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Thread: Do most skaters end up in debt after their careers are over?

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    Do most skaters end up in debt after their careers are over?

    Since the show skating circuit seems to be almost non-existent (at least in the states) and skating lessons from famous coaches is expensive as all get out, how do skaters stay financially solvent after their skating careers are over? I feel like Yuna or Mao...ok, I understand how they will be fine due to all their endorsements. But for 99% of skaters (even good ones like Ashley Wagner and Adam Rippon), it's not like anyone is really paying them to be figure skaters...in fact, they are the ones paying boatloads of money to their coaches to win tournaments that don't really net them any money. I also assume a lot of these skaters, like many pro athletes, are not college educated. So...I'm wondering how they pay back all that coaching money with nothing but trophies and not being college educated to show for it.

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    In most cases, the Mummy and Daddy trust fund covers skating expenses.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brightphoton View Post
    In most cases, the Mummy and Daddy trust fund covers skating expenses.
    economic disparity for the win
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 10-24-2013 at 09:51 AM. Reason: white fonts are a GS no no

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    economic disparity for the win
    Figure skating mimics life
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 10-24-2013 at 09:49 AM. Reason: Using white letters is a GS no no.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bump View Post
    Since the show skating circuit seems to be almost non-existent (at least in the states) and skating lessons from famous coaches is expensive as all get out, how do skaters stay financially solvent after their skating careers are over? I feel like Yuna or Mao...ok, I understand how they will be fine due to all their endorsements. But for 99% of skaters (even good ones like Ashley Wagner and Adam Rippon), it's not like anyone is really paying them to be figure skaters...in fact, they are the ones paying boatloads of money to their coaches to win tournaments that don't really net them any money. I also assume a lot of these skaters, like many pro athletes, are not college educated. So...I'm wondering how they pay back all that coaching money with nothing but trophies and not being college educated to show for it.
    I'm not sure if you're referring to elite international competitors or to lower level skaters.

    Anyway, a few things:
    1. In many countries, skating is not as expensive as it is in the US, and/or the federation covers at least some a skater's expenses past a certain stage. I doubt someone like Brian Joubert, who trains in Poitiers and doesn't work with famous (read: expensive) coaches has the sort of expenses a top American skater does.

    2. There's prize money (the WTT is especially lucrative) and shows - not in the US so much, but you have shows in Russia, the Swiss-run Art On Ice, Artistry on Ice in China, a bunch of Japanese shows and tours, Yu-Na Kim's ATS shows for those lucky/good enough to be invited, Denis Ten headlined two big shows in Kazakhstan with a lot of skaters, etc.

    3. Elite skaters don't usually go this route, but a lot of skaters sign on with cruise ships and tours and make some money from that.

    4. I don't know why you'd assume most skaters are not educated. Some aren't, but many go to school or at least get coaching diplomas while they compete. The Universiade is an event for college/university students; active skaters who have medalled there over the years include Pechalat/Bourzat (and Pechalat recently finished her Master's degree, I believe), Daisuke Takahashi, Nobunari Oda, Akiko Suzuki, Valentina Marchaei, Kiira Korpi and Cappellini/Lanotte. Tomas Verner said in a recent interview that he'll be starting his MBA. Alban Preaubert got a Master's in management while an active skater and now works in finance. In the US, you also have a lot of educated skaters: Czisny is a college graduate, Flatt is at Stanford, and many Michigan-based ice dancers attend the University of Michigan at least part-time (D/W, the Shibutanis).

    5. I don't think it's accurate to say that most pro athletes are not educated, either, since NFL players and some NBA and MLB players have at least some college education. Not sure about the NHL.

    6. After skating careers end, so do the expenses. Assuming parents, and later federations, prize money and shows covered at least some of the costs, skaters can move on to coaching or other pursuits with no more debt than many American college graduates.

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    It's a question worth asking, though.

    I imagine that some mid-level skaters end up with a lot of debt, or at least with the family's finances seriously eroded. People who come in fourth or fifth or lower at Nationals year after year until they realize that they have to give it up might have some financial trouble, at least for a few years. I presume this is probably true in the U.S.; I don't know what other countries' systems are. I imagine gymnastics (all those little girls dreaming of becoming Gabrielle Douglas or Nadia Comaneci) is probably similar.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Yes-a lot of college hockey players go on to the pros. Examples from University of Vermont:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermont...9;s_ice_hockey

    Considering that Vermont is a relatively small school with a middle of the road Division 1 program that has never won the NCAA's in hockey, although it has appeared in them 5 times, and that it has as alumni:

    The University of Vermont has produced 14 National Hockey League (NHL) players in its history. Alumni currently in the NHL include Viktor Stålberg '09 (Nashville Predators), Torrey Mitchell '07 (Minnesota Wild), Patrick Sharp '02 (Chicago Blackhawks), Éric Perrin '97 (Atlanta Thrashers), Martin St. Louis '97 (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Tim Thomas '97 (Boston Bruins). Thomas, St. Louis, Perrin, Sharp, Stålberg, and former NHL All-Star John LeClair '91 have won the Stanley Cup in their careers.

    In 2004, St. Louis was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player, the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer, the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league's most outstanding player in the regular season as judged by the members of the NHL Players Association, and the Bud Light Plus/Minus award. Thomas has won the Vezina Trophy twice as the NHL's top goaltender in 2009 and 2011, and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2011. He also holds the NHL record for best single season save percentage. UVM is the only NCAA program in history to count alumni who have won both the Hart Trophy and the Vezina Trophy, as well as the only NCAA program to generate an Art Ross winner.

    A two-time Olympian, LeClair was elected to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 after a standout 16-year NHL career where he scored 406 goals. He was a two-time NHL First Team All-Star and twice won the Bud Light Plus/Minus Award. Other Catamounts who were U.S. Olympians were Thomas and former NHL defenseman Aaron Miller. St. Louis skated for Canada in the 2006 Olympics.
    A big time school, like University of Michigan, has 37 current alumni playing in the NHL.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michiga...Current_roster

    But they don't have Martin St. Louis or Tim Thomas

    As to figure skaters, Kim Navarro & Brent Bommentre are currently doing shows with Ice Theatre of NY. We don't hear much about Ice Theatre, and it's nice to know that it is still a going concern.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    As to figure skaters, Kim Navarro & Brent Bommentre are currently doing shows with Ice Theatre of NY. We don't hear much about Ice Theatre, and it's nice to know that it is still a going concern.
    Ice theatre doesn't pay much, though. I don't know details, but the venue expenses, including rehearsals (ice time), are high compared to other live performing arts, and the audiences are limited, I imagine that even if there is grant support more of it goes to expenses than to salaries for the performers.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Ann Patrice McDonough has been doing Royal Caribbean cruises for some time. Scott Smith gave an informative interview in which he mentioned that the skaters are part of the crew. When they are not performing they are performing other shipboard duties, shmoozing the passengers, and manning the lifeboats. He says that he enjoyed learning pairs choreography, because most of the acts are couples or small group numbers. There is also Disney on Ice.

    This is a far cry from the 1950s when skaters tried to win amateur titles just so they could land a gig with Ice Capades or Ice Follies. Janet Lynn was the highest paid woman athlete in the world when she signed with Ice Capades for 1.5 million dollars.

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