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5Ali3
04-27-2012, 11:02 PM
Honestly, I think what Kirk said about chasing perfection might apply more to Cohen than to Kwan- I'm surprised Cohen wasn't mentioned (although I agree re. Kwan at SLC), because it seemed as if she was just waiting/hoping for that perfect LP to happen, and kept sabotaging herself in the process. This was most evident at 2006 Worlds, IMHO.


Kirk wasn't intending to write a definitive analysis of all the perfectionists in skating - that would be quite the task - and she chose Kwan as an example. FWIW, I think Kwan and Cohen's perfectionism were expressed differently. Cohen often couldn't settle into a program until she'd made a mistake: once she'd fallen, the pressure to be "perfect" was gone. Kwan rarely struck me as a perfectionist, honestly, except for the two Olympic performances. As Debi Thomas has referenced, there's pressure on athletes not only to win, but to win by skating the perfect program at the perfect moment. To add some nuance to what you said, RD, I don't think Kwan was "waiting/hoping" for the perfect FS - although I've seen athletes do just that. I think Kwan was trying to create the perfect FS. Unfortunately, when athletes try too hard, they tend to tighten up, which is a serious impediment to technique.

demetriosj
04-27-2012, 11:07 PM
[QUOTE=overedge;3557671]When I read this blog, the first thing that sprung to mind was the nasty comments that Phil Hersh made in 2009 about Kirk's skating and her journalism:

QUOTE]

Phil Hersh is a creepy, fair-weather fan. He'll build a skater up, only to knock them down. God forbid you sustain an injury, he's movin on...

but I guess the same can be said for USFS.

aftershocks
04-28-2012, 12:42 AM
I’m so glad Jennifer Kirk is back with her skating blog! I’ve missed reading her insights and points of view on the skating world. :)

Jennifer’s comments on her “About” page remind me of Ryan Jahnke’s youtube video, What’s So Great About Figure Skating. Said Ryan: “After competing for a long time, I feel like nothing I will ever do is as hard as figure skating, so I feel very equipped to handle anything that comes my way. Skating is a crucible for life.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTcUqWbtDiI

As an “ardent” MK fan, I’m not “ticked off” by Jennifer's references to MK's 2002 Olympics. OTC, I feel that Jennifer’s “Prison of Perfection” blog offers lots of food for thought. Her comments are so heartfelt and it’s courageous of her to share her personal experiences. I think many people have experienced the traps/ limitations of trying to be perfect. I know I have often felt the compulsion of perfectionism, and I have come to realize that being a perfectionist often makes me end up not accomplishing what I could by relaxing and simply “making the effort,” without waiting for or expecting things to be perfect. Like the disease of “bulimia,” perfectionism is an issue I believe of unrealistically trying to exert “control” or gain “control” over some aspect of one's life.

Michelle’s experience at the Olympics in 2002 was indeed so “heartbreaking” for her fans. In a slight contrast to Jennifer’s interpretation, it seems to me that Michelle, and indeed perhaps Kurt B (during his Olympics experiences) as well as Todd E (who probably had landing the quad on his mind) were caught up in the emotions of the moment and went out on the ice “paralyzed” from thinking too much or just being in a daze generally and maybe not thinking at all. :P

My interpretation: I had the sense that Michelle was thinking too much about the enormity of the moment, and she was skating directly after Sarah Hughes’ fp performance, which obviously didn’t help matters. I’m not sure that Michelle was specifically thinking “I have to be perfect,” as much as she might have been thinking, “This is my Olympic moment, again. I must do it now.” She was certainly tight and visibly nervous – and due to her own choice, she did not have her former coach with her at the boards to steady her before she went out on the ice. A question from a commentator re “shakiness of 3-flip landing” in the sp may have stuck in MK’s head as she was going into that jump in the fp. Winning the Olympic gold medal was Michelle’s unreachable dream, but I’m not sure her nemesis in that 2002 moment was “perfection.” Although, “need for perfection” could possibly be an abbreviated way of describing what might have been happening inside Michelle’s mind. ;)

In any case, whether nerves, pressure, over-focus on the results, trying to be perfect, thinking too much, or trying too hard to live up to others’ and her own expectations, Michelle’s Olympic experiences have ultimately proven to be a lesson, not in heartbreak, but in overcoming the”failure” to win, in learning how to survive not living up to your highest expectations, in realizing what truly matters. As Jennifer points out, it’s “the effort” that matters, and Michelle’s amazing efforts are legendary. In the end, what I remember most from 2002 Olympics, is Michelle’s exhibition, Fields of Gold… the irony of it, the eloquent beauty of it, her tears in the penultimate moment, and her abundant courage.

Kurt B, once responded to me with his usual humorous self-deprecation when I brought up how wonderful his Olympic Casablanca program was: “Nah, I didn’t win because I didn’t skate well.” He too seemed in that long ago moment when I met him to have moved on with whatever lessons he’d learned from his Olympic experiences.

In regard to Todd Eldredge, he definitely redeemed his 1998 season with his Worlds fp performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GfAB3Y0Diw

I believe Christopher Bowman is one of the commentators in this clip. It’s so nice to hear (as I didn’t recall hearing before) that Barb Underhill had written a supportive and inspirational letter to Todd after the 1998 Olympics.

At that stage of his career, Todd’s unfortunate nemesis was the quad and the judges’ tendency to not give him as much credit as they previously had for all the things he did so well. I think Todd moved on from eligible skating with no regrets. He indeed gave great “effort” throughout his career.

Scrufflet
04-28-2012, 12:56 AM
What an intelligent thoughtful young woman! Her insights are fascinating and truly seem to reflect some things I have heard said by elite skaters. I wonder if she has ever done any commentary on TV. I bet she would have some very interesting takes.

taf2002
04-29-2012, 12:49 AM
I sent Jenny an email after reading that blog & I got a lovely reply today. We had an encounter at the 2004 Nationals & she was kind enough to say she remembered it. Maybe she did.

BTW, I do consider her a real journalist as well as a sincere & thoughtful young lady.

Aussie Willy
04-30-2012, 04:57 AM
She really is an excellent writer. Straight forward, very articulate and gets the message across very well. Her experience is something that many could relate to and is a really good lesson for life. I hope she has great success with her career.

winterone
04-30-2012, 01:03 PM
:Dq

Sparks
04-30-2012, 09:47 PM
Jenny's latest BLOG (http://www.jenniferkirk.com/2012/04/30/my-first-breakup/)

fenway2
04-30-2012, 10:33 PM
I would love to see Jennifer sign a book deal. She has wonderful writing skills and a great skating memoir in her.

Aussie Willy
04-30-2012, 11:14 PM
Totally agree. So many skaters and parents could learn from her experiences.

mgobluegirl
05-01-2012, 02:05 AM
Totally agree. So many skaters and parents could learn from her experiences.

She writes well, and I've enjoyed reading her entries so far, but I really hope skating parents do not read this. I have years of immensely positive memories and experiences that I'd hate for skaters to miss out on because their parents read something like this about skating when they were just starting out in the sport. Not everyone's experience carries these kinds of scars.

I hope writing this blog turns out to be a good healing process for Kirk.

PDilemma
05-01-2012, 04:27 AM
She writes well, and I've enjoyed reading her entries so far, but I really hope skating parents do not read this. I have years of immensely positive memories and experiences that I'd hate for skaters to miss out on because their parents read something like this about skating when they were just starting out in the sport. Not everyone's experience carries these kinds of scars.

I hope writing this blog turns out to be a good healing process for Kirk.

She tends to project her experiences as being the universal experiences of all skaters. I can't see that every skater in history has been motivated so strongly by pleasing a coach. Champions like Kwan, Plush, Slutskaya, Chan, etc...seem to have been very intrinsically motivated to prove themselves not please someone at the boards.

Her blog indicates that Jenny has a people-pleasing personality. I'm sure some other skaters have/do as well. But I highly doubt all of them do.

RD
05-01-2012, 04:36 AM
It would be interesting to get perspectives of other skaters (or in this case, coaches too). I think she's attempting to heal past wounds by so openly sharing these experiences with us, but I think her overall point would be made stronger if she sought input from other skaters who had similar experiences, felt the same way, or could chime in with their thoughts.

IceAlisa
05-01-2012, 04:47 AM
She tends to project her experiences as being the universal experiences of all skaters. I can't see that every skater in history has been motivated so strongly by pleasing a coach. Champions like Kwan, Plush, Slutskaya, Chan, etc...seem to have been very intrinsically motivated to prove themselves not please someone at the boards.

Her blog indicates that Jenny has a people-pleasing personality. I'm sure some other skaters have/do as well. But I highly doubt all of them do.

Her blog doesn't indicate that anyone other than herself was trying to please their coaches. When she talks about Kwan she talks about her battle with Perfection, a very different thing. If you recall, Kwan didn't have a coach at the time of her performance at 2002 Olympics.

PDilemma
05-01-2012, 04:53 AM
Her blog doesn't indicate that anyone other than herself was trying to please their coaches. When she talks about Kwan she talks about her battle with Perfection, a very different thing. If you recall, Kwan didn't have a coach at the time of her performance at 2002 Olympics.

She makes general statements like these:


Skaters want to please their coaches so badly.


A skater is skating to win not only for him- or herself but always for their coach. Like the relationship so many of us have with our parents, skaters grow up with the innate desire to feel a coach’s love and respect.