Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 46

Thread: "SC's season of change" article on USFSA

  1. #1
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    263

    Post "SC's season of change" article on USFSA

    A bit of everything: making the podium at Worlds, switch to Robin Wagner, shingles, touring with COI, etc.

    http://www.usfsa.org/Story.asp?id=25353&type=news

  2. #2
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    20,185
    What I noticed this past season is that she is much less smug than before, and I prefer a more humbled Sasha. And she did skate better.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Custom Woman
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,770
    Originally posted by Joesitz
    What I noticed this past season is that she is much less smug than before, and I prefer a more humbled Sasha. And she did skate better.
    Joe
    I truly never get why people think Sasha was ever smug and now I get it even less when people (NOT JUST YOU, JOE) post something like, "I noticed this past season that Sasha is much less smug than before."

    What has Sasha ever done or said that made her seem smug? Here's what she just said in the USFSA article: "I never thought about skipping Worlds," Cohen said. "I'm too competitive, [and] I always want to be the best." Isn't that the same kind of thing she's said since she first "came on the scene" or am I missing something? She seems to me to have matured, but pretty much just like most skaters do between about ages 15 and 20, more or less.

    Normally, I wouldn't touch one of these kinds of comments because they just end up in overly argumentative threads, but I've been reading and watching a lot about attitudes towards different races and genders lately because it's the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education, plus a caucasion friend of mine from college has been visiting recently and since she and her husband adopted an Asian baby girl about six years ago and a caucasian baby boy about 11 years ago, the subject of stereotypes in race and gender has been all around me.

    I just could not help but notice during Worlds how when Brian Joubert kept saying, "I want to be World champion and then Olympic champion," at least the US commentators, specifically the men, would enthusiastically proclaim, "It's so refreshing to hear a skater come right out and say what he means instead of giving the usual, 'I just skate for the love of it' kind of answer." And much praise was given to Johnny Weir for placing 5th in his very first senior Worlds.

    In contrast, Sasha says she's competitive and aggressive by nature and that she wants to be the best. Maybe I missed it, but I've never heard any of the US commentators say, "It's so refreshing to hear a skater come right out and say what she means instead of giving the usual, 'I just skate for the love of it' kind of answer." When Sasha placed 4th at her first Olympics and then Worlds, which also happened to be her first full senior season, not only was there no praise, the inference was that she had disappointed.

    As for the "smug" label, I know this is like sticking my hand into boiling water, but in a PBS documentary about the 60-year anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, a study was cited in which the results of a poll of teachers at US public, integrated high schools were discussed. They had some standard for integration, ie, x% Caucasian, x% Black, x% Latino, x% Asian, etc. These are just the main results, which compared how teachers perceived Caucasians, Blacks, Asians, and Latinas (each, of course, as a group). Asian girls were perceived by teachers, whether they taught them or not, as demure, humble, mysterious, most intelligent of all the groups, and "good at playing the violin" (yep, that was one of them). Black and Latino girls were perceived as being the most aggressive and least intelligent, with Black girls being "good at sports like basketball" and Latina girls most likely to get pregnant while an unwed young teen. Caucasian girls were perceived as less aggressive than Blacks and Latinas, as having low self-esteem, not mysterious, and more intelligent than Blacks and Latinas but less so than Asian girls.

    I made the comment about bringing this up is like sticking my hand in a pot of boiling water because so often any discussion of Sasha becomes something antagonistic involving Michelle and vice versa. I very much hope that doesn't happen, because I don't see it that way at all, even though the comment that got me thinking about this was the "smug" comment about Sasha. So how about if we try to think about skaters as members of groups and our attitudes towards those groups rather than individual skaters and how we feel about them, just for now, ie, Caucasian ladies skaters such as North American, Russian, and European vs. Asian skaters such as Japanese and Chinese, even though in order to make any sense, we'll have to discuss "what if" possibilities in terms of specific skaters.

    For example, what if a skater with the exact same personality, skating style, and abilities as Sasha skated for the US but were Asian instead of Caucasian? Would she have ever seemed "smug?" What if Irina Slutskaya, same personality, same skating, same everything, were Asian, skating for, say, China? Do you think you would perceive her any differently? Same thing with skaters such as Sarah Hughes, Tara Lipinski, Angela Nikodinov, Maria Butryskaya, Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding, Carolina Kostner, Julia Sebestyen, etc.? If they were Asian representing either China and Japan, do you think you would see them differently?

    All these examples are same personality, skating, medals won, things said, everything, just a different ethnicity and perhaps froma different country. What if Midori Ito were Caucasian skating for the US? Would her personality seem demure and humble or competitive and aggressive? Same thing with Shizuka Arawkawa, Fumie Suguri, Miki Ando, Yukina Ota, etc.?

    And what about Asian-American skaters such as Michelle Kwan, AP McDonough, Ye Bin Mok, and Naomi Nari Nam? If they were Caucasian and represented the US, same personalities, same everything, to you think you would see them differently?
    Rgirl
    PS Thanks for the link, Registered.
    Last edited by Rgirl; 05-22-2004 at 02:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    28,330
    I think you have posed an impossible challenge, Rgirl. I think that the feelings we have about race, with which we pre-judge everyone we meet, are so deeply ingrained that we can't really play the what-if game with honesty. I do, however, think that we have different preconceptions about Asian-Americans in contrast with people who are actually from China and Japan (same with African-Americans vs. Africans).

    About Sasha, I think that she has (of course) acquired more mature talents of articulating her aspirations, hopes and goals, and maybe this translates into a perception of being "less smug." Take this quote from the article, for instance, about competing against MK:

    "There is definitely a rivalry," Cohen said. "It's hard to describe. Skaters come and go, but she has always been there. She was there when I was 6, and she's there now. I am a perfectionist — I always want to win, always want to do my best. Like I said it's hard to put into words, but it's more special when I place ahead of Michelle (Kwan)."

    A less mature wording of the same sentiment might well have drawn criticism.

    Mathman

    PS. Sarah Hughes plays the violin, so that theory's shot.
    Last edited by Mathman; 05-20-2004 at 06:41 AM.

  5. #5
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    20,185
    Whoa Rgirl - Smug is not all that bad a word. Perhaps I should have used another adjective. My perception of Sasha after she returned to figure skating from a bum back was not the sweetest thing I had seen at that great Cleveland Nats. There were many posters finding her somewhat affectatious I saw that too, but as part of her personality. I used say at that time that shw was feisty. There was one incident, I can't remember whether if was Fumie or Vikka, when asked about her chances in an upcoming competition said - 'well, I've already beaten her'. Not really nice to say, imo, but she is a kid and to answer so coarsely - not that the statement wasn't true - could be due to immaturity. I prefer to hear something like Yags answered once, that he has to work to win because there is Plush, Tim and Takeshi, (and he had beaten all of them before).

    Also her attitude in the K&C area would be quite demonstrative. If the scores were good, she beamed, if not, she would storm out of the area. Again, that is what I noticed.

    Fast forward to TT, and that attitude began to change. She now said that she is concentrating on skating her best (and not trying to beat anyone in particular). that to me was a big change in her attitude and it also showed me a better skater.

    Rgirl - I know you come to Sasha's defence constantly but trust me, my prior statements were not intended as a bash. It was my perception of Sasha in thepast season. She is a better skater.

    I stand by my perception. I have perceptions of every skater.

    Joe

  6. #6
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    south florida
    Posts
    1,197
    Joe,
    I happen to also agree with your perception of Sasha. As a younger skater, I could only stand to see her on the ice, since her behavior off the ice always struck me as excessively immature (and smug). It's nice to see that she is growing up.

  7. #7
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Silicon Valley
    Posts
    159

    SC's season of change....

    Rgirl,

    Without joining you in that "boiling pot" because the subject of Sasha Cohen always brings out the rabid fans of other skaters....I totally agree with most of your post.

    I absolutely agree that Sasha is somehow perceived as "smug" by many on this and other forums. And I also believe that she would be viewed differently if she were Asian.

    Interesting isn't it.....the more politically correct we are forced to be... it seems the more predjudice we become.

    Joesitz,

    "I prefer to hear something like Yags answered once, that he has to work to win because there is Plush, Tim and Takeshi, (and he had beaten all of them before)."

    After reading your post, I wonder why you want figureskaters to fit into your set ideal. If figureskaters were all the same, what a boring sport it would become. Do you really think Yag's statement makes him seem humble?

    Also, like so many have stated in the past.....judgments are made regarding skater's personalities that are very unfair. Most of us do not know these people personally and are judging them by interviews and statements made sometimes under the worse circumstances. How many times have you said something that you wish you could take back or re-phrase?

    In my opinion, Sasha is the most bashed skater ever.

    Dizzy

  8. #8
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    7,570
    Joe, I think the incident you refer to concerned Vika, in the 2002-2003 season. Sasha had beaten Vika at Skate Canada. Then, at Cup of Russia, Vika turned the tables and beat Sasha (Irina was 3rd).

    When asked about it after the competition, Sasha said she was really surprised that Vika had won, because she (Sasha) had beaten Vika before. Sasha took a lot of flak over that, because it came off as a major put-down of Vika.

    This season, she's been more circumspect with her remarks to reporters. But then she got more negative press when she blatantly chomped gum while on the podium at medal ceremonies in Canada and France during the Grand Prix.

  9. #9
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    747

    Re: SC's season of change....

    Originally posted by dizzydi


    Without joining you in that "boiling pot" because the subject of Sasha Cohen always brings out the rabid fans of other skaters....I totally agree with most of your post.
    Actually, I think the probability of drawing in rabid Sasha fans is exceedingly high too. Maybe even higher

    I also believe that she would be viewed differently if she were Asian.
    No rocket science here. If she is Asian she will be viewed differently, (IMO slight difference) and there is a chance that she will be viewed as even more ____ (fill in the blanks), or less _____ (fill in the blanks).

    From my experience of watching Sasha over the years about > 98% the time she said the same things like any other American skaters. On doing real bad on jr. world 2000, "I am glad I skated the best for myself" On doing less than expected performances in nationals 2003 "Just want to go home and work and train hard" Recently on switching to Robin, " I have fun, so much fun, fun...., fun, fun"

    A Sasha fan (who is an Asian, or at least has a Chinese last name) stated here in GS (prior edition) that an Asian American skater who left his/her coach as an act of betrayal, in his atttempt to bash this Asian American skater, he actually used the words "knifing the coach in the back" (his exact words). Imagine that being applied to Sasha


    Over the years I have read countless # of times here at GS that an Asian American skater was dissed as "fake, artificial" just because she has been consistenlty polite, display good sportsmanship, and say that she loves competing for the fun of it. LOL, the same people who were criticizing the Asian American skater were praising Sasha to high heavens for being, "honest, and truthful about her feelings when Sasha told everyone about how much fun it was for her to compete, to train...."

    Last edited by rtureck; 05-20-2004 at 02:17 PM.

  10. #10
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    263
    Originally posted by chuckm
    Joe, I think the incident you refer to concerned Vika, in the 2002-2003 season. Sasha had beaten Vika at Skate Canada. Then, at Cup of Russia, Vika turned the tables and beat Sasha (Irina was 3rd).

    When asked about it after the competition, Sasha said she was really surprised that Vika had won, because she (Sasha) had beaten Vika before. Sasha took a lot of flak over that, because it came off as a major put-down of Vika.

    This season, she's been more circumspect with her remarks to reporters. But then she got more negative press when she blatantly chomped gum while on the podium at medal ceremonies in Canada and France during the Grand Prix.
    Actually, Sasha's comment at the CoR competition was the one of a surprise. She said, "But my marks were higher," this WAS one of the most "mysterious" judging calls in the recent skating history, and even Christine Brennan (who's usually unsympathetic towards SC, wrote about that questionable placement).

    I must have missed any kind of "press coverage" regarding a "chomping incident." I've stumbled upon couple of threads on the skating boards, but that was it. Is that what you refer to as a "negative press"?

    We're talking about ONE such incident, correct? I would agree of course, if chewing gum on the podium would be a kind of behavior, repeatedly displayed by Sasha, that it'll serve as a prove of her supposed "blatant smugness." But did it ever accrued to you, that she could have simply forget to spit that gum out, before she was called to the medal ceremony? That's a reasonable possibility, so why not give Sasha Cohen a benefit of a doubt here?

  11. #11
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    263
    Originally posted by Joesitz

    Also her attitude in the K&C area would be quite demonstrative. If the scores were good, she beamed, if not, she would storm out of the area. Again, that is what I noticed.

    Fast forward to TT, and that attitude began to change. She now said that she is concentrating on skating her best (and not trying to beat anyone in particular). that to me was a big change in her attitude and it also showed me a better skater.

    Joe
    Cohen have stated in the numerous interviews, that she wasn't 100% into skating prior to switching to Tarasova. She said that she perceived her training and competing as mostly "fun" activity, and even thought of quitting the amateur scene, if she'd capture the Olympic gold in 2002. Only after World championship 02 she made a decision to look for better coaching and training conditions, and changed her attitude towards skating from favorite hobby, to a full time career.

    IMO Sasha's path in sports is quite unusual for the modern times, when kids get pushed from the tender age by their ambitious parents, rather than they're allowed to get big enough to come up with their own decisions. And of course, there are those ambitious young champions, like Lipinsky, who, I believed declared that she'll one day to become an Olympic champion at the ripe ol' age of 3.

  12. #12
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Of course people respond differently based on "the image". I find it amusing and somewhat annoying how many Americans view all Soviet athletes as some kind of robots. Certainly, lady skaters are under special scrutiny, since they represent a largely outdated ideal of a delicate lady (even the name "lady" suggests this).

    What I find sadder in Sasha's interviews is that an obviously intelligest young lady of 19 lists "Harry Potter" as her 1 favorite book. Call me elitist, but this is an answer I would expect from someone a little younger...

  13. #13
    Kwan's vodka dealer VIETgrlTerifa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Newark
    Posts
    470
    OT:
    Harry Potter is better than you think...seriously...don't look at me that way...

    I consider myself pretty elitist as well, of course more with films than literature, but the Harry Potter book series is actually very good (much better and deeper than the movies).

    I know they look childish and non-stimulating for adults, but, believe me, JK Rowling has an excellent (if at times sloppy) style of writing that really pulls you in and gets you involved.
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 05-20-2004 at 04:05 PM.

  14. #14
    Master Procrastinator
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Michigan, USA!
    Posts
    918
    Is this article part of a year-end review of all the skaters like they did last year? I remember all the fuss last year when Sasha's article was the last of the ladies to be reviewed. People thought the USFSA was sending a message that they saved the best for last.

    OT: As an English teacher in my 30s who has a Masters Degree, and who considers herself to be an elitist in many educational respects, I consider the Harry Potter books to be some of my favorites.

  15. #15
    Go NJ Devils
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,700
    Originally posted by registered
    She said that she perceived her training and competing as mostly "fun" activity, and even thought of quitting the amateur scene, if she'd capture the Olympic gold in 2002.
    I've always thought that was because Cohen has a lot of other interests and spoke of wanting to have a career in choreography and costume/clothing design.

    Cohen reminds me of this brilliant recorder player who won the New Jersey Symphony Young Artist's contest, IIRC sometime in the 80's, at the tender age of about 14. At the time he didn't know if he'd continue to focus on music or pursue a career as a software developer. Too many choices!

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. USFSA Article - Day 2
    By SailorGalaxia518 in forum 2005-06 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-29-2005, 02:34 PM
  2. My List of Skating Tapes for Sale!
    By G MAN in forum 2012-13 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-21-2005, 06:58 PM
  3. Year in Review: Sasha Cohen
    By lil_icesk8er915 in forum 2003-04 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 61
    Last Post: 09-09-2003, 05:56 PM
  4. New article on Michelle's plans for the season
    By LAVENDER in forum 2002-03 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-12-2003, 04:54 AM
  5. USFSA Article On Angela N.- concerning her injury
    By RED DOG45 in forum 2002-03 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-04-2003, 03:51 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •