surgery. I said, "No. I can do it [ie, keep skating]. I've done it this long." He said, "No, you can't. In a month [your hip] could lock up on you, and that could be the end of your career." I thought, Oh my God, my skating. Everything...could be over. I couldn't imagine my life without skating. I said, "Okay. Do it." But it was scary. I'd never had surgery... It was a horrible time. [RG: This is why I say I wish Tara had had a sports psychologist. She was 18 and dealing with a lot. Tough to make the right decisions at this age under these conditions on your own. And who knows what pressures she was getting?] I had surgery the next morning. The operation can take only 45 minutes, but mine took 3 and 1/2 hours. Some of the cartilage had grown over the bone, which made it more complicated.
[RG: The next section of the article is about DVT, which can be fatal. It can happen to anyone, even young healthy people from something as seemingly innocuous as a long plane flight where the person is seated for many hours. I think it’s worth reading the article just to familiarize oneself with DVT.]
I was in the pool [as soon as the doctor allowed it] starting to work my hip, and it was very depressing. It was just so hard....I realized coming back was going to be the toughest journey in my career... But I got in the pool every day, and I pushed through it. They wanted me to wait three weeks, but my goal was to get back to rehearsals for Stars on Ice in a month, so I got on the ice eight days after surgery. It was a little early, and the doctor was not happy. But he knew I wanted to try it, even if it hurt. [RG: TL indeed got back on the ice early, but as I said before so do a lot of athletes after surgery. This kind of hip surgery was unknown territory in rehab. Other patients you have to push. Athletes you have to try to hold back. Not that TL doesn’t bear responsibility. I’m just saying it’s complicated.]
The first couple of days [back on the ice] were a disaster, but slowly it got better. It took a long time—a lot longer than I thought it would—and I had to come to terms with [the fact that] I don't think I'll ever be 100% again. [Also] the doctor took one look at a tape of the triple [loop]-triple [loop] and said, "Never do that again." But on the whole...I feel extremely lucky, because that could have been it for my skating career, and I don't think I could have dealt with that...
[RG: The next section is Tara saying how grateful she is to have a “long career to look forward to.” I find it sad because the way I see it, Tara was pushing the outside of the technical envelope in ladies skating the same way so many other top athletes have done and are doing -- Midori Ito, Irina Slutskaya, Sarah Hughes, Nakano (not sure of the name) and Nelidina, who are doing with the 3Axel, and Miki Ando (if I’m correct) with the quad. It’s part of why they love their sport and part of why the public loves athletes. IMO, Tara was doing the wrong move at the wrong time, which means a 3/3 that is especially hard on the take-off/landing hip, doing so at a very young age (13 to 15) and being one of the first top elite skaters to consistenly land such a difficult 3/3. Nobody was prepared for the kind of hip injuries we’ve been seeing in skaters as a result of this increase in multi-rotation jump combos. Tara also paid an unusually big price for it, IMO. Skaters have developed the ability to do difficult jump combinations, but the equipment -- skate boots -- haven’t caught up with their ability. Even when she complained of severe pain for years, the doctors didn’t take it seriously. So I can’t blame Tara for doing what every other elite skater has done at one time or another -- push through. Unfortunately, it’s risky being an envelope-pushing athlete, and of course every athlete thinks severe injuries are only going to happen to the other guy. IMO, Tara just got caught in the risk net. Some feel Tara has no one to blame but herself. That’s their prerogative. I just disagree. I also find it sad. The last thing Tara says about returning to skating is...] I love performing now more than ever. Just to be on the ice feels like a special gift. [Skating] means so much more to me now. I'm lucky to be out there, to be able to perform and skate in front of these people.
Now I'd like to do things and give back. [More info on DVT.]” End.
[RG: The article also has transcripts of videos highlighting certain issues. I haven’t included excerpts from these since they basically repeat what was above. But I have included the headings because I think the headings provide an excellent summary of “Tara’s Story” re her hip.]
“The Toll of the Triple-Triple”
“Powering Through the Olympics”
“Am I Paralyzed?”
“Finally, A Correct Diagnosis”
“The Thought of Never Skating Again”
“Surgery and the Threat of DVT”
“Back in the Rink”
[RG: I will add the following quote from this video.]
“I just had a check-up with my doctor to make sure I'm on track, and I am. There's times I'm going to dip down just because it's never going to be 100 percent. But as long as I keep strong and keep doing what he tells me, hopefully I'll have a long career.” [RG: This was written before TL reinjured her hip in November ‘02 and was unable to tour with SOI at all this past season. In fact here I would add to Tara’s story:
It is my opinion, and only that, that due to her hip Tara will probably not ever be able to skate well enough again to do show skating, even if she doesn’t jump. There’s been no official word on this, but given what I’ve seen with hip injuries, I see only easy skating without jumps or even elements such as spins for Tara in the future. I hope I am wrong. There is no doubt in my mind that skating has always been and always will be Tara’s first love.]
On Google.com search using "tara lipinski hip injury" there were 350 hits, which you can compare to "elvis stojko groin injury" at 530 hits.
Tara’s other activities: In April 2001, she skated in Tara Lipinski's Miracle Match Tour, a five-city event benefiting children with leukemia. Tara was also a part of Target Teachers Make a Difference campaign, which emphsizes the importance of teachers in children's lives.
Along with Denzel Washington and Shaquille O'Neal, Tara is a national spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She is also a spokesperson for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. For the latter, Tara filmed a national public service announcement and has spoken at the White House. She is also a major contributor to the Texas Children's Circle of Care. Tara also frequently visits young patients in children's hospitals while touring with SOI and/or for other events. She recently became affiliated with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to support their child-related activities. I got this info from Tara’s bio on the DVT site, which lists this information as being last updated in September, 2002. Obviously Tara’s skating and travel situation has changed since she reinjured her hip during Ice Wars in I believe it was November, ‘02.
List of Links to Articles, Interviews, and First-Person Accounts of Tara’s Hip Injury
Last edited by Rgirl; 09-06-2003 at 08:17 AM.
This thread started with Tara's outfit?LOL
I think Tara looks gorgeous. Tara achieved all her skating goals at 15, the rest is gravy. About injuries, athletes make those choices all the time. Jennifer Don chose to amputate part of her finger in order to particpate in jr worlds 03.
Here is off off off off topic:
I wonder if Tara wants to attend college? Natalie Porter, Brook Shields, Jodie Foster.... all attended college and maintained acting careers. I mean it is OK, if Tara does not want to, Krisit hasn't yet. I believe I read somewhere that Tara promised her parents that she will go to college someday. Tara was an A student in HS, I hope she will consider college someday. For now, if she wants to enjoy some celeb status, and take acting classes etc, it is just fine.
Explanations of Tara's hip problem(s) can and will appear in any topic not related. I'm as guilty as the next.
I worry for Tara Lipinski. In that photo of her in blue skating outfit her face looks sunken in. I hope she eats 3 balanced meals a day, and snacks in between.
Personally, the way I see it is that Tara does not appear to dress any different than anyone else who is in show biz. Most all the other ladies have the fronts of their dresses V'd all the way to their belly buttons. Tara at least has her chest concealed. Whats up with a little belly showing? I don't think her clothes at least in the link above were atrocious(sp):\