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Thread: Hyped too soon?

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    Hyped too soon?

    Taking from the thread "Poised to break through but didn't"

    Some skaters burst onto the scene as teenagers (almost always teenage girls) and are immediately hyped to be a big star destined for greatness. We see times where they live up to it, like Michelle Kwan, Tara Lipinski, Sarah Hughes, etc.

    However, there are other times where these girls don't live up to our expectations. Caroline Zhang, Mirai Nagasu and Rachel Flatt seem to have fizzed. Cynthia Phaneuf won her first Canadian title when she just turned 16, and the SKate Canada title the next year, but struggled since then.

    In Canada, many up and coming male skaters were expected to be The Next One, yet it wasn't until 2005 when Jeffrey Buttle won silver that we had a strong contender, and he was succeeded by Patrick Chan, a male teen skating prodigy, though he came on his potential pretty quickly

    It makes me wonder about the Russian teen sensations like Julia Lipnitskaia and Elena Radionova. Both are extremely talented but at this point neither have hit puberty. Whent hey do it remains to be seen what happens.

    Do skaters get hyped too early? And does it hurt them? I'd say yes. The skaters who have had more long term success are the ones who aren't hyped until after they reach their potential, and by this time, they're in their 20s, like Joannie Rochette or Ashley Wagner.

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    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    In the US in ladies skating - oh boy, do they. I remember about 8 years ago people being shocked that I wasn't up on the current Junior skaters, so my first nationals I tried to follow all the novice and junior skaters to figure it all out. My favorites were rarely the ones being hyped as the next Kwan/Cohen/Lipinski/star. Thankfully a few make it through who weren't hyped but should've been. I think the hype is the biggest problem skaters jumping from junior to senior face. That's a lot of pressure and expectation before they've even proven themselves.

    Kinda like the hype of any second (or third) generation skater faces basically from the time they lace up skates.

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    - * - blue_idealist's Avatar
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    Elizaveta Tuktamysheva immediately comes to mind...

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    Custom Title spikydurian's Avatar
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    I think it's normal for fans to hype the 'next skating star' and we all look forward to seeing emerging talents particularly if there is a drought in the current batch. But like all 'hyping', time can only tell whether the emerging skater has the all-round goods and will acquire the skills to remain strongly competitive. Sometimes, luck may play a part. Imagine skating during the era of Michelle Kwan. One has to be super good and consistent to beat her.

    I do agree, coppertop, that hyping may hurt the skater in question especially if expectations couldn't be met due to many reasons. Also, some fans who expect too much from their skaters, may not be able to accept that every skater is human. Disappointment can turn ugly as I have seen on skating forums.

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    People need to read between the lines, I think certain hypes are warranted when you see exciting talents and they should be celebrated how ever possible, but there are certain things you can't predict like growth spurts, injuries, lack of quality guidance and sometimes federation politics that can impact the outcome. I have been guilty of hyping some youngsters myself, but I do think to a large extent they have delivered to their potential. These include Hanyu, Julia, Liza, Li Zijun and I am really excited about Karen Chen these past years, but she is out of the JGPF due to an injured ankle. (I really think she is the future of US figure skating if she can survive growth spurt and injury.)

    What I am against are the need to disregard them completely when they fail to deliver. Young people deserve the space to learn from their mistakes, make recovery, have room for improvement in their artistry and skating skills without being labelled xxx. That is why I think skaters like Julia, Gracie, Liza should deserve several chances to prove themselves without being bashed or negativity when they are obviously trying (although sometimes failing but surely it is expected as part of the natural learning/growing process?).

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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    … What I am against are the need to disregard them completely when they fail to deliver. Young people deserve the space to learn from their mistakes, make recovery, have room for improvement in their artistry and skating skills without being labelled xxx. That is why I think skaters like Julia, Gracie, Liza should deserve several chances to prove themselves without being bashed or negativity when they are obviously trying (although sometimes failing but surely it is expected as part of the natural learning/growing process?).
    Agree especially with this point. The "harm" from the "hype" is more often the secondary damage to young athletes when - after they have done something superlative as young skaters, they go through what EVERY single skater and athlete goes through. Ups and Downs. Nobody wins ALL the time or is perfect and amazing all the time. Fans are so fickle and so ready to dump on young skaters if they have a "sophomore slump" and that is so disappointing to see.

    Plus, hyped ones always become the biggest targets (e.g., on the boards) but also with the media, when they "disappoint" like they cannot ever then make a mistake. That's more damaging and a bigger shame than the hyping IMO

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    This is a pet peeve of mine in skating, particularly Ladies. Hyping any female skater pre-puberty, or even pre-end of puberty, is a fool's errand. Plus, it isn't fair to the skaters. A formerly stick figure 13-year-old (and I was one) who could easily rotate triple jumps (I wasn't one), should not have to hear from the time that her body develops until the time she quits skating that she never lived up to her potential. Nor should she have to try to artificially keep her 13-year-old body in order to meet some standard set for her before a natural (and normal and healthy) growing process occurred. It's like remarking to 55 year old women that they can't have children anymore and then endlessly debating what happened. No kidding, a stage of life has passed. Ain't no one going to SAFELY do anything about it.

    No hype until the body changes is a good rule of thumb. I refuse to even have an opinion of a skater before that time.

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    Custom Title FSGMT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    Elizaveta Tuktamysheva immediately comes to mind...
    Well, she's had difficult competitions recently, but she won the European Bronze medal less than a year ago, and she scored 120+ in the FS a couple of times this season (including a Bronze Medal at FT in a very tough competition)... She's not the 2011 elizaveta anymore, but she's not Caroline Zhang!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    People need to read between the lines, I think certain hypes are warranted when you see exciting talents and they should be celebrated how ever possible, but there are certain things you can't predict like growth spurts, injuries, lack of quality guidance and sometimes federation politics that can impact the outcome. I have been guilty of hyping some youngsters myself, but I do think to a large extent they have delivered to their potential. These include Hanyu, Julia, Liza, Li Zijun and I am really excited about Karen Chen these past years, but she is out of the JGPF due to an injured ankle. (I really think she is the future of US figure skating if she can survive growth spurt and injury.)
    Oh, it's definitely normal to hype of a young, exciting skater. I remember when Patrick Chan appeared at Canadians for the first time at 15, and the commentators talked about how talented he was, how much potential he had and how he could be the future for Men's figure skating in Canada, etc. I was excited to see him develop, and he has lived up to it. He got a lot of hype in 2009-10 but was injured that season so didn't skate particularly well and finished 5th. He didn't skate terribly either, especially considering the lack of mileage on his programs and his injuries, plus it was his first Olympics and he was still fairly new. I think people forgot he was only 19 and was still human. It's especially normal if there's a drought. I think that's the thing about the youngsters in Russia. Russia was in a drought after Irina Slutskaya retired, they didn't even have a woman in the top ten. So now there are these teenage wunderkinds who can get them back on top

    What I am against are the need to disregard them completely when they fail to deliver. Young people deserve the space to learn from their mistakes, make recovery, have room for improvement in their artistry and skating skills without being labelled xxx. That is why I think skaters like Julia, Gracie, Liza should deserve several chances to prove themselves without being bashed or negativity when they are obviously trying (although sometimes failing but surely it is expected as part of the natural learning/growing process?)
    Definitely agreed! Gracie is always being counted out and she's in her second year of international competition. So she's not consistently wowing. So what? She's inexperienced still and is still learning about big competitions. Give her a chance. Liza is being counted out against Julia Lipnitskaia and Anna Pogrilaya and Elena Radionova. Two of those three haven't hit puberty. Liza is adjusting. At almost 17, she's past it and should just retire? Wow. It makes me wonder if being a teenage wonder is really that good when you're not allowed to be human.

    When a girl hits puberty and develops a more mature body, once they adjust, it can actually be good, then they get more speed and power, bigger jumps, and more maturity. They're not going to stay little girls forever. Just look at Michelle Kwan, it wasn't until she started growing and maturing that she became the big force. When she struggled, the media was like "She has struggled ALL YEAR!". She was only 16, and underwent body changes. If Tara Lipinski stayed on, would she have remained as consistent once she hit puberty? How do you expect skaters to reach their potential if you count them out as soon as they falter? Even when Sandhu was always inconsistent, I'd refuse to give up on him, though watching him be all or nothing so much did get frustrating

    No hype until the body changes is a good rule of thumb. I refuse to even have an opinion of a skater before that time.
    This is a good rule. I may think a skater has potential and can be great, but I've learned by now not to say it WILL happen.

    "She has the potential to be a World Champion" about a young teenager is fine

    "She's a future World Champion" is counting your chickens a bit too much.

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    Its too much to call Tuk like a Zhang
    sure Tuk has had a rough season and probably wont make the Olympics
    but she isnt Zhang namely she has solid technique so she can land her jumps even with her weight issues now

    Zhang had terrible technique ( her notorious ice stabs and mule kicks ) and frequent underrotater

    some may not have lived up to the hype but going to the Olympics Julia, Gracie even to some extent Adelina
    have lived up to some of their potential this quad.

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    Completely agree that all these expectations are a two-sided coin. As I said in another thread, young skaters are so often overhyped when they first arrive on the scene, then dismissed entirely when they struggle later on. There's also the tendency (and I've been guilty of it myself) to dismiss older skaters who've been on the scene awhile and haven't really broken through.

    Hyped or not hyped, most successful junior skaters will not become world or Olympic medalists. It's just math. In juniors, people are constantly moving up to senior and making room for other talented juniors, then in seniors they stay around for a much longer time and all of them have to fight it out with the top skaters of their country and the world. So even if nothing goes majorly wrong in a skater's development (injuries, major struggles with body changes, etc.) they are still facing some tough odds. Just another reason why it's not wise to crown any young skater a future champion.

    For the most part, I don't get overly excited about new skaters on the scene anymore, although the odd time I can't help myself (as in Jason Brown, most recently).

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    skating philosopher Mrs. P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachmaninoff View Post
    Completely agree that all these expectations are a two-sided coin. As I said in another thread, young skaters are so often overhyped when they first arrive on the scene, then dismissed entirely when they struggle later on. There's also the tendency (and I've been guilty of it myself) to dismiss older skaters who've been on the scene awhile and haven't really broken through.

    Hyped or not hyped, most successful junior skaters will not become world or Olympic medalists. It's just math. In juniors, people are constantly moving up to senior and making room for other talented juniors, then in seniors they stay around for a much longer time and all of them have to fight it out with the top skaters of their country and the world. So even if nothing goes majorly wrong in a skater's development (injuries, major struggles with body changes, etc.) they are still facing some tough odds. Just another reason why it's not wise to crown any young skater a future champion.

    For the most part, I don't get overly excited about new skaters on the scene anymore, although the odd time I can't help myself (as in Jason Brown, most recently).
    It's really fun to see Jason get so many new fans considering a year ago people wondered if he would make it in seniors since he was still struggling to get a 3A at the time. He's actually an example of someone that was dismissed entirely (aside from his small and loyal hyping bandwagon ) because of his less difficult technical content though he had the non-jump/PCS qualities that fans are desiring out of Gracie and other young skaters right now. I'm glad he has the 3A now and made a nice splash on the GP. (Though I understand that without a 3A why you wouldn't put big hopes one someone in a field where multiple quads are the strategy of the day).

    I am one to always appreciate where the skater is now and not obsess too much over their future prospects. And if they do grow and evolve, it's fun to look back and see that evolution. For example, while everyone is excited about Jason having a 3A, what is just as noteworthy to me is how much more flexible he has gotten over time. Here was his camel spin from JGP Brisbane in Aug. 2011. Here it was at Trophee Eric Bompard.

    You're right about the math. Besides the fact that some will never make it in seniors despite successful junior careers, some just take a while for things to gel at that level. Out of the Jr. Worlds class of 2006 in Ice Dance, obviously Davis and White and Virtue and Moir did quite well. But Cappellini and Lanotte, who finished 4th at that same junior worlds, didn't come into form until, I'd say, the 2011-2012 season.

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    Rach - totally agree about Jason. It's difficult NOT to get excited about his future when he keeps improving and growing his presence on the ice. And you made a very good point about seniors staying around for a long time and not really giving opportunities to the younger skaters coming up. The strong will survive!

    But I disagree that Mirai is fizzled or whatever word was used. After watching her this weekend I wouldn't count her out just yet....and she's still young. The skater I think is overhyped is Christina Gao! I think she's a good skater but not a great skater. If she wins anything it's going to be because others have lost it.

    I do think it's human nature to "follow" a skater and have high expectations for them. This happens in every sport - not just figure skating. But there are factors such as age, weight, puberty, loss of focus, coaching changes, money challenges, and just plain bad luck that can affect a skater.

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    Jason Brown's Riverdance is a lot of fun. Saw it at TEB. And it is fun to look back, I do that on Youtube, I watch videos of skaters in their early years. Nostalgia never hurt anyone.

    Good point about Junior success vs Senior Success.

    It's true we dismiss older skaters and get caught up in the fresh young talent, though that doesn't mean an older skater is hopeless. Look at Akiko Suzuki, who won her first world medal at 27. A fresh-faced teen is always exciting, but people should remember these kids are still kids and need time and experience.

    Mira Leung was another one who got a lot of hype early on. She was very consistent in her early career, and made the Olympic team in 2006. In 2009, she was off the National Team. She withdrew after the short program in Canadians in 2010, and that was the last heard of her. Though consistent and a good competitior her overall skating skills were a bit weak and her jumping technique was a bit awkward.

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noskates View Post
    And you made a very good point about seniors staying around for a long time and not really giving opportunities to the younger skaters coming up. The strong will survive!
    The younger skaters have to look at it as a case of "if you want to be the best, you have to BEAT the best". That's why I always when people were saying Kwan should retire to "make way" for the younger skaters. If you are still at the top of your game (and finishing on international podiums) and your heart and health are still in it, why retire?!

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