That's an excellent point to consider. While Americans' "sink or swim" situation is frustrating and difficult, at least no one outright tells a skater or a pair that there's no place for them in the sport anymore. Another plus for the Western approach is that unlike a place such as China, where skaters must often live at a sports facility, here skaters get to have a home life and can sometimes modify a practice schedule to fit other obligations, such as school. Also, if a skater ends up with an especially harsh coach, the skater can generally fire the coach and find another one. If you're training with "the" national coach, what choice do you have, except to quit skating altogether?
Originally Posted by tulosai
Those constraints might make sense when a skater is totally subsidized, because of course the people that pay the piper get to call the tune. But there are downsides to that approach. I guess the ideal is a smaller country like Japan with a mix of subsidy and sponsorship.
Bona Fide Member
Just to throw some numbers out there, if you (a singles skater) won both of your Grand Prix events, plus the Grand Prix final, plus Europeans or Four Continents, plus Worlds, you would net US$ 126,000 in prize money. Subtract 90,000 for expenses, and your annual salary was 36,000.