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Thread: At what age do female skaters peak?

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    Custom Title hurrah's Avatar
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    At what age do female skaters peak?

    Mirai Nagasu
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xSyRYj7HXc
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZgAiLcGiWI

    Mao Asada
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm5xsi9Ypu0
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVedT...A24D36EB5E163C

    Miki Ando
    12-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fUfKLHiboA
    14-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc7FZGol7hQ

    Yuna Kim
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xoh3P...feature=relmfu
    14-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-6mBhkB47w
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbn45S026_s&feature=fvst

    Michelle Kwan
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hnVEfLmAuA
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20JF_KVXYyc

    Irina Slutskaya
    14-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZy3dgNRrIw
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixbuNARSKEA
    16-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8cNM...eature=related

    Midori Ito
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzBCpzw7vl0
    14-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_T5E...feature=relmfu
    16-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4oZ-Judbac

    Kimmie Meissner
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZPGM...eature=related
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Antcz4WpdU
    16-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1VaoEWyBeQ

    Carolina Kostner
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT7LH6WYdQw
    16-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPBK-FkhOCg

    Shizukawa Arakawa
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dVd6N_0yRY
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm5XTC6_YE8

    Tara Lipinski
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn34pAZqC9c
    15-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZhIs6OIJ-I
    16-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEKDHCu5iYM

    Sarah Hughes
    13-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfQRQJ6ZBN8
    14-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R945UtwCKa4
    16-years-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pun-ZjqUOLA
    Last edited by hurrah; 04-12-2012 at 06:30 AM.

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    Sometimes I wonder why people don't consider figure skating a real sport. Then I see threads like these. -_-

  3. #3
    Custom Title hurrah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brightphoton View Post
    Sometimes I wonder why people don't consider figure skating a real sport. Then I see threads like these. -_-
    Given the emphasis on 'puberty monster' one sees in discussions, I thought this would be a good way to gain a more grounded perspective. In collecting Youtube files of famous skaters skating around the age when puberty monster strikes, it seems to me that some do go under after 15-16, but most top skaters reach their peak well into their mid to late-twenties, and this is something that is more so under CoP.

    Actually, discussion of 'puberty monster' is relevant to other sports as well, for example, swimming. At 1992 Barcelona Olympics, a 14-year-old swimmer Kyoko Iwasaki won the gold medal in 200-meter breaststroke. And the Japanese public thought that if this girl could win gold at the age of 14, she was going to be unbeatable for the next decade. However, swimming commentators said that the only reason why she won was because she was not fully grown, and had a lighter and shorter torso in ratio to the length of her arms and legs, a condition which would not last for much longer. Sure enough, her winning streak did not last, and even though she did manage to compete at 1996 Atlanta Olympic, she placed 10th in 200-meters and did not qualify for 100-meter race. So this is a case when having a 'young' body helped someone get the gold medal in swimming. However, this is an anomaly and in most cases, swimmers who win gold medals are much older and are completely over their puberty and win their medal because they have reinvented their physique through arduous training.
    Last edited by hurrah; 04-12-2012 at 11:16 AM.

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    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
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    We just saw ladies over age 20 rule the podium in Nice. Carolina Kostner is 24 years old; Alena Leonova is 21; and Akiko Suzuki is 26.

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    I think when they had school figures, the age was around 18-20. It took years to master those figures. When they were gone, but it was still under the 6.0 system, in what many think was the golden age of at least understanding the sport (whoever did the hardest jump and didn't fall pretty much won) the ages went down considerably. Now that there is such an emphasis on deep edges and stroking, etc. the age is going up again. However, the jump content is going down, arguably. This year the winner didn't do either of the two hardest triple jumps, the axel and lutz, which hasn't happened in a while.

    As a high school teacher, I see the maturity level of teen girls. I think what may be happening--especially in Mirai's case, I didn't watch all the other clips--is that after a certain age, the girls have to do a more "sophisticated" performance, with heavy music, trying to express sadness or desire or pain in their skating. They are adorable doing the younger, cuter music like the Nutcracker or Charlie Chaplin or whatever, but seem wooden and lost when they have to skate to the requiem of the sad violin. Teen girls of today--even the older ones--still have cutesy taste, at least my students do. They reach a point where they don't seem to like what they're skating to any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal View Post
    I think when they had school figures, the age was around 18-20. It took years to master those figures. When they were gone, but it was still under the 6.0 system, in what many think was the golden age of at least understanding the sport (whoever did the hardest jump and didn't fall pretty much won) the ages went down considerably. Now that there is such an emphasis on deep edges and stroking, etc. the age is going up again. However, the jump content is going down, arguably. This year the winner didn't do either of the two hardest triple jumps, the axel and lutz, which hasn't happened in a while.

    As a high school teacher, I see the maturity level of teen girls. I think what may be happening--especially in Mirai's case, I didn't watch all the other clips--is that after a certain age, the girls have to do a more "sophisticated" performance, with heavy music, trying to express sadness or desire or pain in their skating. They are adorable doing the younger, cuter music like the Nutcracker or Charlie Chaplin or whatever, but seem wooden and lost when they have to skate to the requiem of the sad violin. Teen girls of today--even the older ones--still have cutesy taste, at least my students do. They reach a point where they don't seem to like what they're skating to any more.
    That's a fascinating way of looking at the issue. I think it may help explain some skaters' "lost years" in middle adolescence. I also think of Michelle and how she was able to burrow into very sophisticated music almost right away, which might explain her extraordinary appeal and success. It makes me wonder what would have happened with Tara if she had remained healthy and continued skating. She didn't change much physically, but would she have been able to deliver a mature performance?

    As for the body changes, I was thinking just this morning how ironic it is that the sport that people have most associated with female athletes, figure skating, for a while became a sport that a young woman at the peak of her strength and ability might be shut out of. Growing taller and stronger is generally an advantage in swimming (many female swimmers are almost six feet tall), tennis, softball, volleyball, and track--the sports that gained support and popularity with Title IX in the U.S. But skating (and gymnastics, but that's another story) was becoming a ghetto for prepubescent kiddies. If you're right about the fact that emphasis on edging and stroking and such in CoP might be pushing the age up once more, that's great. Not that I have anything against little girls triumphing in skating, but because I value musical interpretation so much, I'd rather see skaters who are capable of artistic maturity.

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal View Post

    As a high school teacher, I see the maturity level of teen girls. I think what may be happening--especially in Mirai's case, I didn't watch all the other clips--is that after a certain age, the girls have to do a more "sophisticated" performance, with heavy music, trying to express sadness or desire or pain in their skating. They are adorable doing the younger, cuter music like the Nutcracker or Charlie Chaplin or whatever, but seem wooden and lost when they have to skate to the requiem of the sad violin. Teen girls of today--even the older ones--still have cutesy taste, at least my students do. They reach a point where they don't seem to like what they're skating to any more.
    A lot of choreographers seem to think that maturity = sad music. That is partially true. However, there's so much maturity and nuance in upbeat music, too. Mirai should be encouraged to develop her artistry using music that suits her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    We just saw ladies over age 20 rule the podium in Nice. Carolina Kostner is 24 years old; Alena Leonova is 21; and Akiko Suzuki is 26.
    This was also the weakest field we've seen in quite some time. But it does seem like the judges are holding off on giving high PCS until the skaters are more mature. I was surprised at how low Polina was scored in Worlds for PCS. I don't think she's great just yet, but her PCS was baaaaad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    This was also the weakest field we've seen in quite some time.
    2008 was far worse...

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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    We just saw ladies over age 20 rule the podium in Nice. Carolina Kostner is 24 years old; Alena Leonova is 21; and Akiko Suzuki is 26.
    That tells you the weakness in Ladies skating at the moment. Usually mid point between Olympics the new kids are challenging the older skaters internationally and passing them up by the next Olympics. But the younger girls still haven't been allowed to even skated at Worlds and its less then two years before Sochi. Compare that to Kim and Asada skating at Worlds the year after the Torino Olympics which gave them time to become the dominate skaters for Vancouver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jammers View Post
    That tells you the weakness in Ladies skating at the moment. Usually mid point between Olympics the new kids are challenging the older skaters internationally and passing them up by the next Olympics. But the younger girls still haven't been allowed to even skated at Worlds and its less then two years before Sochi. Compare that to Kim and Asada skating at Worlds the year after the Torino Olympics which gave them time to become the dominate skaters for Vancouver.
    Yeah, I wonder with 2013 the last Worlds before Sochi, if the girls who are becoming seniors next year will have time to get their reputations and PCS up to the levels needed to compete with Kostner and... well I guess just Kostner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    We just saw ladies over age 20 rule the podium in Nice. Carolina Kostner is 24 years old; Alena Leonova is 21; and Akiko Suzuki is 26.
    I wouldn't put Kostner and Suzuki in the same category. Kostner has passed her prime as a jumper while Suzuki hasn't. Kostner had enough reputation and knew she was the judge's favorite. She could afford to water down her jump content and transitions as much as she wanted. She was an athlete little more than a ballet dancer is. She was an athlete as much as Ando was an artist last year. Suzuki did not have such luxury, and perhaps never will because I truly doubt she'll ever be JFS's favorite. She will retire when she realizes that she can no longer improve her jumps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeko666 View Post
    I wouldn't put Kostner and Suzuki in the same category. Kostner has passed her prime as a jumper while Suzuki hasn't.
    I agree with this. Caroline is better able to deliver clean programs now than before but the technical level she is attempting is a bit lower. However, I would say that Caro has "peaked" recently because I think part of peaking means being able to translate what you do in practice to your competitive programs. She hasn't done that before but she is making far fewer errors these days, skating several consecutive programs free of falls. She never was able to do that before.

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