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Thread: figure skating men getting older

  1. #1
    Yeah! Lets get this party started. enlight78's Avatar
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    figure skating men getting older

    Its seem to me that the men's discapline is skewing older; lot of the top 12 skaters are older than 24 and few have already hit 27 and is still talking about continue; Is this because COP or lack of pro circuit or has it always been this way. I know in other main stream sports athletes continue til the mid thirties; but that just always seemed impossible with figure skating; but now there are so many differents ways to score points and win; you don't have beat up your body with massive jumps to win.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    24 seems to be teh average age for a man to have his 'olympic peak' or what not, but I think the age ranges are pretty much the same as they've always been. yeah a couple of older guys are still talking about it... now... but who knows. I don't think not having much of a pro circuit in the US is what keeps a lot of the guys in - Todd Eldredge stayed in far longer than most thought he would/should and there was still a lot of pro stuff to do here at the time.

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    That's an interesting question. I think it's fluctuated at different times. I can't speak for the really early years, but I suspect the guys could get very much older then because they didn't have to train full-time or as strenuously--there were only double jumps. (I'm talking the 1920s and 1930s here). Then during the fifties and sixties, a lot of the men were college guys who didn't stay around much past their early twenties. (I'm going by the medalists I know a bit about from my reading.) John Curry and Toller Cranston were a bit older--I think both were 26 when they medaled (Curry gold, Cranston bronze) in 1976, while Dorothy Hamill was 19, pretty typical for girls. Guys who stayed in to win multiple world championships or medals through the eighties and nineties tended to be early to mid twenties because nobody really hit his stride before 20 or 21. By that time, with all the triples, men needed a lot more muscle behind their skating, I guess. So Boitano, Hamilton, and Browning, who stayed through most of an Olympic cycle, were in their mid twenties when they peaked and then left eligible skating. (Browning had two Olympics because the cycle changed in 94.) Come to think of it, though, both Petrenko and Urmanov were early twenties when they won. Paul Wylie was in his mid-twenties because it took him so long to hit his stride. Yagudin, Kulik, and Plushenko all hit the top a bit earlier. I think they each won the OGM in the early twenties, but I seem to remember that both Yagudin and Plushy won their first world medals as teenagers. I'm not looking stuff up as I speak, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Maybe now they're getting older again? I can't tell. Chan peaked unusually early, and so did Joubert. I don't think Oda's very old, but it may be that he just looks so young and is so small.

    If we factor in guys in pairs and especially ice dancing, the age goes up, I imagine, though Charlie Davis and Scott Moir are very young. I don't know whether Tessa Virtue is the youngest female ice dance gold medalist (Klimova was considerably younger than her partner, for instance), but there's a chance that Scott Moir could be the youngest male one!

    Mathman, where are you when we need your expertise?
    Last edited by Olympia; 03-28-2010 at 06:02 PM.

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    Virtue was younger with their first championship and the OGM, but Klimova was younger with their first medal.

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    (Browning had two Olympics because the cycle changed in 94.)
    Actually Browning went to three Olympics, but he hadn't hit his stride by 21 in 1988. Although he did make history at Worlds that year.

    I was just thinking about this on the way home today, that 22-24 seem to be peak years for men and about 19 for women, averaging top skaters' ages over several decades. There are so many reasons for the trends to fluctuate, though:

    specific talented skaters who happen to win big at an early age and then retire

    school figures, which rewarded experience, and their removal

    rules about amateurism, and then their relaxation

    changing emphases on jump content vs. jump quality, or jump content vs. overall quality and "artistic impression"

    availability of professional opportunities

    availablility of money-making opportunities within the eligible sport

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    Whoops! Forgot about that first Olympics in 88. Thanks for the correction, gkelly.

    That's a very helpful analysis of the factors that affect the ages of the skaters. It sounds pretty logical to me.

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    I'm glad more skaters are sticking around longer; young talented teenagers are fun to watch but there is something to be said for maturity.

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