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Thread: Hyped too soon?

  1. #16
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    By fizzle, I mean Mirai seems to have lost some momentum, but I don't thinks he's done.

    I bet people said Michelle Kwan should have retired, likely after 2002. She had every right to stick it out until Torino. It wasn't until 2005 really that she was past her peak, largely due to injury.

    Good point about youngsters beating the best, very true. Also, how many skaters medal at their first Worlds? Not many, those who do get the attention because they are more the exception than the rule. Some of the most famous skaters at their first Worlds:

    Joannie Rochette- 17th
    Tara Lipinski: 15th
    Michelle Kwan: 8th
    Irina Slutskaya: 7th
    Sarah Hughes: 7th
    Patrick Chan: 9th
    Fumie Suguri: 18th
    Sasha Cohen: 4th
    Ashley Wagner: 16th

    People want the young up-and-comers to deliver right away. It's easy to get excited over a fresh-faced fourteen year old, but when the fourteen year old is sixteen, hits puberty, and struggles to adjust people lose faith and forget she's still young. That's what I see people doing with Liza. Julia and Elena but at this point may look more consistent but time will tell.

  2. #17
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    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....

    After seeing the potential and lucky ones lose jumps and their spark after puberty I was done.

    It really hit me after seeing what it did to Caroline Zhang and then Mirai.

  3. #18
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    While I get what all these age restrictions are trying to do (and the ISU will raise the age limit to 15 at July first for the Grand Prix series), I can't help but wonder if they're hindering more than helping. If someone shows they can compete with the best in the world at 14 they should be allowed to, it's valuable experience. Though I don't think she classifies as hyped too soon, I think of Mao Asada in 2005-06, who could have easily won a medal, maybe even gold, in Torino, and when she was old enough to go to the Olympics in 2009-10, she was labouring under the pressure of the expectations. I wish they didn't close the loophole that if you won a medal at the World Juniors, you were eligible for Worlds

  4. #19
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    I don't know if someone can be overhyped if they actually delivered at some point. Mirai was the national champion, and came in 4th in the Olympics and may have had a shot for bronze if Joannie Rochette wasn't such an emotional favorite (home ice and mother's tragic heart attack). She was in first place after the short program at Worlds, then had some sort of meltdown and was never the same since. Her hype was deserved, and her fall from grace is truly remarkable. I hope she is in the midst of a comeback. I'd love to see her in Sochi, and I'm glad she's doing a program with a little more personality than those bland pieces from a few years ago.

  5. #20
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    But Mirai was also still young and inexperienced. Joannie was always considered more of a medal contender, she was the reigning World Silver Medalist, she had more experience. Mirai was probably more of an outside shot even w/o the emotional circumstances surrounding Joannie. Mirai had promise but is it fair to hype her up when she wasn't really established? She hadn't even been to Worlds. ANd that's what this topic is about, a skater may show loads of talent and promise but are still unproven. Same with Julia and Elena and the Russian youngsters, we know how good they can be but they need time to establish themselves. Sarah Hughes quietly developed in the shadows of Naomi Nari Nam and Sasha Cohen early in her career and she did better.

  6. #21
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    I think there are a couple of levels of hype. If you hype a junior who has yet to perform in the senior level, that is premature. If you hype some child who's years away from competing, that is another level of serious overhype. I'm thinking of Nathan, the young Asian-American boy who was a very big thing a couple of years ago.

    But if a skater has been in the senior level for a couple of years and actually accomplishes a national championship/nearly medals/wins a short program (Mirai), or makes the Grand Prix Finale (Caroline), I think the attention is warranted. Something went very wrong with those skaters who had so much potential.

    Another thing is bothering me. Everyone is talking about these girls going through puberty at 16 or 17 and having a growth spurt, etc. As a teacher with many years teaching in high schools, I can tell you that it is not that easy to tell the female seniors from the freshmen (with boys, it's a different story, of course). There is not usually any great growth spurt in the later teen years. Maybe just an inch or two is enough to throw everything off jumpwise, I don't know, but if these girls are really going through puberty at 17 years old, that is pretty unusual.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal View Post
    I think there are a couple of levels of hype. If you hype a junior who has yet to perform in the senior level, that is premature. If you hype some child who's years away from competing, that is another level of serious overhype. I'm thinking of Nathan, the young Asian-American boy who was a very big thing a couple of years ago.
    Emanuel Sandhu comes to mind, he was being called the Next One before he even competed in the Senior ranks. Hyping someone who hasn't even competed? Wow, that's pretty ridiculous.

    But if a skater has been in the senior level for a couple of years and actually accomplishes a national championship/nearly medals/wins a short program (Mirai), or makes the Grand Prix Finale (Caroline), I think the attention is warranted. Something went very wrong with those skaters who had so much potential.
    Point. They looked poised for great things. I know Mirai had a growth spurt and I thought someone commented on here she had another one. Excitement and attention is one thing, declaring them the future when they barely start is another. There was good reason to be excited about them, what went wrong? With Zhang, I think her technique lets her down. With Mirai, she seems to have lost momentum.

    Another thing is bothering me. Everyone is talking about these girls going through puberty at 16 or 17 and having a growth spurt, etc. As a teacher with many years teaching in high schools, I can tell you that it is not that easy to tell the female seniors from the freshmen (with boys, it's a different story, of course). There is not usually any great growth spurt in the later teen years. Maybe just an inch or two is enough to throw everything off jumpwise, I don't know, but if these girls are really going through puberty at 17 years old, that is pretty unusual.
    Yeah, that would be late to hit puberty. It looks to me like Lipnitskaia and Radionova have not yet hit puberty. Kwan had her growthspurt and body changes at 15/16. So did Cynthia Phaneuf and that's what threw her off that and injuries. Of course, looks are decieving, Tara Lipinski didn't look 15.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by coppertop1 View Post
    While I get what all these age restrictions are trying to do (and the ISU will raise the age limit to 15 at July first for the Grand Prix series), I can't help but wonder if they're hindering more than helping. If someone shows they can compete with the best in the world at 14 they should be allowed to, it's valuable experience. Though I don't think she classifies as hyped too soon, I think of Mao Asada in 2005-06, who could have easily won a medal, maybe even gold, in Torino, and when she was old enough to go to the Olympics in 2009-10, she was labouring under the pressure of the expectations. I wish they didn't close the loophole that if you won a medal at the World Juniors, you were eligible for Worlds
    I disagree. Like Frank Carroll said, those jumps are a lot easier when you have the body of a little girl. I much prefer to have actual ladies in the senior division. Just because Elena Radionova has great jumps at 14 doesn't mean she is Olympic quality. Let her mature a little more in juniors. I think the rash of little girl champions did nothing to help the sport's popularity, as little girls aren't relatable for the general public.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal View Post
    I think there are a couple of levels of hype. If you hype a junior who has yet to perform in the senior level, that is premature. If you hype some child who's years away from competing, that is another level of serious overhype. I'm thinking of Nathan, the young Asian-American boy who was a very big thing a couple of years ago.
    If you're talking about Nathan Chen, which it sounds like you are, I'll agree the early hype was a little too much, but he is still doing very well for himself. Last year, he won a Junior Grand Prix event and finished third at Nationals as a junior. This year, he's won both his Junior Grand Prix events. It still might be too early to hype him, but his results at the lower levels still suggest he has promise if he survives puberty and doesn't get hurt.

  10. #25
    I got your program components right here. Pepe Nero's Avatar
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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?).
    Yes!

    Quote Originally Posted by RobinA View Post
    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.
    This is a really good post.

    Reading through this thread, it occurred to me that almost everyone is talking about female figure skaters. There is sometimes "hype" about some male junior figure skaters, like Nathan Chen. And I suppose occasionally we see some unsustainable early success in pairs and ice dance, such as in Sui/Han and the Shibutanis. But overwhelmingly, the hype is for pre-pubescent female figure skaters.

    I am not prepared to theorize about what this says for contemporary global culture... (But I suspect it is not good. Someone should write a dissertation.)

    Most of these hyped teenage girls stumble after one season at the senior level, if they make it that far. Before long, anonymous internet commentators on sites such as GoldenSkate are telling them to retire by the time they turn 19. If they have the fortitude to persist until 24, 25, 26 years old, the chorus becomes overwhelming. But only for the women. In other words, one can't speak about the topic of this thread without acknowledging everyday, commonplace gender biases.

  11. #26
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    I think one reason why teenage girls get more attention than say, teenage boys, is because of differences in physiology. Women are more flexible, lighter and more agile, men are about raw power and strength. A girl is at her most flexible as a teenager, whereas a man doesn't develop that raw power or strength until adulthood. So when a woman's body changes and her centre of balance changes and she has to re-adjust it appears as though she's failing, and people become impatient. Just look at the comments about Liza who is only 16 and some already think she's yesterday's news compared to her younger (and not that much younger) teammates. That can't help. It's simply a case of re-adjusting, once they adjust, they'll probably be back. Michelle Kwan adjusted and was back even better, Slutskaya was discounted but came back.

    Men don't develop the strength in their core and arms until they are adults. Look at gymnastics, most women gymnasts are teenagers, the average teenage gymnast is between 16-18. The average male gymnast is in their 20s.

    Skating fans just need to remember skaters are human, and these young teenage stars are just that, teenagers. They're bodies are changing, and if their bodies haven't changed, they will. They will struggle along the way. They will falter. Name me one skater who hasn't gone through a rough period.

    If a skater has a rough year, that's life. I won't dismiss them for it. I get far more frustrated with a skater who is always inconsistent, like Sandhu or Nicole Bobek, far more than a skater who is going through an adjustment period from puberty.

  12. #27
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    Glad to hear it about Nathan Chen. IIRC, he had bone pain last year and wasn't up to his usual standard. I remember him standing next to the female junior champion (Gracie) and she towered over him! He was so cute. Hope he stays strong.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal View Post
    Glad to hear it about Nathan Chen. IIRC, he had bone pain last year and wasn't up to his usual standard. I remember him standing next to the female junior champion (Gracie) and she towered over him! He was so cute. Hope he stays strong.
    In Canada, there's Nam Nguyen, who sounds a bit like Nathan. He's only 15 and turned senior when he was 13. He definitely has talent, and time to develop it. I remember him charming everyone in 2010 when he was only 11, at the Olympic Gala.

  14. #29
    Custom Title spikydurian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero
    Reading through this thread, it occurred to me that almost everyone is talking about female figure skaters.
    Not surprising. Successful female skaters seem to attract more attention than male or pairs skaters. Maybe it's the glamour thing?

  15. #30
    Custom Title Rachmaninoff's Avatar
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    Female figure skating has always been more popular than male, at least in North America, but I think another reason they're the target of so much hype has to do with their youth, also. Many of them are competitive internationally at young ages, and that does make them media darlings and fan favourites a lot of the time. Would also be why Nathan Chen is the name people think of when you think of hyped male skaters.

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