And now we interrupt our regularly scheduled thread for a KW rant on the absurd business practices of Speedy & Co....
And no one, espcially a figure skater, can ever compare to Michael Jordon or Tiger Woods - so that's comparing apples to prime rib. These two defy logic.
Where Kwan dominates is her ability to transcend a niche sport like figure skating and become an icon in her own right. She drove audiences to a sport that many might not even watch outside of two weeks every four years. Sometimes just to root against her but the INTEREST was there. That's the beauty of Kwan's influence across the globe. This is not the current reality. There is a difference between media interest and butts in seats. It is beautiful, howere, that Mao & Kim (esp. Kim) are inspiring young girls to skating rinks in their country.
My Take on the Kwan Era vs. the CoP Era of Skating & Business...What I'm offering up is an analysis that goes beyond fandom and to the business of sports marketing. I do think that there are skaters with the same potential to reach Michelle's level of financial success, but Kwan's influnece came over a long, storied career. Mao and Kim will need to invest more seasons into the sport, competing and winning at the highest levels to have Kwan-level impact. With all the talk of Kim retiring after this season, this might might not be possible.
One last thought for the "You're only looking at this from a US perspective, therefore you're wrong!" crowd... America drives sports marketing across the globe. And the athletes that get the big money are basketball, golf, tennis and football. Soccer / Futball is another sport that gets major endorsement dollars world wide. Extreme sports continue to grow in market share and influence. Skating does not fall into this catergory. Skating is a niche sport who has watched its ability to generate the money and interest decline since the 2006 games.
The business of skating continues to decline and arguing about who is more popular should be secondary to actually securing the future of the sport with sponsorship dollars, corporate endorsements and television time. Don't argue with each other - argue with the geniuses running the ISU.