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Thread: Is there an ideal "figure" in figure skating?

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    skating philosopher Mrs. P's Avatar
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    Is there an ideal "figure" in figure skating?

    Okay, I feel all the weight discussion does not belong in program thread, so I'm moving it here. However, I'd prefer to discuss it more academic terms rather than if skater A is "fat" or "not fat."

    I'll start with FF's post from the other thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverFish View Post
    There's a BIG difference between losing weight and getting into shape. You can eat less to lose weight, but getting in shape requires a lot more intensive resistance training (and more carb and protein-based calories in the diet). Returning elite skaters have to get back in shape, and they do so by regaining muscle mass, which weighs more than fat anyway. The point here is that until Tukt decides to publicize her weight, we can't simply "assume" that she needs to lose ten or twenty pounds in order to be a better skater.
    In fact, one could argue that in some cases losing weight or being too skinny can cause issues. Mao Asada, for example, seems to have lost quite a bit of weight from 2010 to 2011 (likely due to stress from her mom's illness).


    I believe with the loss weight, she loss some muscle strength that likely lead to her jump issues.

    This year, she looks like she gained some weight and has gained some of the strength back.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Is there an ideal "figure" in figure skating?

    Yes. Anjelika Krylova.

    http://www.jbmittan.com/skaterpix1998/9812208.JPG

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    Mao, Yuna and Carolina comes to mind as ideal figures
    tall with long lines , unfavorable would be a body type like Tuk or Flatts

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    When Jenny Kirk was at the worst of her eating disorder issues, her jumps were so tiny as to be miniscule. A good skater needs some muscle mass in both legs & arms to get height & distance on her jumps. On the other side, Midori Ito, best female jumper ever, had rather stocky, solid legs. While it might not have been the most esthetically pleasing look, it got the job done.

    Christina Chitwood has posted an interesting article on the subject of healthy eating for ice dancers

    http://www.ice-dance.com/main/news/g...healthy-eating

    Dance has even more stringent requirements for a nice look than singles, so it's a good read.

    Perhaps the most important advice:

    10. Find a good sports nutritionist
    Do not take random advice from diet sites on the internet. It's important to maintain muscle while staying slim, and having a good sports nutritionist on your team is a must. I think the larger training sites have them on staff.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 08-01-2013 at 07:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    When Jenny Kirk was at the worst of her eating disorder issues, her jumps were so tiny as to be miniscule. A good skater needs some muscle mass in both legs & arms to get height & distance on her jumps. On the other side, Midori Ito, best female jumper ever, had rather stocky, solid legs. While it might not have been the most esthetically pleasing look, it got the job done.
    being petite too helps with the jumps but you need to have right technique as well, Ito was an exception as she was ahead of her time
    but not all petite skaters are great jumpers Elene G. comes to mind

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    I think that being tall isn't necessarily an asset for singles skaters, though it certainly can be for ice dancing. It's interesting to me who does well in terms of jumps, because the top jumpers in history actually have a variety of body types, from the rather stocky Tonya Harding and Midori Ito (and Midori was very petite: well under five feet tall) to the taller YuNa and Shizuka. So maybe something else is involved, such as muscle type? Certainly being willowy with long lines makes a skater look good for moves such as spins and spirals.

    For ice dancing, height can indeed be an advantage in terms of looks. In that, Mathman, I agree about Anjelika Krylova being the ideal figure, along with Marina Klimova. (And yet, even here...Jayne Torville had a long torso and rather short legs. She took one's breath away nonetheless.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I think that being tall isn't necessarily an asset for singles skaters, though it certainly can be for ice dancing. It's interesting to me who does well in terms of jumps, because the top jumpers in history actually have a variety of body types, from the rather stocky Tonya Harding and Midori Ito (and Midori was very petite: well under five feet tall) to the taller YuNa and Shizuka. So maybe something else is involved, such as muscle type? Certainly being willowy with long lines makes a skater look good for moves such as spins and spirals.

    For ice dancing, height can indeed be an advantage in terms of looks. In that, Mathman, I agree about Anjelika Krylova being the ideal figure, along with Marina Klimova. (And yet, even here...Jayne Torville had a long torso and rather short legs. She took one's breath away nonetheless.)
    Ice dancing taller girls would always be of advantage unless the guy is short then the team will be in trouble
    they focus more on fine lines and they do not require any jumps

    I do agree about big jumpers having different body types
    lets compared the most successful

    Ito, Harding, Yuna and Gold all have different body times
    but are one of the most successful skaters in history imo

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    Yes, and Shizuka is also a very strong jumper, with several different triple-triples, which she retained to a pretty late age for a female skater. The interesting thing is that several coaches (I think Frank Carroll was one) stated that the ideal body build for jumping was a prepubescent girl. They were probably thinking of someone off the order of Tara Lipinski. But hallelujah, many of the best jumpers not only had good strong bodies but were also older. Gotta love it!

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    Miserere Nobis
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    Agreed. If you want a lady with big jumps, just look at Yuna, Carolina, and Gracie. Or, in the past, Tonya and Midori. None of them are/were pubescent waifs.

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    Tatjana Navka!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Yes, and Shizuka is also a very strong jumper, with several different triple-triples, which she retained to a pretty late age for a female skater. The interesting thing is that several coaches (I think Frank Carroll was one) stated that the ideal body build for jumping was a prepubescent girl. They were probably thinking of someone off the order of Tara Lipinski. But hallelujah, many of the best jumpers not only had good strong bodies but were also older. Gotta love it!
    I would think from a physics perspective, a prepubescent girl's body being the ideal makes sense since it would be more stick straight. I had a coach who once said that loops particularly were harder for more developed bodies with wider hips since it was harder to swing it around, and that young girls who reached puberty often had trouble doing them afterwards when they could easily land them before. For toe pick jumps though, I think having more power to one's body would help with takeoff.

    As for body proportion, from an aesthetics point of view, longer legs and shorter torso is more pleasing to me personally. Perhaps it might also help with balance since one would be less top-heavy, so to speak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    When Jenny Kirk was at the worst of her eating disorder issues, her jumps were so tiny as to be miniscule. A good skater needs some muscle mass in both legs & arms to get height & distance on her jumps. On the other side, Midori Ito, best female jumper ever, had rather stocky, solid legs. While it might not have been the most esthetically pleasing look, it got the job done.

    Christina Chitwood has posted an interesting article on the subject of healthy eating for ice dancers

    http://www.ice-dance.com/main/news/g...healthy-eating

    Dance has even more stringent requirements for a nice look than singles, so it's a good read.
    Pairs also have more stringent requirements than singles in a lot of ways- not so much in terms of 'look' necessarily, but in terms of relative size between the partners. Both the man and the woman need to constantly be watching weight and muscle mass in order to continue to be able to put up lifts. The woman has to do her part by having enough muscle to help th eman in the lifts but also has to weigh little enough that the sheer weight is not an issue for them man; the man has to do his part to bulk up in order to be able to lift the woman.

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    Yes, I think that female pairs skaters have to be among the most specialized skaters in the world. They have to be lightweight and preferably remaining short as they mature (like Barbara Underhill or Christine Hough). They must also be incredibly brave, because these days they take their lives into their hands--or more correctly, put their lives into the hands of their partners--every time they skate.

    It's interesting that some of the best pairs ladies, especially the ones from China so far, aren't that short compared to their partners. Well, Zhang (male) is built like a linebacker, so it didn't matter so much in their peak skating years. Pang just kept herself unnaturally thin. But Shen didn't seem overly skinny, and Zhao didn't seem overly tall. Yet they were the best in the world for several years. I like when biology is NOT destiny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Yes, I think that female pairs skaters have to be among the most specialized skaters in the world. They have to be lightweight and preferably remaining short as they mature (like Barbara Underhill or Christine Hough). They must also be incredibly brave, because these days they take their lives into their hands--or more correctly, put their lives into the hands of their partners--every time they skate.

    It's interesting that some of the best pairs ladies, especially the ones from China so far, aren't that short compared to their partners. Well, Zhang (male) is built like a linebacker, so it didn't matter so much in their peak skating years. Pang just kept herself unnaturally thin. But Shen didn't seem overly skinny, and Zhao didn't seem overly tall. Yet they were the best in the world for several years. I like when biology is NOT destiny.
    In the book The Second Mark, Shen's eating disorder is discussed. After a weigh-in (common in China) where she had gained a few pounds, she basically stopped eating beyond a barely-above-subsistence level. In her competitive career, she was very slender.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenaj View Post
    In the book The Second Mark, Shen's eating disorder is discussed. After a weigh-in (common in China) where she had gained a few pounds, she basically stopped eating beyond a barely-above-subsistence level. In her competitive career, she was very slender.
    I'm sorry to hear that. I didn't remember that part of the book. Shen never looked it, not like Pang. Oh, dear. Thanks for clarifying, though.

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