Figure Skating Fan
I am so moved by your post. I know I requested that people not make this thread about whether or not Qing Pang has an ED since none of us knows, but for you to share your personal experiences with anorexia is not only appropriate, IMO, but a beautiful act of courage and education.
I've seen everything and more that Doggygirl described. During a time in my early performing years, all I thought about was food and how not to eat it. Fortunately and probably only by luck or genetics or who knows, I never snapped, as Doggygirl so aptly put it. But I certainly could have.
I think of the many dancers I've worked with over 30 years and to a lesser extent, the figure skaters over the last 12 whose bodies and minds have been permanently damaged by ED. Some of them had an ED for only a year or less, Worst of all, I think of the ones who died from their ED--fortunately only a few--all of whom were getting the best medical and psychiatric treatment available at the time, including all the dancers and skaters I've worked with, I hope this will help those who may be wondering, "What's with this chick? Why is she writing a zillion-word length post on a skater's weight?" understand the intense feelings I have for the subject.
All I can say, Doggygirl, is thank you. I know people will be helped by all your posts about your experience with ED. I have countless "case studies" of dancers and fewer of figure skaters I could write about, but nothing compares to hearing it first hand from someone who has experienced an ED and is still suffering from its effects. Your capacity for self-analysis and honesty is remarkable. There's no way of knowing if your back and possible other physical problems are related to the ED, though there's virtually no doubt that your continued psychological issues with food are related to the period when you "snapped." To me, they both involve decades if not life-long suffering (though I very much hope it's not life-long) and that's too high a price to pay, IMO, even for an Olympic gold medal.
I'm so impressed with your response to my post. First of all, thank you for taking the time to read it. I know GS isn't school, but sometimes lengthy explanations full of medical facts are warranted. It would have been easy for someone to say, "She's just trying to baffle us with bull____," and blow off my comments. But the fact that you kept an open mind and that you're even willing to translate the post and send it to Hongbo Zhao, who can share it with Yao Bin speaks volumes about the positive nature of your character. I completely agree that it's well worth it to take some precaution just in case. Well said, too.
Also, thank you for clarifying what you meant by "to make my point that Pang is just thin." As I know myself all too well, when writing these posts, what so often sounds perfectly clear to you as you're writing it often doesn't sound that way to others. I do understant now that it was simply your point, not a conclusion, and one that you came to by reasoning and not just jumping to it. by any means, and as I mentioned in my post I believe that I came to the point by reasoning not just jump to it.
Given the information you have, I have no reason not to believe you communicate directly with Hongbo Zhao. Please share any responses any of them might have on this thread. I know it's a lot of work with all the translating. I have one request for a question: Could you ask Hongbo Zhao if he/they have any photos that are either already online or can be scanned in of Qing Pang from between 1993 and 1998? If not, perhaps Hongbo can recall about what she weighed back then or even if he recalls if she's lost 10 to 15 pounds or more--of course in terms of jins.
Just for the edification of myself and others, what is the factor to convert pounds into jins, i.e., 1 lb. multiplied or divided by what number equals X jins.
Also, regarding Xue Shen, she is a perfect example to me of athletic thinness that is healthy. Her body looks good, in fact great, in fact incredible, in fact incredibly gorgeous! And even though I know she must diet to maintain that weight, from everything I can see in terms of her body, it's reasonable dieting necessary to compete in her sport. I see a big difference between Xue Shen's thinness and Qing Pang's, which is why I have concern for Qing Pang.
One last request: When you do contact Hongbo Zhao, please tell him that he and Xue Shen have countless fans in NA who absolutely love their skating. I know for myself, while of course I'm enormously impressed with their athletic skills--the throw jumps, split triple twist, lifts, etc.--I'm even more impressed with the great respect, high regard, and even what I'll call love they so obviously have for each other. By love don't mean romantic--if there is that, it's privae--but rather love of one's partner that comes from over a decade of training and competing together through all the hardships and triumphs they've shared. I was moved to tears by both their '03 and '04 Worlds free program performances, and after almost 40 years of watching figure skating, I can count on one hand the number of times a skating performance has moved me to tears. For myself and I know many, many others, Shen and Zhao are truly special and one of the most magnificent pair teams ever.
I hope that doesn't sound over-the-top. It's just that I'll probably never get another chance to tell Shen and Zhao how I, and I know others, feel about them. I hope you don't mind conveying that message.
By the way, I know I and I'm sure the other NA posters are incredibly impressed with your command of English! That goes for the other Asian and Asian-American posters who speak more than one language, too. I had two years of high school and two years of college Spanish and I so greatly regret not keeping up with it. On a good day I can get out, "Como esta?" without five minutes of trying to remember, lol. So when I read or hear someone with such great command of more than one language I want to give them much
Thanks again for your response, Hongligl. It means a lot to me.
P.S. A common saying in NA is, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bull____." I'd be interested to hear how that translates into Chinese.
I too really appreciate your thoughtful posts on this topic. To me, one of the most wonderful opportunities that comes with the internet is the chance to get to know people all over the world, make new friends, and also learn more about all the cultural similarities and differences we have.
I enjoyed reading about Bin Yao in the book The Second Mark. I have high admiration for his determination when he was a skater, and also his great success as a coach. As RGirl mentioned, it is so awesome that you have a communication line to him and to skaters such and Pang / Tong and Shen / Zhao. I love watching both of these pairs. I too was moved to tears by Shen / Zhao's performances on more than one occassion. I hope they know how very many fans they have the world over.
It is wonderful that you are reading about all this - both the medical information and the personal experience - without judgement This problem is very real among people in all walks of life. Here in the US, even though much is known these days about ED's, and it's a more widely discussed problem than it was 20 years ago, it's still a problem that is often ignored or swept under the rug when it hits close to home. I applaud your efforts to help bring the dangers of ED's to light in China.
Here's to the health of all figure skaters!
Last edited by Doggygirl; 03-05-2005 at 12:11 PM.
Thanks so much to Rgirl and Doggygirl for this extremely educational and enlightening thread. I'm learning so much about this topic, which I have be wondering about recently, in regard to young skaters in training for competitions. I did a "google search" on jin and came up with this site which explains almost every type of weight measurement conversion for the jin.
Thanks for doing this research. Math is not my strong suit, so do I understand this correctly? 1 pound = (rounded) 1.1 jin? Just curious.
I'm glad you are finding this thread educational. I realize that we are all here to share our enjoyment of figure skating - not necessarily to discuss "heavy" topics. But every once in awhile, it seems to make sense to post about more serious stuff.
The following are general comments in response to a number of different posts along the way for whatever it's worth.
It's so important for people to understand that once an ED kicks into full gear, the solution is no where CLOSE to being as simple as saying "OK, now you can eat more." Or even "OK, now I ORDER you to eat more." Once your mind crosses a fine line where food becomes your mortal enemy, that would be like saying "OK, I now want you to go marry a terrorist" or something extreme like that. It's not a simple matter of following a directive from a parent, coach, friend, doctor, etc.
Back when I suffered from this, believe me. My Mom CRIED BUCKETS of tears over what was physically happening to me. She begged. She pleaded. She ordered. She knew something was wrong, she just didn't have a name for it. It is a mental sickness where all of that begging, pleading and ordering only motivated me to get more clever about hiding what I wasn't eating.
What I experienced happened long before this illness was understood in any widely known medical or psychological way. So I'm not sure what the current recommended diagnosis and treatment paths are, or how effective they are. (RGirl?????) But my guess is, the threat of being "kicked out" of your sport or training program wouldn't make any difference in terms of solving the problem for the individual.
Just more random info.. Thanks for listening.
That's true, I remembered my days back in china boys and girls don't talke to each other in high schools and even in colledges. The couple rarely show emotion publically, even after ten years moving to the state my hubbie would not hug me or just kiss me at check in public no matter how emotional he got. If you grownup in this type of enviroment long enough it is really a chanlenge to break out your mental set to express the 'chemistry' as well as S/Z do today. That's why I more appreciate the way they express themselves on ice cuz I knew how hard they had been working on this area to achieve the romantic performances they give out today.
Originally Posted by hongligl
The contributions made to this thread by so many are simply outstanding. I mean that very sincerely, and this is a fine example of the informative, mature and fullfilling threads we can create (v. the boring gushing, bashing and sniping threads). Thanks everybody!
But, I would like to simply say, with all speculations aside. Both Pang and Tong, both of them, have been seen over the past two years to lose a significant amount of weight, she more so than he. I have seen them live and I do recognize the weight loss in her leg muscles, one can clearly see her ribs through her back, the wasting of the temporal muscles of the head, and the prominence of the maxillary and mandibular bones seen in cachexia.
He is also very thin with a surprisingly thin upper body and thin legs.
Qing Pang may or may not have anorexia nervosa, but she may be carrying other diagnoses including:
1. Cachexia - the wasting syndrome from malnutrition or disease (e.g. infections <HIV, TB>, cancers, heart disease, etc.).
2. Amenorrhea - probably secondary and common in female athletes.
3. Malnutrition - athletes burn more energy and have higher basal metabolic rates, so they need more calories than a typical person and activity level. They need more food than what is typical, not less.
4. Anemia - iron deficiency through a lack of intake via meats or leafy green vegetables could lead to anemia and weakness and poor stamina and a pallor of constitution.
These diagnoses may be debated as being present by making factual observations and applying standard scientific principles to the situation. Pragmatically speaking, the girl is wasting away in front of our eyes to some degree for whatever reason.
My guess is that she is under the care of some kind of medical team, and that the problem is well known by the important people, as it is an obvious issue. The way it is not mentioned too much in the media by credable sources is a sign of discretion in handling this type of somewhat inflammatory, provocative topic. It seems in line to me for the Chinese to be very discrete about this type of thing.
They have many athletes in the Oympic arena in many sports. The Chinese have begun to experience the health related issues of westernization (increased heart disease incidence, particularly in women, a rise in certain cancers) and the athletes will go through what North American and European gymnasts, etc. went through (Christie Henrich, Nadia Comaneci, Kathy Rigby, Kathy Johnson Clark, Kristie Phillips to name only a few). This type of problem has occurred for years in the west, and is possibly now developing there, but handled in a much different way, especially publicly.
Only the blind could not see the wasting away of Qing Pang. Everyone here should line up their tapes of them from as early as you can to now. It is obvious and disturbing to see. He is also very skinny, but looks stable in size.
That's really the long and short of it: Qing Pang is wasting away.
Last edited by ChiSk8Fan; 03-05-2005 at 06:29 PM.
All those diagonises you have, unless you are their doctor or have personal contact with them. How could possible you know they are suffering those disease?
Believe it or not, in general chinese ppl more open with their disease (if there is any) than comman US ppl. They are not that 'privacy' in term of salary, personal health problem, etc. Just like 'Pang would say she chew food but not swallow it' openly. I don't think Pang and Shen are the only femal skaters at the worlds doing special diet to control weight. But only them come out say so. You don't hear any NA femal skaters come out saying so (except Michelle said once in a tv special that she has to eat certain ways). If they had the same cultural influence like here, they should learn long time ago to keep their mouth shut.
Regarding the pounds to jin conversion, it's one jin equals 1.1 pounds, and not as you posted. One jin also equals 0.5 kilograms.
Don't feel badly about being mathmatically challenged, LOL, so am I. So I had my husband check the conversion listing to be sure I wasn't confused, and he's the one who confirmed the data.
It might be the language barrier at work here, but the mention of those POSSIBLE diagnoses which COULD be present based on OBSERVATIONS of the subject is meant to describe in better detail what can, and can not be debated.
Originally Posted by mzheng
We can debate as to whether or not Pang is losing a significant amount of weight and is wasting away to some degree (the cachexia), but we can not debate accurately whether or not she has an Eating Disorder.
If we can agree that she is wasting, we can speculate as to what other health related problems people with wasting usually have are present also. Then we can mention malnutrition, loss of menstrual cycle and low blood counts (which can lead to weakness, fatigue, etc.).
My whole point is that if we take the time to locate our tapes of this team over the years and watch them back to back to back, it is disturbing. Doing it several times, each time focusing on a different body part (like the legs and thighs, her face and head, or her back and ribs), is quite pursuasive and seems like evidence of wasting, particularly in her.
I was happy to read and discuss the level of discretion the media and people in general would have in response to topics such as these. It helps me understand overall cultural points of view much better.
But if others would do a tape analysis such as I have done, I think my posts could stimulate further, factually and observationally based discussion without having to mention Eating Disorders at all.
Rgirl and Doggygirl, thank you for the appreciation and compliment. . My respect goes to you girls, too. I believe, as skating fans, all we want is to wish the skaters we love and skaters in general, who bring us so much joy and happyness, well. I'm so happy to get to know you girls better. As Doggygirl said, the internet is a wonderful thing(I paraphrased it)
I will definately pass your message about Shen/Zhao and BinYao to them, and I promise to bring their feedback here if I get any. They must be very happy to hear that. They know they have fans in NA, but it must be nice to hear fans say it directly. Thanks.
Regarding the discussion of weight and info about ED as well as other harmful behaviors, I would like to wait after the World to pass it to them. One reason is that personally I'm very busy right now (I have an exam coming right when the World starts), and it takes a bit time to summarize all the info and translate it. It is not an urgent issue to me anyway, I really don't think anybody is in danger and need rescue. The reason I volunteered to do it is for precaution. Besides, I don't want to distract them from preparation for the World, and I really doubt if they have time to read it right now.
1jin=1.1 lb. Xue Shen is now 88 jin (or 97 lbs) according to her website.
As for your request of Pang's photo, I don't think I would bring that up with Zhao. I would feel that I put her into a position of scrutiny which invades her pravicy and even when the motivation is good, it might hurt her feelings.
After I read Doggygirl's description about how she tried to make an false impression to people around her that she was eating by using napkins and so on, I'm completely relieved regarding the quoted Pang's mentioning about "not swallowing". I remembered I read it somewhere too. I remember that it was like once she wanted to control her diet, and the food was so tempting that she chew some to satisfy her taste buds without actually swallowing it if my memory is correct. So it was not like that she hates food and the food becomes her enemy, nor was she tryng to give people false impression that she was eating. She actually talked about it herself. (Mzheng, I suspect it was bragging for sacrifice she made for the sport too , part of the culture?)
Rgirl, I forgot to mention that when I talked about the height and distance Pang gets in throw jumps and twist, I was trying to say that the impact of landing these moves is enormous that it takes strong bones to do them.
Bin Yao is a very talented person. It was mentioned in The Second Marks that Yao studied biology and physics etc very hard to develop a plan to train his altheletes. I guess his method must have been a scientic one as his pairs has exceptionally long successful career (for Shen/Zhao and Pang/Tong, both about 10 years in international competition) without serious injury. You see in China, there was no alternative pairs Yao could go, what we see in competition was pretty much what China has at home. There were about less than ten pairs (I think it was 7) in the entire Chines pair history up to the time of Zhang/Zang and Ding/Ren. Pay attention, this is the number of all who ever trained for pairs. Yao also works really hard to follow relative info about this sport. He's English was not bad.
Talked too much.
Hi ChiSk8Fan and Hongligl
ChiSk8Fan, thank you for adding your observations and additional medical information to this topic. I'm sure there are medical situations other than ED's that can cause the same symptoms of malnutrition. I just don't know what they are. There is one example I can think of, but it's from the Dog world but might happen in people too. A friend of mine has a German Shepherd Dog that from birth, was not able to absorb all the nutrients from food due to a physical inability to produce certain enzymes that digest certain nutrients. I'm not a doctor or a vet, so I don't know the name of that condition. The good news is that this dog's condition was diagnosed early, and while they have to supplement the food with the missing enzymes, the dog is leading an otherwise very normal and healthy life. I realize this thread is not about dogs - I'm just showing recognition that I'm sure there can be other causes for signs of malnutrition.
On the other hand, I do strongly believe that ED's are a huge problem that lead to the symptoms you describe. So I can't promise not to mention ED's again!
Hongligl, thanks for your kind words!! I completely agree with you that sending information about ED's to your contacts is not appropriate right before Worlds. Timing is everything sometimes!! If you end up having time to just send them our best wishes for success, that would be plenty.
Where and what are you studying? Best wishes on your exam. My school days are MANY years behind me know, and I don't miss taking tests at all.
Figure Skating Fan
I agree with Rgirl. Sharing your experiences DG is very brave from you, because it shows that you want people to know not only the effects of ED's, but that you can regain control on your life, and also it is a way of educating people about the things that can come from ED's. You are very brave!
Originally Posted by Rgirl
Originally Posted by Rgirl
Oh Hongligl, please tell Xue and Hongbo that they have a fan in Panama (very likely I'm the only one here, figure skating is not popular here), and that they have changed for me the way I thought of pair skating. I had never cried watching a skating program until I saw them do that beautiful Turandot in Washington. I cried out of their beautiful skating. Please let them know that.
Oh Rgirl, I know what you mean about knowing languages. My mother language is spanish, but you get english classes throught out elementary and secondary school. I had some french courses but I cannot speak it well, I can understand just a few things here and there. I would like to learn japanes though (I know a few words only):
Thanks for your kind words Hikaru. Like I said before, if a shared experience helps even one person out there, then it's worth it.
Originally Posted by Hikaru
I don't think I mentioned this in previous posts, but I'm TOTALLY with you and RGirl about the value of multiple languages. Like RGirl, I had a little study in other languages during school (a couple years of French in grade school, and a couple years of German in high school) but never took it far enough to actually learn how to converse. If there is ONE language I would love to at least be comfortable with on a conversational level it is Spanish. There are so many people now in the US where Spanish is their first language. I know too few words in too many languages LOL! I'll try to think of how to say something simple, and often I end up with a German word, a French word, and a Spanish word which doesn't make sense to anyone!! At least I always remember how to ask for a cold beer in Spanish. But I CAN'T ask where the bathroom is in Spanish, which can be a problem if you're drinking beer.
Figure Skating Fan
that would REALLY be a problem when drinking beer! if you want to say "Excuse me, where is the bathroom", in spanish it would be like "Disculpe, donde esta el baño?". Now you can drink beer lol! My french is like bad, if I read something I might understand it better. I was in a catholic school, so at least I'll be able to pray in french. I like japanese, a friedn of mine was taking a course so she would lend me her notes, and I learned to write a little in Hiragana and Katakana, and I know how to say My Name is... (Watashi wa Alejandra desu). It is cool to be able to talk to someone else in their language. My favorite subject at school was, of course, English.
Originally Posted by Doggygirl