Julianne Séguin : "Charlie may have saved my life"

4everchan

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"I would never have been able to make the decision to retire from competition by myself. By doing so, Charlie not only was aspiring to seek a better environment for himself, but probably saved my life" -Julianne Séguin (my translation)

In this article Julianne speaks up about the complications she still has from 3 back to back concussions prior to the Olympics. As their goal to participate to the games was everything for them, they didn't take the time to get back gradually to training after the concussions. They were training to hard, and she still suffers from complications today, to the point that at 24, her parents cook and clean for her. She still suffers from nausea and has an oversensitivity to light.

She explains how they shouldn't have competed in Russia. How they only followed partially the guidelines of Skate Canada for the return to the ice (they would not train for 72 hours, a rule she followed, but then, they would get back right away in full intensity training, which was against the guidelins.

After the games, both exhausted and beaten up (Charlie had had a knee injury a while before), their team told Julianne she needed to get back in shape, lose weight and start training again. Charlie disagreed and decided to leave. He could no longer train in that unhealthy environment.

It is now, with the perspective of time, that Julianne says that Charlie probably saved her life.

A very interesting article. I summarized and translated this with my basic translator skills. If you have specific questions about a few sentences, let me know.

In conclusion : this should quiet down those who are hoping for a return to the ice from Julianne : it is just not happening. It will also give some perspective to those who demonized Charlie in this situation. The split with Lubov may be too fresh yet and still sensitive, but in light of that, I can see how he thought he could get back with another skater, but then, the intense training just didn't appeal to him anymore.

In the end, a very very sad story... and it is to wonder what their coaches and Skate Canada could have done to prevent this entire mess, which cause the early retirement of one of the most promising Canadian pairs.
 

surimi

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Thanks for sharing, 4everchan! It's horrifying to read that the team's managers would encourage Julianne to return to the ice without a proper recovery. I am sorry to hear of her lasting struggles, and I've adjusted my opinion on Bilodeau in the light of this information. I hope Julianne can eventually heal completely, and that sharing her story helps others make correct choices for their long-term health.
 

anonymoose_au

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Interesting... I wonder if this will change anyone's opinion of Charlie or make them think twice about writing someone off. I know the Twitter crowd think he's lower than dirt... Maybe they can apologise for once.
 

withwings

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Interesting... I wonder if this will change anyone's opinion of Charlie or make them think twice about writing someone off. I know the Twitter crowd think he's lower than dirt... Maybe they can apologise for once.

It is thanks to Luba's complains that many has turned agains Charlie. Charlie was a a great, I would say an extraordinary skater- he had a spakling ice personality. IMHO he and Luba never would be good. Perhaps he understood this himself.
 

4everchan

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What I read from the article, however it is not clearly stated, is that Charlie thought a new environment may get his love back for figure skating. However, the experience was just pretty much the same, and that's why he retired and left Lubov. He could no longer put figure skating as everything in his life, at the cost of his physical and mental health. He was no longer able to deal with the intensity of training and competition. He said "one day, I hit a wall" Which makes it clear now why he had no more motivation to train and compete. I can see though that for Lubov, it may have been a complete different feeling, and understand why she was upset.

Julianne and Charlie were trained at first by Josée Picard who made Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler. She is now retired, I believe. But I wouldn't be surprised to hear that she was extremely tough and strict with her athletes, with the goal to make them champions.
Charlie and Lubov went to Richard Gauthier, another champion maker.

What one can see by going through the other articles/interviews of this "investigation" is that the whole sport suffers from this champion-making culture...

Skate Canada has made some rules to improve this : for instance, it is no longer allowed for coaches to weigh in their athletes. Only the doctors can do that. There is also a strict protocol to follow after concussions. However, nobody is there to check if those rules are applied.
 
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LutzDance

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The article is part of a series of interviews with figure skaters... there is a lot about eating disorders, concussions, overtraining, etc.
Do you mind pointing to the series? I’m bad at searching in French. Eating disorders in FS is a topic of particular interest and concern to me.
 

4everchan

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Do you mind pointing to the series? I’m bad at searching in French. Eating disorders in FS is a topic of particular interest and concern to me.
click on the article. scroll down. you will see circles which correspond to articles all extracted from the documentary.
 

4everchan

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This reflects very poorly on Picard's coaching, sadly.
The issue : i do not think she is the only one with that mentality. It seems to be part of the figure skating/elite sport mentality. There is a move now in sport towards having athletes feeling good and happy, in order to get the best performance out of them, which is quite recent.... I still remember wearing a tshirt : no pain, no gain, no Spain about Barcelona games... It is something we see in a bunch of sports like gymnastics, diving, artistic swimming, and others,

The documentary was done with athletes skating from 2008 to 2016 and involves a lot of skaters. Cynthia Phaneuf, Jessica Dubé, Shawn Sawyer, even Joannie Rochette (though the latter says she had a great team and supportive entourage so she wasn't harmed by comments such as "how much thinner she was the previous season" etc)
 

Colonel Green

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The issue : i do not think she is the only one with that mentality.
Oh, by no means.

Julianne was not the first athlete to try to force an Olympic season to happen against medical advice, and she will not be the last either. But coaches really need to be reining in this kind of thinking, not going along with or even actively promoting it.
 

4everchan

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Oh, by no means.

Julianne was not the first athlete to try to force an Olympic season to happen against medical advice, and she will not be the last either. But coaches really need to be reining in this kind of thinking, not going along with or even actively promoting it.
Things are changing... Athletes are starting to speak up. It just happened in artistic swimming. It happened in other national teams as well where coaches were removed or investigated. There is also a segment on how it will take Canada 12 years to catch up on Russian ladies because they will do it differently, with the use of science (biomechanics) as the training intensity/mentality experienced over there would not be possible/acceptable in Canada. So, from the outside, it looks like things are getting better, but of course, there is a lot more work to be done.

If you are interested in this topic in other sports, here are a few articles

Artistic swimming
Rugby seven (in this case, the coach stepped down though the investigation didn't lead to any charges IIRC)
There are also sexual misconduct cases in gymnastics, and female soccer (the latter for the u-20 team, not the national team) etc

I am posting these out there to show there is a new wave of speaking up for abuse in sport by athletes and that, hopefully, it will result in better, healthier practices for elite athletes.

One of the issues raised in one of the series of article is that funding is often given to sports that bring medals back to the country... so there is a lot of pressure put on the coaching staff as well. If the government rewarded good practice in sport instead of result, it would help alleviate this systemic problem.
 

Weathergal

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@4everchan thanks so much for translating and sharing that article. I'm always so appreciative of posters who are generous with their time and translate articles of interest like that.

Julianne and Charlie were one of my favorite pairs at the time, and I thought they had so much promise. I was saddened by their breakup and missed their skating. I knew Julianne had concussions but didn't realize she had three back to back. Knowing this certainly puts a different spin on Charlie in this situation and obviously makes me glad she stopped skating.

As for the situation with Lubov, I can understand how what Julianne and Charlie went through would continue to affect Charlie. It still doesn't seem like it was handled the best nor was Charlie as candid as he probably could/should have been, but still it does paint him in a more sympathetic light.

I'm most disappointed in Julianne and Charlie's coaching staff, whether it was Picard or Gauthier, because they knew better and could have stopped them or at least slowed them down. I find it hard to believe the Julianne and Charlie would be training without their coaches' knowledge and supervision.

I'm heartbroken for Julianne and wish her better health, and I hope both she and Charlie heal - physically and emotionally - from their experiences.

The situations you mention with some of the sports in Canada have some parallels with US gymnastics. Outside of the sex scandals, there have also been scandals related to abusive coaching practices, most notably those of Maggie Haney and her staff. She fairly recently received an eight-year suspension from the sport.

It is good to hear that more discussions are being had about these topics because there is life after sports, and athletes of all ages shouldn't have to sacrifice that to pursue their goals.
 

4everchan

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@4everchan thanks so much for translating and sharing that article. I'm always so appreciative of posters who are generous with their time and translate articles of interest like that.

Julianne and Charlie were one of my favorite pairs at the time, and I thought they had so much promise. I was saddened by their breakup and missed their skating. I knew Julianne had concussions but didn't realize she had three back to back. Knowing this certainly puts a different spin on Charlie in this situation and obviously makes me glad she stopped skating.

As for the situation with Lubov, I can understand how what Julianne and Charlie went through would continue to affect Charlie. It still doesn't seem like it was handled the best nor was Charlie as candid as he probably could/should have been, but still it does paint him in a more sympathetic light.

I'm most disappointed in Julianne and Charlie's coaching staff, whether it was Picard or Gauthier, because they knew better and could have stopped them or at least slowed them down. I find it hard to believe the Julianne and Charlie would be training without their coaches' knowledge and supervision.

I'm heartbroken for Julianne and wish her better health, and I hope both she and Charlie heal - physically and emotionally - from their experiences.

The situations you mention with some of the sports in Canada have some parallels with US gymnastics. Outside of the sex scandals, there have also been scandals related to abusive coaching practices, most notably those of Maggie Haney and her staff. She fairly recently received an eight-year suspension from the sport.

It is good to hear that more discussions are being had about these topics because there is life after sports, and athletes of all ages shouldn't have to sacrifice that to pursue their goals.
Picard and Gauthier probably came from the "old school" of coaching... and it is under Picard's team that Charlie and Julianne were training in preparation for the games. I am not going to make excuses for their behaviour, though I think it's important to mention that it is still very much part of the "elite athletes coaching culture". Who knows what Picard and Gauthier and many others endured when they were young athletes? It is hard to break such a tradition, especially when it created world and olympic medalists. I will remember forever the pressure put on Isabelle for the 1992 games... she fell... and the media had a photo of her, front page, on her butt... as Julianne explains, when it comes to reaching the highest levels, the athletes forget who they are, block every feeling and doubt, and just train and train and train...

In the end, I am glad that they are given a voice, a way to heal by speaking up.
 

el henry

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Thank you for posting this article, so very sad as the headline says that Julianne depends on her parents to do simple tasks.

This sport is beautiful and dangerous. The "suck it up and fight through it" mentality is so damaging, no matter the sport.

I may post the eating disorder topic separately, if that is OK, although that article is also so depressing. @4everchan do you know if that Shawn Sawyer talking about eating disorders in the brief video clip? It is so important for men to speak up and say this affects them as well.
 

4everchan

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Thank you for posting this article, so very sad as the headline says that Julianne depends on her parents to do simple tasks.

This sport is beautiful and dangerous. The "suck it up and fight through it" mentality is so damaging, no matter the sport.

I may post the eating disorder topic separately, if that is OK, although that article is also so depressing. @4everchan do you know if that Shawn Sawyer talking about eating disorders in the brief video clip? It is so important for men to speak up and say this affects them as well.
I think it is Shawn Sawyer. And yes, if you feel like posting (in another thread) some parts related to eating disorders, there are a bunch of athletes talking about it. It is indeed time that men also speak up about weight issues. It is also common in sports like boxing and judo which involve making a weight category... sigh
 

Ic3Rabbit

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I think it is Shawn Sawyer. And yes, if you feel like posting (in another thread) some parts related to eating disorders, there are a bunch of athletes talking about it. It is indeed time that men also speak up about weight issues. It is also common in sports like boxing and judo which involve making a weight category... sigh
Since we are talking about men and eating disorders in the sport, while not Canadian, Joe Johnson (USA ice dance retired) just revealed this past week on this Instagram that he has been dealing with an eating disorder for over a decade.

ETA:
Link to Joe's post
 
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chasingneverland

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Well he did the wrong thing with Luba, but like... sometimes a person screws up and shouldn't be turned into a complete monster. Imagine that! I think that might be beyond the Twitter crowd TBH.
This!

It's why I won't paint someone as a complete villain. We never know the full story and these skaters are, after all, just human, same as we are lol.
 

slider11

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Jan 12, 2014
I applaud Julienne and others for bringing their health challenges to light and I wish them all continued recovery. There is certainly much to be learned about better coaching and federation safety. The broader theme is honesty. Coaches/federations must be honest with their athletes about the potential harm that may be placed on their injured athlete if they return too early. I think it also highlights the importance of honesty between partners and something that coaches and federations should emphasize. In the case of Charlie and Lubov, Lubov had the right to know when Charlie was questioning his desire to continue their partnership. He may have still been contemplating the situation but he should have communicated those doubts with Lubov. It was her future, too. Maybe she could have proposed something that would have changed his mind. Probably not, but it would have given her more time to plan her future without him as a pairs partner. He's not a monster but Lubov was not treated fairly.
 
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