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Thread: Sibling skaters - is the younger one more successful?

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    Custom Title cinnamon's Avatar
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    Sibling skaters - is the younger one more successful?

    Looking at cases of Mao & Mai Asada, Michelle & Karen Kwan, Emi Watanabe and her elder sister, Stephane Lambiel and his elder sister,
    is it true to say that statistically younger one is more successful in the skating world? If yes, I wonder why...

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    Miserere Nobis
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    Well, I don't know about "statistically," but Gracie Gold is (barely) older than her twin sister Carly, and has so far seen much more success in skating.

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    Gambatte, Max Aaron/"No letting off the gas pedal" golden411's Avatar
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    Another counter-example:
    Sarah Hughes is older than Emily Hughes. Although Emily was very successful, Sarah was even more successful.

    And re the Golds, I agree with ForeverFish.
    Side question:
    How much of a head start did Gracie have over Carly? I remember reading something about Carly getting involved in skating because Gracie was having so much fun.
    And I thought it was great that Gracie wrote something in her blog about their goal of Carly qualifying for 2014 nationals as a competitor. They're not assuming that she will attend only as Gracie's cheerleader/twin/best friend. Go, Carly!

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    Custom Title cinnamon's Avatar
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    How about Alissa and Amber, who is older?

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    Custom Title cinnamon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    Another counter-example:
    Sarah Hughes is older than Emily Hughes. Although Emily was very successful, Sarah was even more successful.

    And re the Golds, I agree with ForeverFish.
    Side question:
    How much of a head start did Gracie have over Carly? I remember reading something about Carly getting involved in skating because Gracie was having so much fun.
    And I thought it was great that Gracie wrote something in her blog about their goal of Carly qualifying for 2014 nationals as a competitor. They're not assuming that she will attend only as Gracie's cheerleader/twin/best friend. Go, Carly!
    Very nice. Once Asada's dream was going to the Japanese Nationals together.
    p.s. I was impressed by Carly's Rippon Lutz the other day.

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    Gambatte, Max Aaron/"No letting off the gas pedal" golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinnamon View Post
    How about Alissa and Amber, who is older?
    Like the Golds, the Czisnys are twins. So they would differ in age only by minutes. (I don't know which Czisny technically is moments older.)

    Quote Originally Posted by cinnamon View Post
    p.s. I was impressed by Carly's Rippon Lutz the other day.
    ETA:
    Has Carly also mastered the Rippon lutz? I was aware only of Gracie's.

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    Custom Title cinnamon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    ETA:
    Has Carly also mastered the Rippon lutz? I was aware only of Gracie's.
    Here it is
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umekg06DwHc

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    Yuzuru and his four-years-older sister Saya started skating together, and at that time she was the 'girl who wanted to skate' and he was the 'little brother tagging along and doing everything that his big sister did' Saya did some competitions, but she stopped skating before entering university because she wanted to focus on her studies.
    Kanako's older sister also was a skater and did competitions, before withdrawing in 2011.
    In these cases, obviously the youngest was the most successful of the two.

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    Discounting twins where older vs. younger isn't relevant, I can think of several examples of both famous skaters and local ones I know of where one sibling is more successful.

    It does seem that if there is a disparity in results, the younger one prevails more often. I can think of several reasons why this might be true:

    *Genetic talent favoring one sibling or the other should be random as to whether the younger or the older is more talented, so environmental factors should have more impact.

    *Often both skaters start at the same time, which means the younger one starts at a younger age. If there's more of an age difference and the younger doesn't start until the older has already been skating for a few years and the younger wants to join the fun, the younger one still might be younger than the older one was when s/he started. Starting younger will usually correlate with greater success.

    *If siblings are of opposite sexes, the boy is likely to have more success because there's less competition. Going back to the previous point, because skating is often perceived as a girl's sport, it's much more likely that a younger brother will start skating (at a younger age) because his older sister skates, and less likely that a younger sister will have an older brother who is already a skater before she gets interested.

    (However, if opposite-sex siblings start at the same time and the boy is older, often they will end up as a dance or pair team. Even if the boy is not more talented, if the team needs to break up when they don't grow at a rate to make them compatible partners at higher levels, or because one of them is injured or loses interest, it will be easier for the boy to find a compatible partner elsewhere if he wants to continue.)

    There are, of course, exceptions to all of the above.

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    Gambatte, Max Aaron/"No letting off the gas pedal" golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Discounting twins where older vs. younger isn't relevant ...

    ... environmental factors should have more impact.
    The examples of the Golds and the Czisnys support your notion that environmental factors are of paramount importance. The difference in skating btwn each sister and her twin cannot be chalked up to age.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I wonder if some nourishing-type big sisters might take greater pleasure in supporting their little sister's dreams than in pursuing her own.

    When Venus and Serena Williams competed against each other Venus always held back and let Serena win if she could. (Cf. the movie "A League of Their Own.")

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    These days when a height differential is more important for pairs because of the demanding lifts, I would imagine that after a time, a brother-sister pair might have trouble excelling because since they have similar genetic makeup, they could (not always of course) be closer in height than is necessary. I often think of Tiffany and Johnny Stiegler, who were charming as kids but didn't continue to advance at the same rate. Johnnie quit partly because of injuries, but is it possible that his injuries arose because the two were just too similar in body type? As Tiffany grew, Johnnie just wasn't tall enough to maneuver her. (Older sister Stephanie skated with John Zimmerman at that time, and they had an easier time of it.)

    This is an interesting question! Of the siblings who weren't partners, the only ones who come to mind who achieved the same goals were Hayes and David Jenkins. Oh, and one tragic set of sibs: Laurence Owen (national singles champion) and Maribel Owen (national pairs champion), who both perished in the 1961 plane crash. Had they survived, I doubt Maribel would have continued to equal Laurence, because at that time American ladies were among the class of the field, whereas our pairs were not held in such high international regard.

    Can anyone think of anyone else?

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    Michal Brezina has a little sister who skates, she won Czech nationals in 2012 but has only limited international experience and hasn't made it out of qualifying round at Europeans or Worlds.

    Yasmin Siraj has an older sister Leila who did skate, maybe still does. I know she never qualified for Nationals but I'm not sure if she ever made it to Sectionals. I think she's 4 years older than Yasmin, and Yasmin started skating at 2 because of her sister. So the younger sibling doing better follows suit in this case.

    Morgan and Mariah Bell. So far Mariah has been more successful and shows a lot more potential, but idk if she started skating at a much younger age than Morgan, I think they are 3 or 4 years apart in age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    Yuzuru and his four-years-older sister Saya started skating together, and at that time she was the 'girl who wanted to skate' and he was the 'little brother tagging along and doing everything that his big sister did' Saya did some competitions, but she stopped skating before entering university because she wanted to focus on her studies.
    .
    I believe Brian Joubert started skating "via" his sister, as well (I don't know their respective ages) - and I wonder how often that happens? That a boy begins figure skating because his sister is skating?

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    I have also seen this in many instances at lower levels. My younger sister is a more accomplished skater than I am.

    This is a bit (or a lot, lol) far-fetched, but the eldest sibling seems to be the more conservative. The younger ones seems to be more carefree/extroverts/"wild"; as in, less afraid of jumping. Younger children do have less fear, so learning new jumps comes easier and fear doesn't present as much of an obstacle.

    The younger one may also get opportunities the older one didn't get. For example, they may start competiting at a younger age, because they begin competing at the same time as the older subling, even if it's a different level. They may get private coaching earlier etc. Parents learn from the first child and can apply those lessons to their second child. Older children pave the way for the younger ones.

    And as for Sarah & Emily Hughes, Sarah may be the elder of her and Emily, but she is not the eldest child. I believe Sarah's older siblings skated as well, although I have no idea how far they got.

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