Joy in skating | Golden Skate

Joy in skating

ladyjane

Medalist
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
A strange subject perhaps but to me the joy in skating is such an important part of everything. Seeing skaters really enjoy themselves, actually makes me happy, moves me and also is a great part of my watching experience. I am not talking about standard smiles here, but about the enjoyment of competing, the enjoyment of performing, and - of course - the reaction of the audience to a skate which might not be high level point wise but which is just wonderful. Most of us will remember Donovan Carillo in 2018: his free skate might not have been technically up to par, but the enjoyment definitely was (as was his artistry, but that's something else).

Seeing Evan Bates really enjoying his part of the Snake Dance means more to me than a stumble on a twizzle, seeing Irina Slutskaya (years ago!) managing a triple lutz triple loop and being happy about it, means so much more to me than the value in points. Donovan Carillo actually enjoying what he is doing whether it delivers points or not moves me, while Aljona and Bruno's Worlds Free Skate in 2018 was a real thumper because they were enjoying it. We can discuss whether the Skate at Worlds was better than the one at the Olympic. To me that's not the point. They enjoyed it!

What do you think? Does enjoyment play a part in your own experience or do you think the point value is it? And, no, I'm not judging anything or anyone, it's just that I feel so much happier when the skaters enjoy what they are doing and you can see that. That the programme isn't a chore but something they/he/she love to do. I hate it when skaters are unhappy or when they feel they are just doing a job (even if in reality that's the issue). Let me know. I am looking forward to responses.
 

el henry

Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Country
United-States
This.
Yes.
Yes.
YES.

It is why I watch figure skating. If you can't demonstrate joy on the ice, joy in spins, joy in your command of the blade, then why are you out there? Why should I watch you? And by joy, I don't mean overt happiness, or smiles, or fun programs. I mean here I am, watch me, let me show you my love of the ice.

Of course I believe Jason shows that every time he steps on the ice (and again, not smiles. Schindler's List, he is still demonstrating joy on the ice). A completely different skater, I think Alexei K. showed joy on the ice. And of course @ladyjane's examples.

I'd love to hear more examples as well. :)
 

fzztsimmons

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 14, 2018
I think a recent example was Josefin Taljegard at Worlds '21 (can't find her SP vid unfortunately)- was it a technically record-breaking performance?? no. was it one of the highlights of the competition for me because she seemed absolutely thrilled to have the chance to perform at a home worlds?? absolutely.

I think joy of skating doesn't mean skating round with a massive smile all the time, but it's the passion, the investment in the performance, the dedication to every movement and part of the programme, that you can see they're thriving off being on that ice and performing.
 
Last edited:

rugbyfan

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Absolutely definitely - one of the reasons why when I have never loved ladies the most, I love Slutskaya and Josee Chouinard. I also know that I am a complete Kurt Browning fan so don't always have perspective but he could sure show joy.
 

ladyjane

Medalist
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
Jason Brown, oh yes!
Josefin Taljegard was an absolute highlight in this regard, and Kurt still shows joy in skating. The only times Kurt didn't, was at the Olympics. And, yes, you could see Rachel was enjoying herself.

Elladj Balldé is another example. His joy in skating has increased since he no longer has to fit into the straight jacket of the competitions (I presume we've all seen this in his videos). But he used to exude joy too in competion. And that after a not so auspicious beginning (he mentioned that in an interview). Especially in his last Nationals he was the ultimate joyful performer.
 

noskates

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
YES YES YES. When a skater enjoys what he or she is doing than the audience enjoys it as well. It's so obvious to me when a skater or skaters are presenting their programs and they're into the music, into each other (in dance and pairs) and the steps and jumps and spins just flow. I don't want to get nationalistic but there are skaters who you feel are out there because it's their job. This isn't pleasing to me.
 

ladyjane

Medalist
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
YES YES YES. When a skater enjoys what he or she is doing than the audience enjoys it as well. It's so obvious to me when a skater or skaters are presenting their programs and they're into the music, into each other (in dance and pairs) and the steps and jumps and spins just flow. I don't want to get nationalistic but there are skaters who you feel are out there because it's their job. This isn't pleasing to me.
Exactly why I started this thread: to celebrate the joy. I've already seen some nice examples passing by here - thanks everyone.

I would like to add another one. I've been (re)watching Loena Hendrickx her skates lately, and she also enjoys what she does. You can see it clearly in her Worlds FS 2018, not so much in her Worlds 2019 (when she was already coping with injuries), and now she's back on that path: she truly enjoys what she does. It's why her Fever FS looked so good at worlds: she really enjoyed performing it. Of course she would also like to get results (she is a competitor after all), but it's when she enjoys the skate that she is the most pleased, and it shows! I would also like to mention Han Yan. Maybe not always - he's been on the scene quite a while and even retired a while because he lost the joy. But when he came back, it was so different. I remember seeing him at Cup of China in 2019, and he was so enjoying himself there. I'll never forget that FS, just for the joy of it.
 

sinus

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 1, 2021
I've heard so many times - look, how joyous this skater, how he/she enjoys skating!
Don't fool yourself, guys. Elite skating is not joyous ride, it's an extremely hard job.
If you see skater smiling during his skate, it's not because he is full of joy.

tenor.gif
 

el henry

Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Country
United-States
I've heard so many times - look, how joyous this skater, how he/she enjoys skating!
Don't fool yourself, guys. Elite skating is not joyous ride, it's an extremely hard job.
If you see skater smiling during his skate, it's not because he is full of joy.

I am afraid that cannot be said about every elite skater.

This is what Jason Brown has to say before Worlds 2021:

I think a big part of what I love about the sport is how much joy it brings me. And I just I love to skate. I love being out in front of a crowd. I love working every single day to better myself.

....
But it is difficult. I think if you watch my programs when I skate, there is no break: I am constantly moving, constantly going in and out of every element. And I just absolutely love it. It’s part of the performance that I am not willing to give up for an element.
.....

So whenever I talk to my grandfather, we never go through a conversation without him reminding me that if you do what you love and love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. And I think that I just feel so incredibly fortunate to have taken this passion of mine and turned it into this career.

Jason's smiles are not fake, they are who he is, and the joy he brings to skating is who he is.

So much more rewarding and interesting for me to watch than those who are skating "as a job". ETA: and whatever brings a skater true joy in the ice is good. But it needs to be more than bright shiny medals, or it's not real joy to me.

 
Last edited:

PaulE

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Country
United-States
The joy and what at least appeared to be the honest emotions displayed by the skaters is what my late wife and I loved about going to the junior competitions starting in 2007 before it was possible to find online coverage of the juniors. We also got to meet skaters, parents, and officials and found all of them we met to be delightful people.

I remember that one of the highlights of my fandom occurred while attending U.S. Nationals in 2008 at St. Paul and watching the Junior Ladies. Alexe Gilles (twin sister of Piper and the eventual winner) completed her last jump just in front of us and her face lit up with a wonderful smile of happiness and relief that I still remember fondly.
 

Weathergal

Medalist
Joined
May 25, 2014
Takahashi’s NHK 2011 SP In the Garden of Souls personifies “Joy” to me... the step sequence is riveting, audience is fully involved, and, most engaging, the little laugh and big smile at the ending pose when he falls slightly out of alignment at the end..:clap::party2::bsplit::jump::rofl:

Thank you for posting - one of my all-time favorite programs! So of course I had to watch it again... :biggrin:
 

Weathergal

Medalist
Joined
May 25, 2014
@ladyjane to answer your question: YES!

Even going beyond skating, I have a genuine appreciation for people who have a true passion for what they do. I think that's why others are drawn to people like that. Some people just have that "something" and you might not be able to put your finger on it. But I think passion and joy pull us in and make something special.

A few skaters that come to mind:
Jason Brown
Deniss Vasiljevs - One my favorite KnC moments was him with Stephane Lambiel shortly after Stephane became his coach, and while they were waiting for his marks, Deniss exclaimed "I love to skate!" https://youtu.be/WK99ki_9KF0?t=432
Donovan Carillo
Sean Rabbitt
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
Carolina Kostner
Michelle Kwan
Akiko Suzuki
 

flanker

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Country
Czech-Republic
There are two things:
1. Loving what you do.
2. Being joyful after the skate.

The fact that you are smiling during the skate does not generally mean you are happy.
The fact that you are sad after the skate does not generally mean you do not like what you do.
 
Top