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Thread: How do Elite Skaters pay their bills?

  1. #16
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    Great topic, I would love to know more about how skaters fund their training. These days, it is quite a struggle for many middle-class Americans just to keep afloat, keep the bills paid, and not go into debt. Given that, you do wonder how on earth skaters' families can afford their careers. I think this is an important topic especially these days, with the decline of professional skating. As skaters' ability to earn money goes downhill, you have to wonder if, increasingly, parents will cut off support for skating training, seeing no future in it.

  2. #17
    Custom Title merrywidow's Avatar
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    As a skating fan I've sent money to a few skaters. There is nothing to prevent you from helping your favorites out.

  3. #18
    Custom Title Mattieu's Avatar
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    French elite skaters have their training expenses paid for by the fédération, but not their accommodation or general living expenses.

  4. #19
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Calla Urbanski & Rocky Marval used to sell button pins at US Nationals and other competitions to help fund their skating.

    The most creative funding method was IMO was Beata Handra & Charles Sinek, US ice dancers. They were always short of money, and always trying to push their skates that extra week or two. Charles invented Sk8Tape to make their worn skates look better, and started a company to wholesale skating related products, including Sk8tape.

    http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Charles-Sinek/289936718

    "I had retired for many years," said Sinek, who is a member of the Skating Club of Boston."I had no plans on ever competing again."
    Between teaching, inventing Sk8tape, a vinyl tape skaters use to cover their skates, and running a business wholesaling skating-related products, Sinek seemed to be content.

    Only, he got the competitive bug again, and eventually decided to give ice dance a go with Beata, whom he married in 1996.
    By 1999, the duo was ready to hit the world circuit, but Sinek experienced trouble getting reinstated to the International Skating Union.It took nearly a year to correct that problem[/quote]

    They competed at the 2002 Olympics

    Another skater with entrepreneuship in her soul, Katy Taylor made & designed costumes.

  5. #20
    Outdated Old Dinosaur
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    Going back to Peggy Fleming for a moment in regards to costuming.

    I thought her costumes were simple and elegant, and as I mentioned before, her mother made them.

    Peggy's beautiful qualities wouldn't have been improved one bit by the addition of a Vera Wang dress.

    Costuming is one additional expense that I think is unnecessary, at least to the degree it is. I recall that some ice dancers had special outfits designed just for the practice sessions at elite competitions.

  6. #21
    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Tonto, if you have not already seen Sochi 2014's official use of a vintage image of Peggy Fleming, I think you will like it. (Reposting it here from a GS Olympic thread.)

    At least Vera Wang costumes also are elegant and relatively simple (in a good way), although I can only imagine how expensive they are.
    I do agree that overly elaborate costumes (designed by others) do not seem worth what must be a rather high cost.

  7. #22
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    Ice shows & tours also, and perhaps even public appearances/speeches.

    Sorry if that's already been mentioned!

  8. #23
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    And, if they are very good, prize money is still offered for ISU championships and the GP; I don't know about other events.

  9. #24
    Outdated Old Dinosaur
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    Oh, thank you, Golden!

    I hadn't seen the image; isn't she beautiful?

    That's the dress from Grenoble. I'm almost certain.

  10. #25
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    That is indeed a gorgeous photo.

    I believe I read that Mrs. Fleming made the dress in a chartreuse color because it was a "French color" (the name comes from the place name Chartreux, home of the Carthusian monks) and might bring Peggy favor with the judges. (Not that the judges were all French, of course.) Isn't it a lovely dress? Dorothy Hamill had a simple dress also in 1976. And men used to skate in what looked like formal wear or dinner jackets. I don't know when costumes got so elaborate and expensive, but I'm sure Katarina Witt had something to do with it. I agree that Vera Wang often makes the best skating dresses because they're so simple, starting with Nancy Kerrigan's elegant outfits and continuing with Michelle's dresses. Did I read that Wang discounted or gave the dresses? I don't think Nancy paid full price; I don't know about Michelle.

  11. #26
    Spiral Lover tulosai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    The only way to become an Elite level skater is to have money, unless you live in China and you are chosen at a young age for their athletics program. Russia used to have a program like that, not sure how much is still funded by the government.
    Russia's program is still heavily if not entirely government funded if you are 'picked'. In some cases they even give subsidies to the skaters families (in addition to providing coaching, costumes, ice time, etc for free).

  12. #27
    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Glad that others like the Fleming/Sochi poster (or whatever it is) -- and that her photo and words remain iconic after all these years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I agree that Vera Wang often makes the best skating dresses because they're so simple, starting with Nancy Kerrigan's elegant outfits and continuing with Michelle's dresses. Did I read that Wang discounted or gave the dresses? I don't think Nancy paid full price; I don't know about Michelle.
    I too have the general impression that Wang sees her skating costumes first and foremost not as a moneymaking proposition, but as a way to give back to the sport and to express support for those who have the good fortune to wear them.
    Very generous of her to absorb some or all of the costs, whenever she does.

    (That said, I wonder whether she ever has declined a request to make a costume for a skater who can afford to pay full price, but whom she does not care to have as a muse. I would not blame her if she did, because her plate already is more than full with her "day job" in bridal wear and fashion.)

    BTW, segueing back to the central topic of possible sources of income for skaters:
    For some skaters, another type of employment unrelated to skating is modeling. Examples: Becky Bereswill, Taylor Toth.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulosai View Post
    Russia's program is still heavily if not entirely government funded if you are 'picked'. In some cases they even give subsidies to the skaters families (in addition to providing coaching, costumes, ice time, etc for free).
    Yes. But only for really elite skaters.
    Talented youngsters may be sponsored by skating schools.

  14. #29
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    Elite skaters have not real problems to pay their bills - sponsors, advertising, ice shows, prize money give them enough.
    Yuna Kim was at 2010 in Top Ten most payed atletes, as "Forbes" wrote.

    Starting level is not so expensive - non-top coaches, many skaters at the ice (so not so expensive ice) and so.
    In many European countries "kid and junior" sports is free for children-athletes - government pays. Some money of course is needed for skates and shoes, costumes and so - but at this level it is not expensive.

    Most serios financial problems have "pre-elite" skaters - they need about the same as elite, but have not elite's incomes.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexRus View Post
    Most serios financial problems have "pre-elite" skaters - they need about the same as elite, but have not elite's incomes.
    Yes. Perhaps a useful question would be "How does one get to become an elite skater?" or more specifically "How much does it cost?"

    Of course the answers vary with different federations.

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