Instant gratification in figure skating
This topic has been brewing in my head for a bit because of a number of discussions in various threads. I feel like there's too much expectation on skaters to be instant hits or they are doomed for the rest of their careers. Here's a few examples.
1.) In 2011, Adelina Sotnikova wins junior worlds. Everyone expects her to blow up at seniors. She does not. She has yet to make a GPF. Her clean SP at Euros is her first clean SP in sometime now. But yet I've seen posts of "I've given up on her."
2.) The Shibutanis surprise everyone by winning World Bronze in 2011 due to poor skates from their competition. Since then, they have not lived up to that result, with claims that they have already peaked.
3.) In 2012, Gracie Gold has been hyped to high heaven. She has yet to fully live up to expectations, hence raising questions of whether she can handle the pressure.
4.) In 2012, Kaetlyn Osmond wins bronze at Canadian nationals. She then wins Skate Canada and Nebelhorn later in the year. She wins Canadians definitively in 2013. Now there are all sorts of people saying that she could win the world championship in London this spring. What would if she falls?
Yes we have examples of people who were able to come in early and win everything -- Oksana Baiul, Mao Asada, Yuna Kim. But these should be seen as exceptions, rather than the rule.
Think about some of your favorite skaters. Did they win on the first try?
How about Daisuke Takahashi? Nope. He won the World Junior Championship in 2002. He would follow that with a 11th place finish in 2003. He didn't win his first Worlds medal until 4 years later in 2007.
Or Savchenko/Szolkowy? Nope. They were 6th during their first two years at Worlds, before medaling for the first time in 2007, starting a streak of six medals, including 4 golds.
Let's try a lady -- Carolina Kostner! After winning bronze in junior worlds in 2003, she went on and finished 10th at Worlds. We all know that she has been up and down and it would take 9 years before she would win her first championship.
My point is, I feel like there's too much pressure on people to win on the first try -- that's why Ross Miner has been so below the radar. He never gets attention because of his slow-and-steady method of improvement.
I feel skating careers are more like marathons, shouldn't be seen like a sprint. But yet, we put a lot of expectations on new skaters to hit it off the ball park on the first try, when really that doesn't always happen. And when I think about my own personal career, I realize that failure/struggled helped me grow more than if I was always successful. The guys from Twitter actually did another product -- a podcasting website -- that completely tanked. Should they have give up when they failed on the first try? Of course not?
I get that these young skaters don't get a break because in reality they stand out -- they are quite advanced for their age be it Adelina's huge presence/speed on the ice, the Shibs textbook blade work or Gracie's huge jumps. But in the end they're still young. They still have a lot to learn and a lot of things to work on.
I guess I wonder why there is so much urgency among people to see skaters succeed right away.
Last edited by Mrs. P; 01-26-2013 at 02:13 AM.