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Thread: Kwan feature in Sports Illustrated

  1. #46
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    Though I'm an ardent Michelle fan (alert the media!), my admiration for her doesn't detract at all from my regard for Kristi. She's a wonderful skater in terms of consistency, longevity, and versatility. Let's not forget that she was a pairs skater as well as a singles skater and excelled in both. As for her pro career, she happened to have that career during a time when the pro circuit was a serious venue for substantial artistic innovation, and Kristi was one of the few skaters who retained her triples and presented them regularly. She's one of the few Americans who has the trifecta (World, Olympic, and National golds). She broke a 16-year-long OGM drought for American ladies. At the time, people were rather disappointed that she had so few endorsements, and some experts hinted that racism had a bit to do with it. There might be some truth to that: she was the first Asian-American OGM winner in the United States. Well, she was the first Asian OGM skater in the world, wasn't she? I think she paved the way for the Asian-American skaters who came later in terms of endorsements. I don't think any comparisons need to be made between her and Michelle. We're lucky to have both of them. They're both athletes and ladies, who have done the sport proud by their accomplishments on the ice and off.

  2. #47
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    The Michelle fan in me went over the top in my response. I like Kristi and her skating, it's just that I felt like while others were stating how Michelle's career was no less amazing without Olympic gold, compared to Tara's or Sarah's, (which I feel is fair to say in a thread dedicated to Michelle), it seemed like someone was coming in with their dislike of Michelle trying to minimize her achievements.

    I'm well aware that Kristi brought something special to the pro circuit in that for a time she continued to do hard triples like the lutz even though she didn't have to, and I'm aware also that many veteran legends continued to develop artistically in the pro circuit, I just don't buy the idea (nor would most people I venture) that a pro title is on the same level as an amateur world title.

    I'm Asian myself and growing up was quite frankly surprised at how well Michelle was embraced by the American media and public, but even she had to deal with that article that claimed "American beats Kwan".
    Last edited by ashdustannie; 08-08-2010 at 01:07 AM.

  3. #48
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Though I'm an ardent Michelle fan (alert the media!), my admiration for her doesn't detract at all from my regard for Kristi. She's a wonderful skater in terms of consistency, longevity, and versatility. Let's not forget that she was a pairs skater as well as a singles skater and excelled in both. As for her pro career, she happened to have that career during a time when the pro circuit was a serious venue for substantial artistic innovation, and Kristi was one of the few skaters who retained her triples and presented them regularly. She's one of the few Americans who has the trifecta (World, Olympic, and National golds). She broke a 16-year-long OGM drought for American ladies. At the time, people were rather disappointed that she had so few endorsements, and some experts hinted that racism had a bit to do with it. There might be some truth to that: she was the first Asian-American OGM winner in the United States. Well, she was the first Asian OGM skater in the world, wasn't she? I think she paved the way for the Asian-American skaters who came later in terms of endorsements. I don't think any comparisons need to be made between her and Michelle. We're lucky to have both of them. They're both athletes and ladies, who have done the sport proud by their accomplishments on the ice and off.
    So true for both Michelle and Kristi.

    May I add that I think there are people at this board and others who do care about pro skating (and wish there were still serious pro competitions (the ones in Landover, MD./DC, and the pro ams like Masters of Figure Skating). Kristi has been an outstanding pro in figure skating for years. While I am not diminishing her victory in DWTS (the only reason I watched the show that season was for her, I'll admit - I'm just not that big a TV watcher), I care much more about her contributions to figure skating (keeping up her skills as a pro, her work with her "Always Dream" foundation, etc.). I do think it's sad if the general public thinks of her more from DWTS than through all of her years as a skater.
    Last edited by iluvtodd; 08-08-2010 at 07:37 AM.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashdustannie View Post
    The Michelle fan in me went over the top in my response. I like Kristi and her skating, it's just that I felt like while others were stating how Michelle's career was no less amazing without Olympic gold, compared to Tara's or Sarah's, (which I feel is fair to say in a thread dedicated to Michelle), it seemed like someone was coming in with their dislike of Michelle trying to minimize her achievements.

    I'm well aware that Kristi brought something special to the pro circuit in that for a time she continued to do hard triples like the lutz even though she didn't have to, and I'm aware also that many veteran legends continued to develop artistically in the pro circuit, I just don't buy the idea (nor would most people I venture) that a pro title is on the same level as an amateur world title.

    I'm Asian myself and growing up was quite frankly surprised at how well Michelle was embraced by the American media and public, but even she had to deal with that article that claimed "American beats Kwan".

    Believe me, I understand! Sometimes the commentary on here can get a bit aggressive, and we feel we need to leap to the defense of our skaters. My friends who support soccer teams or baseball never believe that skating fandom is as intense as the supporters of "real" sports--they should see some of our threads! You know that I'm as eager a Michelle fan as you; she's at the top of all my lists. Even in the days of the phenomenal YuNa and Mao--both of whom I love and admire--I haven't seen the likes of her around.

    Your point about Michelle's being a media darling, which she certainly is: I don't think it was just timing that garnered Michelle more ardent and widespread admiration than Kristi. In years of watching skating, I have come to the conclusion that Kristi is more comfortable being a bit under the radar. In her interviews, she was always quiet and rather guarded. The only time I saw her really lose it was after winning the Olympics, when she burst into tears (as anybody would!). There's a nice, solid, steady quality to her temperament, and I imagine she's a lot like this in real life. That's what her skating is like, too--light as air, strong, dependable, delightful, as fresh as a spring breeze. The fact that she came along when most people thought of "America's sweetheart" as looking like Dorothy Hamill is undeniable, but if she'd been more interested in that sort of thing, I bet she could have found a skilled publicist to put her out there. I think that was not something she was into.

    On the other hand, Michelle has that extra x-factor that pulls people in. Not that she does it on purpose. She just has that charisma. It certainly shows up in her skating. She's an artist, a woman of mystery; she's almost the music itself. People like her don't come along every day. You can be a fan of hers or prefer someone else's skating over hers, but her magnetism is undeniable. Some people just have that. So she became "America's sweetheart" partly by timing but also because of some ineffable factor within her.

    There was an article that says "American beats Kwan"? How painful, and how offensive! I think of America's nature as being precisely this--that we come from everywhere and we bring the world with us. I remember once noticing in my office that we had co-workers from six of the seven continents. Vive la difference!
    Last edited by Olympia; 08-08-2010 at 07:52 AM.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    There was an article that says "American beats Kwan"? How painful, and how offensive! I think of America's nature as being precisely this--that we come from everywhere and we bring the world with us.
    Well, the way I see it...an American DID beat Kwan, right? Last time I checked, Lipinski and Hughes were American...Ironically, it happened in both 1998 and 2002- one of MK's fellow teammates pulled off the upset.

    Never understood the big deal that was made. NOWHERE did I read in that title what some seem to be implying. It simply read to me that an American defeated her, which was true. Oh well-
    Last edited by R.D.; 08-08-2010 at 12:24 PM.

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    There are a few who have raised that point but don't you think it's an awkward choice of wording for a headline? When you're using American beats X it is kind of strange to note one competitor's nationality and not the other, as the reader can easily make the assumption that x is not American in contrast. The argument could be made that they're highlighting that another American won, but imo at best it's ambiguous and at the least was a poor choice of words. Either way it caused a lot of controversy and obviously offended a lot of people.

    Also this was during the 90's, which isn't the same as racist 50's america but it's also not quite like today. Any type of perceived slight was rightly dwelled upon, especially considering the history of media portrayal of asian-americans. Even a recent survey taken in the 2000's by Harris Interactive showed that out of all ethnic minorities, Asian-americans are still largely viewed as the "other" or "foreign", despite the many achievements and contributions they've made to american society.
    Last edited by ashdustannie; 08-08-2010 at 01:06 PM.

  7. #52
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    It was poor word choice, they should have used youngster or something similar. They were trying to make a big deal of an apparent upset, I don't think there was anything racist intended.

    Headlines are one of the most difficult parts of writing an article, trying to tell teh story in just half a sentence is next to impossible. You want it to grab the reader and give them enough info to know what to expect.

    It should have read Teammate defeats Kwan. But "American Olympic Champion" is what everyone wants to see. Editor should have caught it and didn't.

  8. #53
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Here is an aticle about the headline:

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsour...3&slug=2737594

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashdustannie View Post
    There are a few who have raised that point but don't you think it's an awkward choice of wording for a headline? When you're using American beats X it is kind of strange to note one competitor's nationality and not the other, as the reader can easily make the assumption that x is not American in contrast. The argument could be made that they're highlighting that another American won, but imo at best it's ambiguous and at the least was a poor choice of words. Either way it caused a lot of controversy and obviously offended a lot of people.
    I guess I can concede that it wasn't the best way to phrase it (maybe "Fellow American Beats Kwan" would have been more PC?), but honestly, I saw nothing racist or offensive about it.
    Last edited by R.D.; 08-08-2010 at 01:31 PM.

  10. #55
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    Here is the true irony. Four years after the Seattle Times wrote about how MSNBC had to apologize for the "American beats Kwan" headline, that same newspaper (the Seattle Times) itself ran the headline: "American Outshines Kwan, Slutskaya in Skating Surprise."

    Then they had to "explain" their own headline, after criticizing MSNBC's.

    This was especially embarrassing to the Seattle Times because that liberal newspaper has a long history of championing human rights and especially of building strong relationships with Asian-American groups in the Pacific Northwest.

  11. #56
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    I found this headline from the Seattle Times - Feb. 22, 2002

    Hughes Good as Gold
    American beats out Kwan, Slutzkaya


    What if Irina had won and they ran this headline:

    Slutzkaya Good as Gold
    Russian beats out Kwan, Butyrskaya

    Would the Seattle Times then be accused of slighting Maria (or any other Russian Lady who might have been in the competition)?

    I don't think so. Is this partially about the use of the term "American" and how if can seem different at times compared to other descriptive terms for nationality?

    If Jeff Buttle had won a big event and a headline said:

    Buttle Good as Gold
    Canadian beats Lysacek and Chan

    Would such a headline mean that Jeff is Canadian and Patrick is not?
    Last edited by janetfan; 08-08-2010 at 03:08 PM.

  12. #57
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I found this headline from the Seattle Times - Feb. 22, 2002

    Hughes Good as Gold
    American beats out Kwan, Slutzkaya


    What if Irina had won and they ran this headline:

    Slutzkaya Good as Gold
    Russian beats out Kwan, Butyrskaya

    Would the Seattle Times then be accused of slighting Maria (or any other Russian Lady who might have been in the competition)?

    I don't think so. Is this partially about the use of the term "American" and how if can seem different at times compared to other descriptive terms for nationality?

    If Jeff Buttle had won a big event and a headline said:

    Buttle Good as Gold
    Canadian beats Lysacek and Chan

    Would such a headline mean that Jeff is Canadian and Patrick is not?
    For me the difference in your examples is where they are published.

    For American papers to headline 'Canadian beats Lysacek and Chan' is a case of an American not winning. If that same headline was in a Canadian paper, I'd find it to be denying Patrick's nationality, as well.

    In the case of American beats Kwan as published by a US publication, it implies that Kwan is not American - for a casual Olympics watcher, they would presume that Kwan represented China. As an American headline, it would've been better to say American ladies win Gold and Silver, or Lipinski edges out Kwan for Gold.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    For me the difference in your examples is where they are published.

    For American papers to headline 'Canadian beats Lysacek and Chan' is a case of an American not winning. If that same headline was in a Canadian paper, I'd find it to be denying Patrick's nationality, as well.

    In the case of American beats Kwan as published by a US publication, it implies that Kwan is not American - for a casual Olympics watcher, they would presume that Kwan represented China. As an American headline, it would've been better to say American ladies win Gold and Silver, or Lipinski edges out Kwan for Gold.
    Thanks - and I pretty much agree with you.
    What about the Russian example I used:

    "Slutskaya Good as Gold"
    Russian beats Kwan, Butyrskaya

    Does the fact that Irina and Maria are both caucasians somehow make a headline like this acceptable?
    Or does it still imply that Irina is Russian and Maria is not?

    Thinking about this one could also consider that Michelle was much better known than Sarah. It might even be fairly factual to say that many Americans knew Michelle was American but did not know where Sarah was from.

    I agree with earlier comments that the headline was poorly written. Whether the headline was intentionally racist or not is beside the point. At the best it is sloppy and for me the fact that it slighted a group of Americans makes it not only unfortunate but unacceptable.

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    I agree the titles were poorly worded, BUT like janetfan said, when I read/heard about it, I took it more as a slight towards Tara/Sarah, after all, everyone knows who Kwan is, but Tara and Sarah were the other "American" skater who beat Michelle. That's how I had interpreted it at the time and was kind of surprised over the outcry on the internet.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKFSfan View Post
    I agree the titles were poorly worded, BUT like janetfan said, when I read/heard about it, I took it more as a slight towards Tara/Sarah, after all, everyone knows who Kwan is, but Tara and Sarah were the other "American" skater who beat Michelle. That's how I had interpreted it at the time and was kind of surprised over the outcry on the internet.
    ^ This.

    Big ado over nothing.

    Mountain out of a molehill...

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