I like Mathman's "I think the key is, do you like your favorite just as much when he/she fails and when he/she succeeds? "
The definition of "success"- I suppose is the technical side of things. It's hard for me to dislike a skater when they don't succeed on jumps because often times, their other qualities shine through no matter what. It's good to give skaters a break sometimes and not being on their case every time a mistake is made.
In response to R.D.'s question about fandom: I feel like I have a need to reply to unfair criticisms about a skater if I have more background knowledge about them (most likely because I liked them to begin with to read up more about them) and someone is spreading horrible rumours about them, especially if someone is trolling and writing crappy posts just b/c they really dislike someone. I'm not sure if it has to do with fandom per say, more like having to do with not being able to stand unfair comments.
That being said, it's also hard for me to change an opinion about someone if they have shown an attitude that I've disliked continuously in previous interviews.
Last edited by sapphiresky; 11-05-2012 at 02:34 AM.
It's an interesting question.
Two reasons people like a particular skater haven't been mentioned:
1. Because they are of the same religion (another case of identifying with the skater). I remember a case of a particular fan who hated and was very vocal about one skater. When it was revealed that the skater was the same religion as the fan, all of a sudden the fan had positive things to say about the skater. It was quite a shocker.
2. Because someone/many people they either associate with or respect likes that skater. This works in politics too.
3. Because the skater won. Everyone likes to be associated with a winner (another thing that also works in politics)
As to what makes me like one skater or another:
1. Do they surprise me? I am a sucker for something cool, new & creative, or just something I haven't seen before that is perfectly done:
Shawn Sawyer's extreme flexibility/spiral
Rohene Ward's layback and ability to spin both ways
Tonya Harding's Huge jumps
Jason Brown has any number of cool moves
Toller Cranston ditto
Torvill & Dean
Davis & White's Giselle
Virtue & Moir's Pink Floyd
If a team or skater can keep surprising me most every season, then I become a real fan.
2. Do they have a good sense of musical timing? Do the jumps land or go up on a high point in the music? Do the skaters make me feel the music more intensely? If so, I just love them. (This is one reason I just love the dancers) It is easier to get this effect live than watching TV because of problems synching audio & video feeds)
I'm as susceptible as anyone else to rooting for people I've met personally & liked, too, which has nothing to do with whether they deserve to win or not.
This basically summarizes it all:
And I like him for off-ice reasons, too, for who he is as a person. And it is not the case of identifying with someone, because I am American, not Japanese, and I don't believe we share a religion or anything else that was mentioned. But Daisuke, off-ice, is such a class act. I think of after the earthquake/tsunami in Japan in 2011, when Daisuke came up with the idea to have a charity exhibition to raise money for relief efforts, and proposed it to other skaters. He went ahead and skated in the event, even though he had Worlds just a few weeks away. Also, I read this on the IFS facebook page today, "Heard heartwarming story from Cup of China. At closing banquet raffle Daisuke's coach won a smartphone. As Daisuke already had the same one he decided to give it to Nan Song who attended the banquet wearing a neckbrace. Daisuke told Nan that he wished him a quick recovery and hoped to compete with him at 4CC in Osaka." It is things like this that make me love Daisuke.
I must stress, fairweather fandom isn't necessarily a bad thing. Everyone likes a winner. In fact, it can be good in a way- and here is an example. You see it all the time in team sports- when a city's team does well, suddenly everyone is hanging signs and watching/attending games. They help fill up the arenas and pump up the surrounding atmosphere. True fans stick around even when the team does poorly- and they are essentially the life-blood and support of this team, as they keep buying the tickets and merchandise. But the fairweather fans come in droves when the team is winning and help to provide that electric atmosphere that is so infectious during the playoffs. Eliminate them from the equation and you still have an enthusiastic crowd, but it is much smaller.
Translating this to skating, or individual sports, it's a little trickier. I'm sure most athletes would much rather have the fans who stick by them through thick and thin than the ones who are plentiful when everything's good, but vanish when the going gets tough. Sort of like how friends work...who are your REAL friends?
I was really getting at reactions to more mild criticisms, say perhaps "she's slow" or "she does nothing for me" type of comments. Not the inflammatory type. I see strong reactions by fans of some of these skaters who are being criticized mildly and I want to know why they do it- the psychology behind why they feel the need to be defensive.
This is more my tendency toward U.S. skaters -- my like for a skater and/or skaters tends to involve things beyond what they do on the ice.
For example, I like the Shibutanis because they are fun outside of the ice. I love that Maia and Alex have such great senses of humor with their Facebook + Twitter posts and YouTube videos. Also the fact they make an effort to stay connected with fans via those mediums also is quite attractive to me. Combined with the fact they are some of the hardest workers in Ice Dance (how many times did they change that pesky Latin SD again?), it makes me a fan regardless of how they do.
Rachael Flatt is another skater I tend to like because I like her off-ice personality and also her work ethic. She is definitely passionate about life and all the things within it, which in some ways could be her downfall because she is doing too much, but regardless I admire someone who clearly loves life so much. Granted I like other people's skating better than Rachael's, but I am a fan for all the other reasons above and I think there are still some great aspects to her skating as well that people tend to down play -- namely enthusiasm, persistence and power.
Ross Miner is another skater I feel many downplay, but I just love his slow, steady and calm approach. I think in the age of flashy, showy skating, Ross Miner's smooth skating style is refreshing. I like that he just goes out there in the ice and skates his program good, bad or otherwise and does it with little pretension. Also in regardless to off-ice personality, I love his dry sense of humor on Twitter, especially when he teams up with his buddies, the Shibs.
Outside of the U.S...
Akiko Suzuki is a skater who I like because of her passion for life and skating. I can't understand Japanese, but I just love how she takes photos of whatever comes to mind and post them on Twitter. I appreciate a skater who can see greatness in the little things and I think that shows in the nuances of her skating.
Daisuke Takahashi, as others pointed out, gets fans because he performs his heart out each and every time. He is not perfect, but regardless you always come away glad you saw Daisuke skate. I love his performance style.
There are others, so perhaps I'll elaborate more when I have a chance.
If I concentrate on the men´s skating only and think about my biggest favourites of all time, they all are rather different as skaters:
Definetely I´m not enthusiastic about skaters because they are coming from a certain country and could not care less about the religion... Maybe it is the effortless way they move on the ice (with the exception of Candeloro), the speed (well Curry was not a fast skater, but what did I know about those things in that time???). Apparently I do like tall skaters most (exceptions being Candeloro, Takahashi, Chan and Fernandez, which I like in spite of them being short). Anyway it is a lot more difficult to skate and especially jump if you are about 6” tall.
Michelle, lutz 2003 Worlds, near the end of her career:
While not a Hardingesque lutz, it's got full height, rotation and lots of flow out.
my point of views:
I love the skaters
1. has an unmistakable style
2. has charisma
3. has personality on and off ice
4. diverse ( she/ he can convey different feelings in the skating)
5. enjoyable to watch in every aspect( skating, outfit, shape, I don't like the too small skaters)
6. I like if the girls are pretty, fit for skating(for example I don't like Mae Berenice Meite, she has beautiful body, but she needs to go to run)
My favorite male skaters:
1. Lu Chen
2. Mao Asada
3. Yuna Kim
4. Michelle Kwan
5. Maria Butyrskaya
6. Sizuka Arakawa
1. Evgeni Plushenko (plus he never disappoint)
2. Ilia Kulik
and even more....
Last edited by plushyfan; 11-06-2012 at 01:19 PM.
Great question! In general, I tend to prefer skaters who have a definitive style (whatever that style may be), unique choreography and are capable of skating to a wide range of music. The skaters I like are pretty diverse, but among female skaters, I tend to prefer more powerful, athletic skaters.