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.
the new Russian rithmic gymnast world champion..she has a beautiful body for RG. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uppAiAhr4ks
Thank God the skaters don't have to be so thin ..
Yes, you remember very well. Probably she is retired, she was all around silver medalist, but she won the clubs final...that's not bad.. beautiful woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A9Qxn9fpVU
an ideal singles skater can be tall or short but ideally should be narrow like taller skaters Mao or Yuna, or average girls with petite frame like Sasha or Julia
too much body excess like Tuktamysheva or Flatt can cause problems, their weight issues needs to be addressed
Sorry in advance for a complete off-topic, but I love your avatar, aftertherain!!!
It occurs to me that some of the idealization of certain body types is also the style of the time. On TV they showed a few scenes showing Leslie Caron, who was chosen by Gene Kelly to costar with him in An American in Paris. Caron, still a teenager at that time, was a genuine ballerina, trained in Paris. If you look at her figure in any of her early films, one thing is obvious: she does not have the kind of curveless body idealized by Balanchine. She is very trim, but she has hips. So did many of the dancers of the time. And it's not as if ballet was less demanding in those days than it later became. this was just the style of the time. So I'm wondering whether there is not more leeway than we imagine in skaters' shapes as well. Of course today's skaters have to do triple-triples and whatnot, but I think we've proven by looking at Harding, Ito, and others that natural spring is not necessarily gifted only to sylphs.
Truthfully, a couple extra pounds will not make a difference in whether a skater fully rotates a jump. I've seen "wider" skaters in the adult ranks who land big, beautiful double jumps well into their forties and fifties (who are only praticing 4-5 hours a week, so not elite time commitment) and they are able to do that because they have good jumping technique and proper timing. Some of the greatest lady jumpers in history were smaller in stature but incredibly muscular (Ito, Harding).