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Thread: Jennifer Kirk: Skating's Not-So-Secret Shame

  1. #1
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Post Jennifer Kirk: Skating's Not-So-Secret Shame

    The insight Kirk has given with her articles, is great. This latest "article" is no exception.
    http://trueslant.com/jenniferkirk/20...-secret-shame/
    For three years I had a secret and it ruled every aspect of my life. Unfortunately, my secret wasn’t very unique. Many in the skating world have and are struggling with this epidemic that controlled my mind and my body for so many years.

    I had an eating disorder.

    This is a sensitive and personal subject. The Golden Skate guidelines prohibit speculation about possible health challenges faced by individals in the skating world.

    While comments on eating disorders in general are welcome, please do not contribute gossip or rumors about any person who has not made public acknowledgment of his or her health concerns. Even if you "know something," it is Golden Skate policy to respect the privacy of skaters and coaches.
    Last edited by Tonichelle; 07-05-2009 at 05:09 PM.

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    Well, to be quite blunt- by starting this topic one is practically opening the floor to such discussion about skaters having eating disorders, which inevitably leads to speculation, etc. The author goes quite in-depth, although she does stop short of naming names.

    If this topic is so sensitive perhaps it shouldn't have been started in the first place...?

    ETA: It's quite an eye-opening subject, and with how stick-thin some skaters are, I was seriously wondering if any of this stuff might have been going on. Looks like my hunch was right.

    ETA II: And kudos to her for sharing what must have been a difficult story, and to get it "out there in the open."
    Last edited by R.D.; 07-05-2009 at 06:24 PM.

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    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    So eating disorder hits skating also?How do they find strength to train and compete?From physical aspect and psycologically seems very harsh.
    Thank you for article, it is surprising(good surprising) how open she spoke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorita View Post
    So eating disorder hits skating also?How do they find strength to train and compete?From physical aspect and psycologically seems very harsh.
    Thank you for article, it is surprising(good surprising) how open she spoke.
    My guess is that the lighter you are, the easier it might be to jump...? (Not a skater, as you can tell.)

    Still though, I think in any individual sport with a high stress level and pressure to look good/be thin, you're going to have ED problems. One wants to eat the appropriate diet at that level, but when it becomes obsessive, that's when the trouble begins. And Kirk seems to say that many coaches either encourage or don't stop such behavior.

    I bet in gymnastics it's even worse. Ugh.

    ETA: This goes back to another thread where someone did a "rant" that I highly agreed with- when fans use terms like "puberty monster" or "pig", it implies that it's a bad thing to grow up and/or fill out. If some fans think like that, it wouldn't be a real stretch to imagine that some skaters and coaches hold similar views, which leads to what Jenny is describing.
    Last edited by R.D.; 07-05-2009 at 06:34 PM.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    The insight Kirk has given with her articles, is great. This latest "article" is no exception.
    http://trueslant.com/jenniferkirk/20...-secret-shame/



    This is a sensitive and personal subject. The Golden Skate guidelines prohibit speculation about possible health challenges faced by individals in the skating world.

    While comments on eating disorders in general are welcome, please do not contribute gossip or rumors about any person who has not made public acknowledgment of his or her health concerns. Even if you "know something," it is Golden Skate policy to respect the privacy of skaters and coaches.
    Jenny is writing about some interesting and sensitive issues in her blog. I wonder what will come next?

  6. #6
    LKR722
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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorita View Post
    So eating disorder hits skating also?How do they find strength to train and compete?From physical aspect and psycologically seems very harsh.
    Thank you for article, it is surprising(good surprising) how open she spoke.
    Yes, eating disorders (both anorexia and bulimia) have been known to be more common in sports like figure skating and gymnastics where there tends to be more pressure to be "thin". Eating disorders can strike anybody really. I suffered from anorexia (it did not stem from skating) and it is very much about feeling you are in control of your life like Jennifer wrote. Eventually one will break down physically and mentally, but it can go on for quite a few years. I hope coaches are being smarter educating their skaters about the importance of eating healthy for optimal performance. That was an excellent blog from Jennifer. I'm really enjoying her articles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post

    ETA: This goes back to another thread where someone did a "rant" that I highly agreed with- when fans use terms like "puberty monster" or "pig", it implies that it's a bad thing to grow up and/or fill out. If some fans think like that, it wouldn't be a real stretch to imagine that some skaters and coaches hold similar views, which leads to what Jenny is describing.
    I am the one who unfortunately used the term "puberty b*g" (I'm forgoing saying it fully for Medusa's sake). I can assure you, as I mentioned in that thread, that I did not mean it was a bad thing to grow up.
    Last edited by Tonichelle; 07-05-2009 at 08:35 PM. Reason: merging - remember to use the multiquote feature! :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LKR722 View Post
    I am the one who unfortunately used the term "puberty b*g" (I'm forgoing saying it fully for Medusa's sake). I can assure you, as I mentioned in that thread, that I did not mean it was a bad thing to grow up.
    You're far from the only one, though. I remember it was a VERY commonly used term- one that even I overlooked at the time (but never used myself IIRC). I think it hit its peak when Nagasu, Flatt and Zhang just started out a couple of years ago, and people were attempting to predict where they would be in the future.

    But worse than that was some fans claiming that skaters like Emily Hughes (and her sister too) were "fat"- and some other names I shall not repeat here. I really hope she doesn't get that from her coach or her Team. One can be in shape without being a stick figure. Sorry, I'll stop there.

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    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    My guess is that the lighter you are, the easier it might be to jump...? (Not a skater, as you can tell.)
    [...]
    ETA: This goes back to another thread where someone did a "rant" that I highly agreed with- when fans use terms like "puberty monster" or "pig", it implies that it's a bad thing to grow up and/or fill out. If some fans think like that, it wouldn't be a real stretch to imagine that some skaters and coaches hold similar views, which leads to what Jenny is describing.
    ^^That was the me!

    About the "the lighter you are, the easier it might be to jump...?" - I am not actually sure that's correct. E.g. Joubert is probably one of the heaviest skaters out there, 74kg at 179cm I think (179cm? Are you sure, Babou? Maybe someone still had his skates on...) - but he is one of the few guys who consistently land that Quad at competitions, mostly twice. And the women? One of the best female jumpers is still this Lady in my opinion. Others like Midori might have been tiny, but she also had a very compact body and incredible, fully rotated jumps.

    Quote Originally Posted by LKR722
    I am the one who unfortunately used the term "puberty b*g" (I'm forgoing saying it fully for Medusa's sake). I can assure you, as I mentioned in that thread, that I did not mean it was a bad thing to grow up.
    I feel very honoured that you considered my comments.

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    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    My guess is that the lighter you are, the easier it might be to jump...? (Not a skater, as you can tell.)
    I m not sure, I m not a skater either, so only guess is that not having a proper athlete's diet I believe causes you to lose muscle weight, and it affects your strength, plus all the other negative effects for your body and your organs when you push yourself to throw up, it is already difficult this kind of disorder even if you are not an athlete and causes fatigue and can cause death, I imagine it is even harder if you spend thousand calories on ice.

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    I hope that posters will remember Jennifer's blog post before they call skaters fat, heavy or other equally hurtful euphemisms.

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Being light definitely has some advantages - no hips/boobs = easier rotation, less weight = ease in lifts/throws for pairs/dancers.

    This is not new. There was a book published decades ago called Little Girls in Pretty Boxes.

    http://www.amazon.com/Little-Girls-P...6843293&sr=8-1

    The publish date on this revised edition is August 2000, but I think I read an earlier edition in the mid to late 1980's.

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    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    Being light definitely has some advantages - no hips/boobs = easier rotation, less weight = ease in lifts/throws for pairs/dancers
    I don't doubt that the rotation is easier - but fast rotation is not everything. Powerful tighs and hips can mean that you jump higher and land safer. Soft tissue and muscle tissue can soften the blow on the joints and make injuries less frequent and severe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    ^^That was the me!

    About the "the lighter you are, the easier it might be to jump...?" - I am not actually sure that's correct. E.g. Joubert is probably one of the heaviest skaters out there, 74kg at 179cm I think (179cm? Are you sure, Babou? Maybe someone still had his skates on...) - but he is one of the few guys who consistently land that Quad at competitions, mostly twice.
    But Joubidou has enough muscle strength/power to back up his poundage. So I assume the gentlemen have a choice of bulking up or leaning down, whichever is easier. For the ladies, however, there is not much of a choice.

    Regarding seniorita's original question, it is possible to endure hardcore training with limited intake of calories. I've never been a professional athlete, but I suffered from recurring anorexia while playing varsity sports for years in high school. Your body gets used to limited foodage, which is especially easy if you are naturally "narrow framed", and doing rigorous training burns less and less carolies. At the end of the day, anorexia is extremely counterproductive for overall wellbeing as well as weight management. But finding and sticking to a healthy lifestyle is extremely difficult, and often, "I want to be thinner" is not the only source of eating disorder.

  14. #14
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    some female skaters 'bulk up' to muscle through the jumps... Kristi Yamaguchi, for example.

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    I'm not saying it's not possible for women to bulk up. But men can usually bulk up more easily without gaining excess fat. But I concede it comes down to individual factors, genes, etc.

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