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Thread: Things Non-Fans Say About Figure Skating

  1. #31
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    I think there's more to it than semantic quibbling, Mathman. Some other commenters have suggested something like this, but I think the main problem many people have in recognizing FS as a sport is that "sport" is culturally-coded as masculine/male (at least in the US, but probably most other places too), while FS is culturally-coded as feminine/female...
    To tell the truth it has never bothered me that figure skating is seen primarily as a little girl's sport, and boys are allowed to participate, too, if they want to. This is just pay-back for the ninety-nine percent of other sports where it is the other way around.

    A male figure skater is not subject to as much derision as is the occasional hefty girl who wants to try out for the school (boys) football team.

    Well, maybe he is. At least in the case of the lady footballer the guys on the other team can try to show some gallantry and not hit her so hard.

    Anyway, I think it is the "displaying one's body for the approval of the audience" aspect that puts figure skating into the camp of the traditional feminine role.

  2. #32
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    Unless it involves a ball in some manner, most sports journalists don’t consider figure skating a sport. During an Olympic year these journalists, who know nothing about figure skating, come out of the woodwork to inhabit the media room at skating events and write articles similar to that of the NBC researcher who wrote the error-riddled “Skaters to Follow” article.

  3. #33
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    ^ That is so true. I almost feel sorry for golf commentators, basketball commentators, etc., who at the end of their segment have to somehow get their mouths around, "Figure skating next" -- like they are being forced to eat a nasty bug.

  4. #34
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    Things Non-Fans Say About Figure Skating??

    - that figure skating is not a sport, that it is for women only
    - that figure skating is boring
    - that figure skating is corrupt after the whole salt lake fiasco
    - that figure skating is only a recreational activity
    - that figure skating is too exclusive and pro-rich

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antiloquy View Post
    "Is Michelle Kwan going to skate in this competition?"
    My dad used to ask me this all the time

    In fact, I was watching NBC's coverage of one of the GP events last season and Mae Berenice Meite was skating, and he asked "isn't she the one who used to do the backflips and land on one foot?"

  6. #36
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    ^ That is an interesting list. All sports are primarily recreational, with only a tiny fraction of participants ever aspiring to elite competitive levels. Figure skating is as expensive hobby. There [i]is[/is] concern about the integrity of the judging, etc.

    Boring? No, that one's wrong.

    Is figure skating a sport? I think the worst mistake figure skating could make would be to try to become "more like other sports." If figure skating were just like other sports, why would we need figure skating? Instead we should celebrate what distinguishes figure skating from mere sport.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElleluvsL View Post
    In fact, I was watching NBC's coverage of one of the GP events last season and Mae Berenice Meite was skating, and he asked "isn't she the one who used to do the backflips and land on one foot?"

    One thing that makes me so angry is that a lot of people believe that FS is not physically demanding! A friend of mine once told me (I had just said that I was so tired because of the runthroughs): "Well, but you don't need a lot of stamina to be a good skater, right? It's just about grace, elegance, dancing..." No, skaters go to the gym just because they like it as an additional activity

  8. #38
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    I loved it when Battle of the Blades aired! Seeing hockey players facing figure skating was priceless! So many of these "tough guys" admitted that they had no idea how hard it was and seeing them led by petite but tough females (Sale, Langlois, Underhill, etc.) was wonderful. I went to a few of the shows live and saw all these men in hockey jackets attending, looking rather puzzled by the whole experience. It was great!

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    "Why do they fall, if they practice so much?"

    Because basketball players make 100% of their free throws, tennis players never make unforced errors, and quarterbacks/football players make all their passes.

    Somehow there's a "perfectionist" mentality when it comes to figure skaters because they're performing, but when other athletes make errors they're given leeway since the difficulty of the sport will make errors inevitable.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by KKonas View Post
    During an Olympic year these journalists, who know nothing about figure skating, come out of the woodwork to inhabit the media room at skating events and write articles similar to that of the NBC researcher who wrote the error-riddled “Skaters to Follow” article.
    I understand the point that you are trying to make, KKonas, and I don't disagree.

    But in fairness to the NBC Olympics researchers, who are known for immersing themselves in their material:
    They were not responsible for the error-riddled article, as I noted in the other thread.
    The faulty article was written by an NBC "web producer" -- whose past tweets seemed to acknowledge that he is new this year to the figure skating beat.

    If we were to be so lucky that the NBC researchers wrote all the figure skating articles, I would expect their quality to be good.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by FSGMT View Post

    One thing that makes me so angry is that a lot of people believe that FS is not physically demanding! A friend of mine once told me (I had just said that I was so tired because of the runthroughs): "Well, but you don't need a lot of stamina to be a good skater, right? It's just about grace, elegance, dancing..." No, skaters go to the gym just because they like it as an additional activity
    And of course, since skaters can glide, it has to be easy, right?

    Years ago, I remember that a far smarter sports writer wrote about an endurance test given to several athletes from different sports, including Randy Gardner. (Remember that in addition to being a skater, Gardner wasn't even very tall.) I seem to recall that Gardner beat out all the others. Well, think about it. He had to balance another person over his head, sometimes on one hand, while skating. Yeah, no muscles needed here.

  12. #42
    Adiós Melon's Avatar
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    "What's figure skating?"

  13. #43
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    Yeah, my favourite has always been, "Where is <skater/team who retired two or three Olympic quadrenniums ago>? What, they're not even competing? Well, this can't be a very important competition, then!"

    Also, the idea that whether someone falls or doesn't fall is the sole determinant of how good they are. Someone who goes out and doubles most of her jumps and perhaps manages a triple toe loop or two should be higher ranked than someone who completes a lot of rather difficult content but falls once. I remember watching Tara Lipinski for the first time at an exhibition when I was 12 years old, and telling my mother how precocious she was considered to be and how she'd likely be a future champion. My mother looked puzzled and said, "But she fell, didn't she?" (She had fallen once on a triple flip.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    A very interesting article, Spikydurian. I always thought of Sonia Henie as making the sport less ladylike, because she was the first (I think) to wear shorter skirts and do athletic tricks. I see how this author's idea applies, though. Once women turned out to be really good at a sport (and keep in mind, it's done to music, which to some mentalities has to be questionable)...it couldn't be suitable for guys.
    Yeah, and also, once women turn out to be really good at a sport, and once it becomes strongly associated with female stars, it comes to be seen as some pansy foo-foo thing anyone can do. That's the difference between something being thought of as "for boys" and something being thought of as "for girls." The former is still thought to be difficult and competitive; the latter is often not. (I'm no sociologist, but academics and writers have spoken of a similar thing in the world of work, that once women enter a certain career in large numbers it becomes devalued in general.)

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    And of course, since skaters can glide, it has to be easy, right?

    Years ago, I remember that a far smarter sports writer wrote about an endurance test given to several athletes from different sports, including Randy Gardner. (Remember that in addition to being a skater, Gardner wasn't even very tall.) I seem to recall that Gardner beat out all the others. Well, think about it. He had to balance another person over his head, sometimes on one hand, while skating. Yeah, no muscles needed here.
    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    "Why do they fall, if they practice so much?"

    Because basketball players make 100% of their free throws, tennis players never make unforced errors, and quarterbacks/football players make all their passes.

    Somehow there's a "perfectionist" mentality when it comes to figure skaters because they're performing, but when other athletes make errors they're given leeway since the difficulty of the sport will make errors inevitable.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachmaninoff View Post
    Yeah, and also, once women turn out to be really good at a sport, and once it becomes strongly associated with female stars, it comes to be seen as some pansy foo-foo thing anyone can do. That's the difference between something being thought of as "for boys" and something being thought of as "for girls." The former is still thought to be difficult and competitive; the latter is often not. (I'm no sociologist, but academics and writers have spoken of a similar thing in the world of work, that once women enter a certain career in large numbers it becomes devalued in general.)
    That is an interesting point. It is certainly true with professions like teaching and secretarial work.

    About figure skating, though, I don't think it was ever a big-time sport before Sonia Henie. She glamorized it, "feminized" it, went to Hollywood and made movies about it. This ushered in the golden age of figure skating, when a lot of ladies tried to win some sort of amateur title (like the world championship) so they could sign on with a show like Ice Follies or Ice Capades.

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