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Thread: Jenny Kirk: Why Skaters Aren't Friends

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    Jenny Kirk: Why Skaters Aren't Friends

    http://trueslant.com/jenniferkirk/20...ends/#more-211

    When it comes time to compete, the classic line skaters tell the media is, “I just want to skate well for myself.” This is a lie. Of course skaters want to skate well, but they are leaving out the small fact that just skating well isn’t enough–they want to win. This means making the most money, getting the most acclaim, and being the one who stands on the top of the podium at the end of the night, no matter what it takes. This me-first attitude makes it very difficult for a skater to form a friendship with a close competitor.
    She read my mind.

    Seriously though, this is a point I've been making for a very long time. And now I have a fellow person to back me up

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    The comparison to team sports is interesting, because in many team sports, you do get both - fierce competitiveness and solid friendship - especially since you go from competing in professional leagues (NHL, English Premiere League) to competing nationally and athletes who were on your side are suddenly not.

    That said, I do think skaters like Davis/White and Virtue/Moir are genuine friends even though they're consistent, fierce competitors. And aren't White and Bates roommates?

    I dunno - I think I'd find it disheartening if I wasn't friends with people in my field. I don't see how competing on the ice is different than say competing in the boardroom for that client, for example.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    I hope Jenny keeps blogging, I love reading what she has to say.

    I agree that competitors at high levels will never really be friends, and that goes for Mao and Yu-na and Caroline and Mirai (Jenny should have mentioned these probable frenimies).

    However, I have to say that the shown grace and niceness shown between the top three ladies at Worlds in LA was sweet to see and I have know many young skaters who are very close friends with their training mates and competitors. I assume most of these friendships do strain and break when the competition gets really serious though. Most of the times it seems that the moms are more cut throat than the skaters.

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    According to the article, "They don’t go out to dinner together the night before the long program and they don’t call each other up on weekends to discuss various training methods." This may be true. However, these same skaters might go out to dinner together the night after the long program to commiserate with each other (MK and Irina after SLC, for example) or discuss other things.

    I think that the only person who can really understand what a competitive skater is going through is another competitive skater. So, I think that they might form "alliances" along the lines of "you listen to my troubles and I'll listen to yours".

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    ITA. Frenemy is about the most accurate description.

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    I think part of the point is that there is a difference between being FRIENDLY and being FRIENDS. They may be friendly to each other when they're not in a competitive setting, but their desire for something that only one of them can have will inherently prevent that from becoming a true, close friendship (although one could possibly develop years later)

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    I like Jenny Kirk's inside-view articles, and I don't doubt her personal experiences, but I take the overall generalization with a grain of salt. Of course there is competitiveness and of course everyone wants to win, but I don't think everyone in the locker room is staring down everyone else with hatred. I'm not an expert on women's locker rooms but ...

    I'm sure it's based on the personalities of each skater. Some will be ultra-competitive and stare you down, some might be friendly, most would be nervous like Jenny and not thinking about staring anyone down, just about their own skate. I mean, did she stare people down? So why would she think everyone did? I wonder if that kind of fear caused any of her problems...

    So anyway, this is interesting but again I don't think it's a complete picture. I mean, I went to the practices at Nationals... Mirai and Angela Maxwell are close friends. I can't see them staring each other down even if they got to be neck and neck. Not everyone is Johnny and Evan.
    Last edited by Particle Man; 07-20-2009 at 10:07 PM.

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    Yes, one issue I have with her writing is that I wish she would better separate the facts from her POV. She makes it seem many times as if they're one and the same, which obviously they are not. Or, just make a disclaimer that the following is "IMO" (like an editorial).

    But I don't think that's a real issue in this particular article. I definitely felt this way in her article about skaters in school, though.

  9. #9
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Well, this is a bit of a bold statement. Some skaters do have a friendly rivalry.

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    Desperate Mouse Killer kandidy's Avatar
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    Always enjoyed reading her blog!
    Her story wasn't anything new in term of topics, but very interested insider-opinion and something we would never know unless we were competitive sakters.

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    Custom Title NatachaHatawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    I think part of the point is that there is a difference between being FRIENDLY and being FRIENDS. They may be friendly to each other when they're not in a competitive setting, but their desire for something that only one of them can have will inherently prevent that from becoming a true, close friendship (although one could possibly develop years later)
    I agree. Many skaters are friendly towards each other after competitions. A few good examples are some of the banquet pictures, an article I once read about Kimmie and how she got on with fellow competitors as a junior, or that famous kiss/thumbs-up exchange between Brian and Tomas at the 08 worlds sp.

    There are very few real friendships, and when there are some, they are generally between skaters that aren't such close rivals. One friendship in particular springs to my mind: Brian and Alban. They're fierce on the ice but are great friends off.

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    Irina and Michelle were friends not just friendly in their competitive years.
    Valentina Marchei and Carolina Kostner.
    Mao with Miki, Miki with Shizuka and Mao, Miki and Yukari.

  13. #13
    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Don't you think evey human is a competitor on some level??? Workers & co-workers vying for the upgraded position, skating board members commenting and wanted to be popular on the board or those who say things just to be noticed??? Siblings trying to find their place in the family??

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    Landing my axel..............again skatergirl45's Avatar
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    Jenny makes a good point in her article. However, as a competitive skater, I have seen both ends of the spectrum. My best friend at skating happens to be a girl at my own level. Sometimes I win, sometimes she wins. However, we always encourage each other and help each other. She always cheers for me at competitions and I do the same for her. It is really nice to know someone who understands what I am gong through. A lot of skaters prefer to have friends at different levels because that way they are not directly competing against each other. I have actually made friends with some of the girls that have moved up levels with me. These girls who are my friends at my level motivate me and i motivate them. It is not rivalry though.

    I do know of some girls who dislike the girls at their level, including some who dislike me. Some people feel threatened by other girls and chose not to be nice to them. I have always been taught to treat people the way I want to be treated, so I cheer for competitors and competitions because I like to have people cheer for me.

    Everybody loses at some point, and the question is, would you like to lose to your friend, or a girl that you have been plotting to beat?

    I'm not denying that some skaters are not friends, but I just wanted to point out that I have seen and experienced friendships among skaters at the same level....

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    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatergirl45 View Post
    Jenny makes a good point in her article. However, as a competitive skater, I have seen both ends of the spectrum. My best friend at skating happens to be a girl at my own level. Sometimes I win, sometimes she wins. However, we always encourage each other and help each other. She always cheers for me at competitions and I do the same for her. It is really nice to know someone who understands what I am gong through. A lot of skaters prefer to have friends at different levels because that way they are not directly competing against each other. I have actually made friends with some of the girls that have moved up levels with me. These girls who are my friends at my level motivate me and i motivate them. It is not rivalry though.

    I do know of some girls who dislike the girls at their level, including some who dislike me. Some people feel threatened by other girls and chose not to be nice to them. I have always been taught to treat people the way I want to be treated, so I cheer for competitors and competitions because I like to have people cheer for me.

    Everybody loses at some point, and the question is, would you like to lose to your friend, or a girl that you have been plotting to beat?

    I'm not denying that some skaters are not friends, but I just wanted to point out that I have seen and experienced friendships among skaters at the same level....


    Exactly! It all depends on the personality of the individuals concerned. Some competitors cannot be friends - they don't have the personality traits to do so, but others can and are. The fact that you can be is a great asset to you and i'm sure your losses to your friend never sting as much as losses to others!

    Ant

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