Reasons for toxicity among figure skating fans

vesperalvioletta

Medalist
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Country
United-States
Personally, nationalism has nothing to do with the way I experience figure skating fandom, and I think that's true for a lot of posters here. I'm from the US and I don't feel any particular emotional pull to the American skating contingent right now. I root for whoever's skating speaks to me. I do think for maybe the broader figure skating fandom, nationalism has a lot to do with their inability to tolerate when their favorite loses, and social media has further emboldened people to put nasty comments and opinions out there without consideration for those who are on the receiving end.

I think the fact that getting to see a figure skating event in person isn't very accessible to a lot of people also contributes to the problem because it becomes that most people are interacting with the sport through a screen. I think we take for granted how easy it is to forget that these people we watch are real people with lives that are affected by their fans and not just "characters" we see on TV or via streaming. It's part of why I get so upset when I see most especially underage skaters being sexualized online or people writing fanfiction about skaters. They're real people who exist beyond the entertainment value they provide on the ice.

I've never understood the overwhelming intensity with which some people follow sports. I live in a city where football and hockey are king, and a lot of people take pride in the fact that fans from opposing teams don't like to come here because the fans here are so rabid and aggressive. Its disgusting that people treat each other this way over something in which they have no personal stake.
 

AlinaRina

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Add egotism, arrogance, entitlement, conviction of own technical and moral superiority/rightness, and performing for/preening in front of a crowd onto the list. In other words, figure skating fandom now has antis.

Add on a limited knowledge of the sport and its judging system, but a burning passion for armchair judging.
 

lilahozi

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
I have :biggrin:

It is a mixed bag of nationalities, plenty of non-Russians, including myself.

Yes, and you definitely see hyper-nationalism from the Russian posters, so saying you don't view "nationalism" affecting the skating fandom comes off as supremely tone deaf.
 

icybear

Medalist
Joined
Mar 18, 2017
There's been an increase in a number of fans who have very little understanding of figure skating screaming unfair whatever their fave doesnt win. These fans usually just follow k pop stars or other idol stars but decide to stan these skaters cause they're cute or good looking. They dont bother understanding how the sport works but just expect the judges to worship their idol fave like they do.
 

Mishaminion

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Yes, and you definitely see hyper-nationalism from the Russian posters, so saying you don't view "nationalism" affecting the skating fandom comes off as supremely tone deaf.

Very rude!

It is not an overly large amount of hyper-nationalism, I never said it wasn't there at all.
 

vesperalvioletta

Medalist
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Country
United-States
Yes, and you definitely see hyper-nationalism from the Russian posters, so saying you don't view "nationalism" affecting the skating fandom comes off as supremely tone deaf.

I don't understand the negativity. I said that nationalism doesn't affect my personal skating fandom experience, and I've observed that to be true of several other posters here, not that nationalism doesn't affect the skating fan community as a whole, here or otherwise. Mishaminion didn't share their opinion on nationalism at all :scratch2:
 

formersk8ter

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
I am very happy that this thread was started.

While I'm sure no one wants a forum where everyone acts prim and proper all the time -- a good, healthy debate over our likes and dislikes makes for an interesting discussion -- a line certainly must be drawn somewhere. So where is that line?

For me, some of the things I've seen over the past 24 hours are disgusting. There is NO excuse for holding up "unfair judgement" signs during the playing of someone's national anthem, nor defacing a sacred poster signed by beloved Olympians, nor making threats/hurling nasty insults at other athletes giving their own benign opinions and even over-the-top statements made on this very forum.

Still, I will be quick to say I'm sure that at least 90% of uber-fans are fine, respectful people. It's the other, smaller percent that ruin things for everyone else. These are obsessed bullies that would be better off in therapy, than in a live audience or on an internet rant. And yes, they are indeed toxic.

I would very much hope that athletes with these out-of-control fans would make a public statement, disapproving of these egregious actions. It could make a world of difference. At the very least, it couldn't hurt.
 

lilahozi

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
I would very much hope that athletes with these out-of-control fans would make a public statement, disapproving of these egregious actions. It could make a world of difference. At the very least, it couldn't hurt.

I hope the opposite. Once athletes start staying something then people will expect them to speak up every single time someone disagrees with what their fans are doing and soon there will be no blurring between the athlete and his/her fandom.
 

Interspectator

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
I hope the opposite. Once athletes start staying something then people will expect them to speak up every single time someone disagrees with what their fans are doing and soon there will be no blurring between the athlete and his/her fandom.

I agree with this. --We already see it with athletes and/or celebrities who engage with their fans in this way. The hate towards them increases as they become required to address every single issue in a way that satisfies everyone. It's a vicious cycle that's best not to start.
 
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formersk8ter

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
I hope the opposite. Once athletes start staying something then people will expect them to speak up every single time someone disagrees with what their fans are doing and soon there will be no blurring between the athlete and his/her fandom.

It wouldn't take more than one brief comment from the athlete.

Look at the awful (and scary) things some of the Yuna fans said about Adelina after Sochi. Literal death threats. Yuna was so revered, I believe that just one comment to fans would have curbed all of that. I have to admit that my respect for Yuna faded somewhat, because it almost looked like she was okay with all of the threats and nastiness against Adelina. (Not saying that was the case, I have no way of knowing what she thought.)
 

randomfan

Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
It wouldn't take more than one brief comment from the athlete.

Look at the awful (and scary) things some of the Yuna fans said about Adelina after Sochi. Literal death threats. Yuna was so revered, I believe that just one comment to fans would have curbed all of that. I have to admit that my respect for Yuna faded somewhat, because it almost looked like she was okay with all of the threats and nastiness against Adelina. (Not saying that was the case, I have no way of knowing what she thought.)

Idealistically speaking, I'd agree with you. It would've been meaningful to see her address the terrible comments herself. But realistically speaking, the issues that lilahozi and Interspectator brought up are just too big to look over, plus there's the fact that Yuna's not really obligated to say anything about it in the first place anyway. It seems the only solution that is both realistic and plausible is to just let the hate die down on it's own. Sad, but there isn't really much that can be done.
 

eaglehelang

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
I've never understood the overwhelming intensity with which some people follow sports. I live in a city where football and hockey are king, and a lot of people take pride in the fact that fans from opposing teams don't like to come here because the fans here are so rabid and aggressive. Its disgusting that people treat each other this way over something in which they have no personal stake.

In many instances, people do have a personal stake or vested interest. -> Sports betting. There are people who bet money, a lot if money for their fav to win.
If their selected choice loses, they lose $$$$.
Nowadays, with online betting available, it's even easier.
 

Elspeth

Rinkside
Joined
Oct 30, 2019
It wouldn't take more than one brief comment from the athlete.

Look at the awful (and scary) things some of the Yuna fans said about Adelina after Sochi. Literal death threats. Yuna was so revered, I believe that just one comment to fans would have curbed all of that. I have to admit that my respect for Yuna faded somewhat, because it almost looked like she was okay with all of the threats and nastiness against Adelina. (Not saying that was the case, I have no way of knowing what she thought.)

This is very dangerous and leads to problems for the athletes, who are already scrutinized to death. I think Yuzuru's complimentary words on Nathan, as well as the fact he seemed to be appearing in way more fluff-photos and IG posts than normal was probably his way of saying everything is fine and his fans should calm down. If he acknowledged the behaviour of a few deranged individuals he would be digging a hole for himself no matter what came out of his mouth.

I wish people would stop generalising about fans so much. Nathan fans are not ' such and such' and neither are Sasha's or Alina's or whomever. Some people are just crazy and toxic and those people are the exceptions. The larger the fan base, the more exceptions. No need to lump in everyone else with those people.
 

Mishaminion

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
I don't think these "fans" would accept it if their idols did speak out.

They don't accept that they really have genuine respect, appreciation or admiration for each other. These "fans" will continue to go against what their idols say or would want no matter what.

How anyone can say they are a good fan of someone who they disrespect by ignoring their respect for their opponents and by dragging their idol's own reputation through the mud by doing these things.
 

noskates

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
I seriously HOPE the figure skaters are totally oblivious to some of the stuff that's posted here and on other sites. The skaters all seem to get along just fine. Many of them cross countries in their friendships. And I don't buy nationalism except for a few uber fans. My favorite skater for years (and still) is Canadian and I rooted for him against Amerians. I want to appreciate and applaud good skating, interesting costumes and beautiful music and I really don't care what their geographical origins are. I consider myself a true fan of figure skating. And I honestly think there are many on this board that feel the same way. I get embarassed for those few posters who put so much emotion and sometimes venom into their fandom. It's petty and unnecessary. Takes all kinds I guess.
 

LRK

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
It's mob mentality. People are more comfortable doing things in a mob, that they would never do as individuals, all on their own. The behaviour of others condones and encourages them to behave in the same fashion, whilst being safely hidden in anonymity. It also gives them the sense of power of being one in a group.

Before people had to actually go out and physically join a mob. Now all anyone needs to do is sit down in front of a computer - or pick out their phone - and say whatever nastiness comes into their head.

And it's not only figure skating, of course - just look at the Star Wars fandom, for example.

The internet, however, isn't bad or good on its own. It's what people use it for. For example, just as it can bring people together as here on GS - presumably most of us, if not all, are here because we love figure skating. We may not know a whole lot of people "in real life", who share our enthusiasm. Here we can share that interest with others. In that same way, people can come together… to essentially spread nastiness.

It's what we all, as individuals, choose to do. Each person in an online mob is an individual who actively CHOOSES to behave in a toxic and destructive fashion.

And there is a difference between "criticism" and "vitriol". And frankly most people know where the line goes, however much they may elect to pretend otherwise, to justify their own conduct to themselves.
 
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