lovelly skinny body type and long lines .. POLINA KOROBEYNIKOVA
I think this was mentioned earlier (too lazy to wade through the entire thread) but there are two kinds of "weight talk" when in figure skating: the kind that speculates about its relationship to the technical side of things (so-and-so might have an easier time rotating with her jumps if she took off a few pounds) and the kind that's really more about aesthetics (so-and-so should lose weight to look more attractive and graceful).
Of the two, the first type doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I often wish people would be less sensitive about it, that we could discuss it the same way we could discuss jumping technique or music choices. The laws of physics are present regardless of anyone's feelings, and in most sports, there are certain physical characteristics that the most successful athletes tend to have. Yeah, there's a range of bodies that can succeed rather than one exact "perfect" one, and technique can count for a lot, and with the new code there's a number of different ways to rack up points so there might be more leeway for different body types. But still, most skaters will struggle if their body fat percentage or overall size gets past a certain point (which is different for different skaters). For all the body comparisons people love to do (usually of female skaters, I can't help but notice), these athletes would look relatively small and thin when seen in the flesh, even the "heavy" or "thick" ones. The skaters that get called heavy might look that way relative to other skaters, but no one would be describing them that way after seeing them in a university lecture, or at a shopping mall, for example. So yes, it appears it skating does favour the small and thin, especially in women/girls.
The second type of weight talk does bother me, though: the idea that to be pleasing to watch, to be considered truly artistic, a female skater needs to be slender and ballerina-like. I do think it's a sign of body prejudice, the meaning we've learned to associate with different body types. These ideas and attitudes are cultural, they're learned, and most people absorb them to some extent. A gymnastics columnist last year spoke of something similar in that sport, how the descriptors of "athletic" and "artistic" have become almost code for describing a gymnast's body type, and how the more willowy-figured gymnasts have an easier time being seen as artistic than the ones with stronger, more muscular builds.
Shawn Johnson Retires: How Gymnastics Talks About Bodies in Code
I think she hits it right on the head in these places, and that these observations can apply to female figure skaters, also:
In theory, artistry should describe a quality of movement, a connection between the performer's limbs, the music, and the audience. But somehow, the short, stocky gymnasts...rarely get credit for that je ne sais quoi.Plenty of lean, flexible gymnasts have nothing in common with dancers in terms of musicality and interpretation. We call them artistic because we can as easily imagine them in a tutu as in a leotard.