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Thread: World Renowned Figure Skaters

  1. #46
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Welcome, coraczek. Thanks for joining us. I like your list!

  2. #47
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    I would guess that Yuna Kim or Mao Asada might have more recognition than Kwan or Witt - only because Asia is so large and they are most recent. So they would reach most people but world wide I can see Witt, deserved or not,(I think Sonja Henjie so long ago that would limit her appeal), for ice dance Torivll and Dean, pairs Gordeeva and Grinkov and men I am not sure anyone really because skating is one sport where the women's even tis premiere. Maybe Plushenko, Hamilton or BOitano though there was something about Boitano that was rather "flat" - he never stoodout really

  3. #48
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    ^I think Kwan is very appreciated in Asia (specifically, China, the most populous country) because of her Chinese descent. I've heard of her even back when I was living in China.

    Your post raises an interesting question about men in figure skating. Is figure skating seen as a "girl" sport all around the world? It's certainly seen that way in the US, but do Russia (who has more decorated male skaters than female), other European countries, or Japan perceive it that way? Even here in Canada, I get the sense that we (our media) value male figure skaters comparatively more than the US, probably because our men have been more successful than our ladies.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatedreamer View Post
    The line about Dorothy Hamill from Friends made me

    Re: TV shows, there's an episode of M*A*S*H where the 4077th is watching a Sonja Henie film. At one point, Col. Potter says something like "I think this is where she does a triple axel." I got all bent out of shape and started yelling (sort of) at the TV: "Henie didn't even do double axels!"

    And something tells me you're right about Yulia...
    I remember when Witt showed up at the end of Jerry Maguire, people in the theatre knew exactly who she was, let out a little collective gasp and there was a slight murmur of amusement.

    I still find it amusing that up here in Canada some casual skating fans who tuned into Sochi actually asked "so are Joannie Rochette and Michelle Kwan going head-to-head against the Japanese or Korean teenager [Mao, who is already in her 20s]?" I didn't know if I was going to laugh or cry or both. Seems culturally we are stuck in the 90s. But if CBC keeps playing Kurt Browning skating specials during the Christmas holidays I'll take it!

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandpiper View Post
    Your post raises an interesting question about men in figure skating. Is figure skating seen as a "girl" sport all around the world? It's certainly seen that way in the US, but do Russia (who has more decorated male skaters than female), other European countries, or Japan perceive it that way?
    It would be interesting to take a poll and see how many Americans recognize the names Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton, versus Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming. Also Evan Lysacek versus Sarah Hughes.

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    ^Hamilton, Boitano, and Lysacek are more current than Hamill, Fleming, and Hughes though. Are there better options for match-ups?

    Maybe someone living in the States would be willing to conduct street interviews on the topic? (If someone does, I'll be willing to ask people about Joannie Rochette vs. Patrick Chan here in Canada. ).

  7. #52
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    I was thinking of a poll something like this. Here is a list of athletes. What sport is each associated with.

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Marina Navrotalova
    3. Scott Hamilton, etc.

    I think most Americans would get Sonje Henie (even if they knew nothing else about her), Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Michelle Kwan. I am not sure about Janet Lynn, Katarina Witt, Dick Button and the great Kurt Browning. No for Alexei Yagudin and Evgeny Plushenko. No for Mao Asada and Yuna Kim.

    At least I think this would be true of old people taking the poll.
    Last edited by Mathman; 07-10-2014 at 07:37 PM.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I was thinking of a poll something like this. Here is a list of athletes. What sport is each associated with.

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Marina Navrotalova
    3. Scott Hamilton, etc.

    I think most Americans would get Sonje Henie (even if they knew nothing else about her), Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Michelle Kwan. I am not sure about Janet Lynn, Katarina Witt, Dick Button and the great Kurt Browning. No for Alexei Yagudin and Evgeny Plushenko. No for Mao Asada and Yuna Kim.

    At least I think this would be true of old people taking the poll.
    Since I will count myself among the old folks taking the poll (great idea), I tend to agree. No Kurt Browning. No Janet Lynn.

    I would like to think "outsiders" would know Brian Boitano, but I'm not sure. Plushy? The average American will know who he is? Dream on. Same with any Japanese or Korean skater.

    Of the "newer" skaters, for non-fans, I think they would associate Johnny Weir with skating. Maybe. And that's it. Sad, but true.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    It would be interesting to take a poll and see how many Americans recognize the names Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton, versus Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming. Also Evan Lysacek versus Sarah Hughes.
    Despite their gold medals, I doubt the average American would even know who Evan and Sarah are... Sarah is sometimes remembered as "the American who beat Michelle Kwan," which despite its troubling concept of what it means to be "American," what it means is they are meshing her and Tara Lipinski...if they remember that Kwan didn't win in 2002 at all.

    At my old job, we actually did a poll once on skating's popularity in 2003/2004ish and almost 73% of responders thought that Michelle Kwan had three OGM...because they'd confused her with Kristi Y.

    The most "popular" skaters were Tonya and Nancy, with most feeling that Tonya got a rough deal. We were all surprised about that... but that had more to do with her life story, never really getting her stuff together, and you gotta admit any interview done with her, she always comes across as a victim of bad parenting, bad marriage, bad management and a corrupt sport that likes to tear young women apart. People, esp women, identify with Tonya. The psychology is fascinating.

    You don't even want to know the shock and awe around the question of men skaters... but based on my experience, I'd feel comfortable saying that Brian Boitano is recognized for South Park and Scott Hamilton is the most popular American male skater, but more for his cancer and backflips. Christmas specials help out a lot. Johnny is recognized for more off-ice antics and Evan doesn't even resonate. USFSA should be ashamed of themselves...smh

  10. #55
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    Well, there's three kinds of "bias," if you will:

    1) Nationalistic bias: Will know skaters from your own country more than others. In countries where skating is more popular, the effect is less pronounced (Russia, and maybe Japan?).

    2) Discipline bias: Skaters from some disciplines are better known than skaters from less popular disciplines. Varies by country, I'd assume (e.g. in the US, the women are more well-known. The same might not be true in Russia).

    3) Generational bias: People of different generations recognize different skaters.

  11. #56
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    I can say that here in Italy (where figure skating is a non existent entity) the only well known skater (read as the only skater someone could name if asked) apart from Kostner, are Plushenko, Kwan, and interestingly enough Yuna Kim (because she is the only other skater other than Carolina to sometimes appear on the news papers...), some older folks also remember the existence of Witt but many have forgotten her...

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by coraczek View Post
    I've chosen skaters who I think became famous also outside figure skating world.

    Dance
    Torvill and Dean

    Pairs
    Gordeeva and Grinkov

    Ladies
    Katarina Witt

    Men
    Evgeni Plushenko
    totally agree.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by plushyfan View Post
    totally agree.
    i forgot to show this https://twitter.com/EvgeniPlushenko/...053889/photo/1 Plushy's followers live in 147 countries.

    and I agree with you Sandpiper there are many kinds of "bias,"

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post
    The most "popular" skaters were Tonya and Nancy, with most feeling that Tonya got a rough deal. We were all surprised about that... but that had more to do with her life story, never really getting her stuff together, and you gotta admit any interview done with her, she always comes across as a victim of bad parenting, bad marriage, bad management and a corrupt sport that likes to tear young women apart. People, esp women, identify with Tonya. The psychology is fascinating.
    I don't know that Tonya & Nancy were popular (in the sense that "popular" means well-liked) but they sure were famous. Interesting to hear that women identify w/ Tonya. I have great sympathy for her because of her background and will always feel sad that she never seemed to be able to focus and use her tremendous talent. But actually identify w/ her? Mmmm...not so much. There comes a time when you have to take responsibility for your actions and she's never really done that.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post

    The most "popular" skaters were Tonya and Nancy, with most feeling that Tonya got a rough deal. We were all surprised about that... but that had more to do with her life story, never really getting her stuff together, and you gotta admit any interview done with her, she always comes across as a victim of bad parenting, bad marriage, bad management and a corrupt sport that likes to tear young women apart. People, esp women, identify with Tonya. The psychology is fascinating.
    I've seen several feminist essays casting Tonya as the heroine because she was the "strong" one who wouldn't fit into the princess mold. These are generally people who know nothing about figure skating, so they fit the square peg of Tonya into the round hole of the woman who would not compromise her essential nature to conform to the accepted norm. As a feminist myself, I always see the flaw in this particular situation used as an example. It's like saying that Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde) should be a feminist icon of the 1930s instead of that polite establishment figure Eleanor Roosevelt with her elitist accent….not keeping in mind the actual deeds of each of these women. (Not that I'm comparing Nancy Kerrigan to Eleanor Roosevelt, mind you!). Many of the writers cast Nancy as the prom queen from the suburbs, not even realizing that she was working class all the way. Whenever a friend of mine comes up with this argument, I'm very patient and explain what I know about skating and the events as they took place.

    But I agree that besides Michelle Kwan and Dorothy Hamill, and maybe one or two others, Nancy and Tonya are doubtless the most famous female skaters to non-skate-fan Americans. They probably don't even know the last names; the girls are just "Nancy and Tonya." Never individual. Men? I don't think most Americans would know any male skaters at this point, except maybe Johnny for other reasons. Scott's been out of the picture in terms of active skaters for too long. And alas, despite the fact that Kurt Browning has my vote for "skate god for life," most Americans probably wouldn't know him. Their loss! Maybe now Meryl and Charlie will become household words. I sure hope so, for their sakes and for the sake of skating.

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