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Thread: Professional Skating...

  1. #1

    0 Not allowed!

    Professional Skating...

    in one of the other folders I noticed where someone mentioned that he/she didn't know what "turning pro" meant... I can see how the lines have grayed in the last 10 years.... and I think it's a shame personally.

    Not all professional shows have to be silly and over the top like they tended to be when television ratings were at their apex...
    the reason for the sinking ratings of the pro circuit are because of a few reasons, not the least of which is the fairly new idea of eligibility ...
    people no longer have to wait for the pro tours to see their favorite competitive skaters on a more regular basis and in major shows.... that's good and all for the eligible skater's pocket book, but what about the professionals in all of this?
    right now it would seem that all is still ok with some of the shows and all, but that's only for the very VERY elite skaters (past olympic and world champions, minus VERY FEW who didn't win but medaled - like the nicole bobeks and the surya bonalys). But what about the others...? they have invested just as much time and MONEY into the sport as the others, so why can't they have a forum besides coaching, etc, where they can make a living? many of these people are WONDERFUL performers!
    it is almost to where you HAVE to be in the eligible ranks to even be CONSIDERED to be in the major shows and tours.... it's becomming increasingly difficult for "older" professionals to break in....
    this is why I raised the question of michelle retiring.... the professional ranks depend on the eligible skaters making the switch to keep renewing the interest in the shows... but now that interest fades as no new major skaters are coming in and the older ones are completely retiring.
    those of you who said it was too early to send michelle into the "pasture" ( I think it was), well what about those skaters who are her same age but for some reason or other had to turn professional? are they supposed to just sit back and hang the skates up for good because there is so much hype around eligible skaters that the place where they have found themselves is no longer a viable profession?

    I have read here where most people think jumps play too large a role in skating and that the artistic side is most important.... isn't the professional circuit a place to actually SEE artistically DEVELOPED skaters? there are so many skaters that are SO wonderful without the emphasis on jumps and that's what the professional circuit focuses on.

    I believe there should definitely be a line redrawn between amateurs and professionals.... if not simply to save the eligible ranks..... there is too much money involved in the eligible circuit. Now I am certainly not against skaters being able to earn SOME funds for skating.... but the money that these children(for the most part) are pulling in is incredible.... and everyone wonders why there are such controversies with judging and pressure for skaters to do the difficult jumps and spins..... once the anty was upped for ratings and money and prestige, all remaining honesty and integrity for the most part went right out the window. you have parents and coaches entering into dubious practices in an attempt to get their children to that "golden prize"....where it used to be simply competitive it is now cut-throat....
    and everyone has noticed that when eligible skaters tour it seems to distract them from training to get ready for the next season..... (Sarah is the best example here). that's because touring is a different lifestyle that most of the teenagers involved in the sport are not yet able to handle! what teenager should be living out of a suitcase and then expect to be perfectly ready to have a very full season of competitions?? it is too much....

    So I personally believe in professional skating.....
    Does anyone else?

  2. #2

    0 Not allowed!

    Re: Professional Skating...

    At one time there were two categories in skating - the amateur ranks and the professional ranks. Even our skating coaches (when I skated) were called a "skating pro." Now there is not much distinction between the two worlds. In some ways it has been good and in some ways not. Barbara Ann Scott almost jeopardized her standings for the Olympics when she was given a yellow sports car in the 1950's as a reward for winning the world title. She had enough sense to return it. She knew the rules - in those days skaters could not earn a dime through skating or accept any kind of presents. They would be considered turning pro if they did and lose their amateur status. Things have certainly changed!

    I understand the point you are making. How can skaters tour in shows for a couple of seasons and then return to amateur competition? I don't think there are many that acutally do this. I know Yagudin is considering it; but, with his injuries only time will tell.

    Should things go back the way they were? It's hard to say. It's nice that the skaters can earn some money between seasons doing what they love. Figure skating is an expensive sport. It's even more expensive today than when I skated and staying in as a competitor takes a lot of dedication as well as money.

    I don't think other skaters suffer for lack of opportunities. They may not get the big headline that a top ranking skater gets, but there are opportunities for them in ice shows as well as coaching. Being in an ice show is not an easy life. Many skaters will tell you that. I saw Liz Manley not too long ago on a documentary and she said she was "sidelined" from the show because she gained weight. That has always been the cardinal rule with ice shows. So it's not always the case of an eligble skater taking a job from an ineligble skater. They have to live by strict rules. Some leave to have a family and a normal life.

    I think skating has come too far to go backwards. I doubt many skaters would want things the way they were in Barbara Ann Scotts' day.


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