Tonya Harding's skating

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by lulu, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. lulu

    lulu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Messages:
    5,615
    The chapter "Critiques of Skating's Feminine Ideal" in Culture On Ice, includes discussion of the top figure skaters of the 80s through mid 90s, but what really stood out to me, was this quote from dance critic Anita Finkel on Tonya Harding's skating:

    "exceptional connection with the ice, her drive, her speed, her deep edges, and the clarity and stretch of her positions gave her "the wherewithal to make her relatively short limbs and blocky torso irrelevant."

    and

    "Tonya Harding really is a brilliant artist; the tragedy is that no one realized it, let alone valued it."

    The quotes btw are from 1992.

    I never paid too much attention to Tonya Harding's skating before. I'm in no teknik, but watching her routines on youtube her strengths (besides the triple axel-when she landed it) seemed to be the excellent power & height on her jumps, particularly the triple lutz and great speed on the ice. The spiral sequence appears her biggest weakness.

    I also liked some of her rather unique music choices. :lol:

    http://youtu.be/WOP3Dj0DraQ (Skate America)

    http://youtu.be/MdC5G7CDvbI (U.S. Nationals-triple axel)
     
  2. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,600
    I wish the 92 Olympics had Ito doing her Trophee Lalique performance, Yamaguchi her U.S Nationals, and Harding her Skate America or 91 Nationals. What a battle that would have been! As it was, with how everyone there did skate, Tonya could have easily won those Olympics had she been in her 91 fitness and skated well. Shame on her for showing up out of shape and unprepared for the biggest event of her life.

    I love her skating. I like not only her jumps, but her spins, her great basic skating which contributes to the quality of her jumps (in contrast to Bonaly who has poor basics and no running edge in and out of her jumps), she had some wonderful moves in field, she often had a beautiful Ina Bauer in her programs especialy. Her spirals were ok for the time actually, I would say her footwork was the weakest part of her programs if anything, and sometimes her disjointed music selections, but she did feel the music and interpret it well I always felt.
     
  3. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    2,299
    Tonya's problem was her erratic training and fitness habits. She was always playing catch-up instead of moving ahead of her peers. I don't think it left her much time to work on her presentation skills.
     
  4. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    8,928
    Tonya's problem was being born into a family of abusiveness, poverty, alcholism and disability.
     
  5. Jasmar

    Jasmar Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    839
    Both true statements. She's a few years younger than I am, but we were skating at the same rinks at the same time in the late 70s and early 80s, and I was judging in the area starting a few years later. So I (and everyone else at the rinks) saw firsthand her crazy, abusive mother, as well as the way Diane, her first coach, basically took her in and provided everything she needed, especially after she was a little older. It was sickening watching her mother, stinking of urine and fright-wig askew, tear into her with whatever she could lay her hands on. If that went on now, authorities would be called.

    Her dad was a nice guy, and worked at at least one of the rinks for her ice time, but I don't remember what the family dynamic was in those years, if he was actually living with them. He didn't protect Tonya from her mom, but may have been instrumental in making sure she was allowed to live with Diane when she was older.

    Tonya was the most naturally talented female skater I've ever seen, from figures to her unbelievable power, speed, jumping and spinning ability of freestyle. But she was also incredibly stubborn, and often her own worst enemy, even as a girl. She had people around her who wanted to help her succeed, but she had to do everything her way. She really didn't even practice as hard as most of the lower-level skaters who never even achieved a double axel, or went past novice-level figures. It was so frustrating.
     
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    18,106
    I really liked Tonya's skating, however on the ISU component DVDs they do use both Tonya and Surya Bonaly as examples of poor skating skills. And on reflection they are right. Bonaly was the worst. However Tonya was stiff in her technique and she used lots of crossovers and very short steps to generate speed. It was quite labourered and there was not a lot of efficiency in her technique to generate natural flow. On the clip they then compare her with Mao Asada which really does make the comparison very obvious and highlights the deficiencies in Tonya's skating skills.

    Having said that she was a really exciting skater to watch and she certainly deserves credit for her achievements.

    Jasmar - that really is awful how her mother treated her. Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,829
    ^^ Oh God, the ISU has the nerve to single out Tonya Harding and Surya Bonaly for their "poor skating skills." What about the ISU's own "poor judging skills," not to mention their astounding lack of vision and ubiquitous on-going lack of judgment across the board!?

    Ha ha, re Tonya did crossovers! So did Janet Lynn and Toller Cranston. I could watch and re-watch Janet Lynn and Toller Cranston tapes all day. For that matter, I could watch and re-watch Tonya Harding's winning 1991 U.S. National Championship performance all day too. As for Tonya's unfortunate upbringing and character faults, oh well, kudos to her for surviving it all. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Sure Tonya isn't close to being the best example of exemplary human being or figure skater, but ya know, there's no way they can rip, dis, or erase the fact she was indeed a powerful and exciting skater to watch. Too bad she didn't work harder to parlay her natural gifts and superb talent into a greater and longer-lasting career. Too bad she was unable to overcome the side-effects of emotional and physical abuse.

    Ultimately, Tonya's success in life will not be measured against her skating career. And still, Tonya Harding is the first American woman to land a 3-axel in competition, and she ALWAYS will be.

    And Surya Bonaly, love you lady backflip! You kicked a** at Worlds 1993.
     
    aliceanne and (deleted member) like this.
  8. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    7,833
    I would love to interview her for the podcast. She was really such a natural talent.
     
  9. lulu

    lulu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Messages:
    5,615
    That would be a fantastic interview.
     
  10. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    18,106
    Oh please Bonaly is regarded as having some of the weakest skating skills ever of an international competitive skater. Of course she is held up as an example to demonstrate what you don't want to see, regardless of whether it is being judged or not.
     
  11. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,600
    Tonya in no way had poor skating skills. Even if some question her artistry her skating skills were without question. Bonaly is a whole other story, she did indeed have very poor basic skating skills.
     
  12. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    2,299
    I think people find it hypocritical that the ISU is trashing her skating after all the medals they gave her. They apparently didn't mind when she was bringing in money.
     
  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,829
    Yeah right, Aussie Willy, and so what? That def makes it cool for ISU to single out Bonaly. They obviously were batting 100% with that selection. Not so much re Tonya, huh? All those superlatives for Tonya in the Culture on Ice critique, but yet and still she is fodder for "poor skating skills" videos. Hah! Yeah sure, partly because of Bonaly's "tumbling champion" technique, she never learned how to properly use her edges and that's an understatement. Still she was an amazing jumper (again because of her tumbling experience) with the ability to launch into difficult jumps without great speed. The dissing of Bonaly recalls to my mind how Sandra Bezic (who is not really such a bad person herself, just sometimes clueless in her commentary) used to smack on the fact that Bonaly (horrors) skated with bare legs. :eek: Yeah sure, Bonaly is so what we "don't want to see" in figure skating. ISU -- so superior and elitist. So archaic and constricted in their thinking.

    And sure, forget about that complicit "knee-whack conspirator" Harding. Lets flush Harding and Bonaly both down the toilet. Both great examples of "poor skating skills." :rolleyes: Would love to see who else they single out for stuff that's just so "poor" and not what the ISU wants to "see." Forget about the fact there's this clear lack of vision in any case among ISU officials and judges.

    BTW, was the Mao comparison clip they used before or after Mao re-worked her jump technique? Mao's style of skating is very unique and completely different from Harding's or anyone else's. These ISU component DVDs must be a laugh riot and so fun for them to put together. Hey judges, this is what we want to see ... AND THIS IS NOT! Do they show clips of Yu Na's poor positions on her layback spins? Do they show clips of Tara Lipinski's atrocious technique on her 2-axel? Do they show clips of Evan Lysacek's atrocious technique on his 3-axel? Hopefully, everyone they decide to single out is no longer competing eligibly.
     
  14. RFOS

    RFOS Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    2,421
    I did think it was a bit strange that they used Tonya as an example of poor skating skills. This wasn't the clip they used but here she certainly looks to have quite good flow and excellent power here and doesn't seem stiff or labored to me at all.
    : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1WMW6ZQWnQ&list=PL4623960E63036761&feature=player_detailpage#t=307s

    Any skater's skating is going to have some variability in it and Tonya perhaps moreso than some others, and the particular clip used did not show her best skills but it was hardly what I would use as an example of "bad" skating. As a judge I think it's important not to stereotype a particular skater and try to free my mind of former impressions and stick to discussing the given clip or performance at hand.

    While I have seen examples of Surya early in her career where her basic skating skills were nowhere near what I'd expect from a top level skater, I feel she generally improved a lot over the course of her career. The clip that was selected for the ISU video showed some of her worst skating skills and she had a fluke stumble just stroking. She certainly had some good qualities to her skating skills and there was a good example of some footwork of hers posted in another thread recently.

    IIRC, the names of the skaters were never given in any of the clips, though most of them were well-known skaters and some still are competing or were at the time (Abbott and Chan were featured quite a bit, and Jeff Buttle, Carolina Kostner, and Shen & Zhao were also featured for some of the components, all as "good" examples).
     
  15. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,829
    Thanks RFOS for your thoughtful and informative comments. I'm sure there are many good and well-intentioned judges. And I know judging ain't easy. Unfortunately, the task for judges is further complicated by the fact that fs is subjective and political. The ISU is short-sighted and antiquated in their thinking, not the least because of their entrenched leadership and archaic structure. Of course things are changing, but slowly and not always for the better.

    Maybe "strange" is not the word for the selection of Tonya Harding as an example of "poor skating skills." Perhaps "clueless" or "baseless" are more apt characterizations (or maybe intentionally "catty.") As far as Bonaly's selection, I'd say she's an easy mark. Likely, whoever picked Bonaly, patted themselves on the back for their perspicacity. ;)

    I agree with you that every skater "is going to have some variability" in their performance quality, just as does every athlete and every dancer, mainly because they are not robots. I think its great that you are on the alert not to stereotype and that you "try to free your mind of former impressions." However, all judges may not be as cognizant and careful. That's too bad if currently eligible skaters are singled out for demonstration of "poor skating." Even if their names aren't cited, if their faces are shown, it's quite clear who they are.

    Might be a good idea if there are also coaching videos available that show how to help skaters unlearn bad habits and eradicate any existing "poor skating skills." Too bad Abbott's artistry, Chan's "skating skills," Kostner's speed and Shen/Zhao's magical connection can't be bottled and sold, or exactly emulated. Of course, watching these skaters can certainly be pleasurable and inspirational. Not sure tho' that watching them actually helps most judges recognize who has superb artistry, musicality, and presentation skills, much less that watching them provides judges with the ability to accurately reflect the level of artistic/ presentation skills and skating skills in their scoring of skaters during competitions. But then, of course, you and Aussie Willy have more knowledge and experience than I do in regard to ISU judging.

    To make up for their error in judgment, perhaps ISU should put together a video of Tonya Harding clips that demonstrate proper 3-axel technique for ladies. BTW, have they ever dissed on Midori Ito's or Yukari Nakano's leg wraps? What about Caroline Zhang's poor take-off technique on her 3-lutz?
     
  16. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Messages:
    916
    The ISU is really using Harding as an example of poor skating skills? What in the world? Her crossovers were powerful, and she wasn't using more crossovers than her competitors, in fact probably even less. Yamaguchi for one had probably twice as many in her programs.

    Not getting this at all. I mean, her skating skills were insane, and that's how she managed to achieve what she did. Two Olympics, world medal. Tonya certainly didn't achieve what she did based on long accepted ideas of pretty princess programs, music selection or body. It was her undeniable skills on the ice. It's strange, maybe these people don't remember her or didn't see her skating live. I can vouch for the power, speed, edge run, spins, and of course jumps. Her footwork was not so great, but it wasn't due to poor skills. She focused on other things. But her skills were NEVER in question. Or at least I never thought so, who'da thunk?

    There are many clips on YT of Tonya just practicing. She was an amazing skater. I mean, you looked at Holly Cook or Tonia Kwiatkowski and you thought "NEXT". With Tonya you might have thought "next world champion". And that was despite her awful costumes, hair, music cuts, program wtf's.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  17. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,756
    :rolleyes:

    The ISU is using Harding as an example of a skater with poor flow because she (1) had poor flow and (2) was a silver medalist at Worlds.

    I'm sure that the ISU could dig up an example of some recently retired low-ranked skater with poor flow, but that would only serve to humiliate someone who never accomplished as much as Harding did.
     
  18. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Messages:
    916
    Thanks for letting us see Harding's 'weakness'. It was almost crazy when they are saying no transitions on her video when she's doing one and into a 3loop for fecks sake. In a world where black is white and up is down, I'm guessing I'm following the ISU's BS too.
    And run of the edge? Did Harding have a peer in 91/92?
     
  19. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    12,509
    I've never paid attention to those things, but I think I see why they used her as an example.
    She has deep edges, but doesn't hold her edge in her crossovers. So, she does many crossover (too much). And her knee action is sometimes out of sync. But well, in competition, sometimes, your knees are not doing exactly what you want, lol.
    In the step department, there is nothing else than 3 turn. And her 3 turns are almost always jumped...
     
  20. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,829
    ^^ Yikes, the nitpicky icky state of affairs in figure skating. Please bring figures back so these rampant and "poor" examples, and nitpicky exposes of "poor skating skills" can be eliminated for once and for all!!! Down with the exposes, the inexcusable clips, the "poor skating skills" and the lousy skaters too! D**n, why can't everyone be Patrick Chan?!

    :lol: If Tonya gets whiff of this, I can just hear her rebellious response to such relentless vituperation: "How much responsibility do you think I need to take? I paid my debt to society [i.e., to figure skating] ... How much punishment do you think I need to go through?" *

    Oh well, I guess Tonya never learned how to be polite and politically correct when talking to the media either. ;) Her anger and seeming unrepentant stance is palpable, but this is from a 2009 video. Perhaps she's mellowed a bit since having a baby. I haven't been following her much post 1994, except for the odd headline or newsflash. And, I haven't walked in her shoes either. I did like her skating, and at first I didn't believe she had anything to do with the "whacking." But, I guess she will always be blamed much moreso than her ex-husband and the "whacker for hire." It would be good if she could learn how to rise above it all and forgive herself and her detractors. Still, I think using her as an example of "poor skating skills" is unnecessary.

    *Quoted from a 2009 Harding interview with Real Sports
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  21. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,615
    If her early results are any indication, Tonya was more accepted by international judges than her own country.

    The USFSA wanted their skaters to be princess - packaged like Sumners and Fleming. Even skaters like Zayak caught a lot of heat for being too athletic. Tonya, with her fireball presence, was closer to Manley and Ito.

    As an aside, I always wondered if there hadn't been the scandal, how Harding would have done in Lillehammer had she skated clean. My guess is that with the amazing short program she produced at Skate America 1993, and with a 5 or 6 triple free, she could have taken silver or bronze.
     
  22. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,829
    Yes, and thanks for the clip. As already noted, Tonya did perform transitions during her crossovers, but fine, or not so fine that she could have worked on eliminating her short strides. I don't think this "failing" was due to any lack of "skating skills," but more perhaps lack of attention to improving that aspect of her skating. Same goes for Tonya's footwork, as also previously noted by another poster. In any case, when does a learned habit cross the line from a unique characteristic to a deleterious fault? Wonderful clip of Mao, but again her style is quite different altogether anyway. No one skates like Mao, and despite her absolute loveliness and her light ethereal qualities, Mao is not a perfect skater either. I love her nonetheless. And, I've always enjoyed Tonya's skating, tho' not so much her personality.

    Still, re Vagabond's comments: ISU, rehabilitate, not humiliate!

    I wonder if the "poor" young girl cited in the lack of "sureness" clip was ever able to live it down, or at least learn how to be more sure!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvSqpY2b_I8&feature=relmfu

    I love that Delobel/ Schoenfelder clip. D**n right, they were SURE and confident in their skating! But that side-by-side of good/bad ice dance teams. Oh well, maybe the "poor" skaters cited learn from being singled out so demonstratively. And if it helps train clueless judges ... Still, better to use someone other than Harding for the "poor" flow example. And yeah, stop pickin' on lady backflip!
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  23. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,747
    I think the point is that in that particular clip Harding showed weaker flow in her skating than in other skaters we might compare to -- such as Asada -- so we can see the difference between good and not-so-good flow.

    That doesn't mean that Harding never showed better flow than in that clip, or that she didn't have other strengths to her skating, or that her skating skills in general were "poor" in the greater scheme of things.

    Just that flow is a quality judges should be looking for, and if you're not sure what we mean by that term, here are contrasting clips of two world-medalist skaters, one for whom this particular quality was not a strong point and one for whom it was.

    Not to say this is a good skater, this is a bad skater. There are lots of other criteria under Skating Skills not to mention all the other components as well, and they're all on a continuum, not either/or good/bad. Since most of the examples are from elite skaters, in most cases they will be between good and not-so-good, but few as outright bad as would be seen at lower levels.

    Surely if the videos had been made in 1991 or 92, Harding would have been included in more clips to make other points as well, hopefully some positive as well as negative.

    For examples of good flow among skaters Harding competed against, I guess I'd choose Yuka Sato, or Jill Trenary if we need an American.
     
  24. Plusdinfo

    Plusdinfo Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    53
    Tonya's skating certainly was exciting, and in hindsight, I think her collection of jumps has the most bang of any lady ever. Maybe Midori's triple axel and triple toe-triple toes were more dynamic, but when you account for all six types of triples, I think Tonya had the most height, ice coverage, and speed coming out.

    I didn't agree with most people who bashed Tonya's presentation half, though she didn't have the best choreography. As some on FSU have noted, just look at some of her programs from the 80s and marvel at how complete a package she was.

    I'm grateful that I got to watch the last few years of Tonya's career on TV as they were happening, and I certainly enjoy turning to her programs more than those of most of her contemporaries.

    The U.S. was packed with talent in the early 90s in the ladies' field, wasn't it?!
     
  25. muffinbiscuit

    muffinbiscuit Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Messages:
    185
    Just a note regarding abusive parents at the rink. There was a skater, Michelle Cho, the '93 Jr. Camp [and I believe she won the Novice title also], who was being abused by her mother and grandmother for not landing jumps. She was a student of John Nicks. One day she had had enough and asked a skating parent for help. That parent called Child Services and they took Michelle away. She never skated again and I don't know what her future was. But, at least someone had the courage to act.
     
  26. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,592
    Yeah, when you can have five different ladies on the podium at two consecutive Worlds, the talent field is obscenely deep
     
  27. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    8,928
    Wow. How old was she? My thought about Michelle Cho is that she sets a good example for youth in taking action when your living situation becomes unacceptable. And good for the other parent she went to for not trying to "smooth things over" but instead taking decisive action.
     
  28. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,829
    Not to mention the American ladies sweeping the Worlds podium in 1991 (partly due to Ito falling out of the rink during her short program).

    I appreciate your comments gkelly. The clip used by ISU is not as bad in context as Aussie Willy's comments implied. Certainly, Tonya's skating skills are not as "poor" as implied either. Interestingly, I don't think such videos would have been utilized circa 1991 and 1992, because in my estimation the sport was in a holding pattern of sorts. TPTB seemed to never address issues re rules, training, judging practices, etc., over the years until scandals hit the fan and they were more or less forced to make changes.

    For example, creation of the short program in 1973 to deal with the outcry over Janet Lynn's singles skating majesty vs Trixi Schuba's genius at tracing figures. And, the infamous 2002 Olympic scandal which led to all the current problems with CoP. If they had paid attention much sooner to the inadequacies of the former judging system (which had not been substantially changed or thoroughly examined for decades), there would have been more time and opportunity to address and apply changes with a great deal more analysis, testing and foresight, rather than ramming a system into place so fast that it has adversely impacted the sport. Yes, IJS/CoP is not completely bad, but it is disastrous in subtle and not so subtle ways. They made a mistake rushing a revolutionary and untried system into place that has had to constantly be retooled, rethought and re-legislated season after season.

    In 1990, largely because of the demands of television, the sport completely did away with figures. I feel they should have considered keeping it as a separate discipline, and also requiring skaters to continue practicing figures as part of their training, and simply eliminate figures as a singles event in competitions. Why is Patrick Chan so scary good with his edges, stroking and flow? As we all know, because his coaches made him practice figures (and also because he just has a gift too, of course :cheer:). But still he might not be so stratospherically great with skating skills if he hadn't been made to practice figures. I doubt there would be so many current problems with skaters flutzing and lipping, if they all had been required to practice figures as part of their overall training.

    During Tonya's era and even decades before, there wasn't that much detailed scrutiny IMO by either judges or fans, as there is today re the finer technical aspects of skating. Fans are so much more knowledgeable (largely because of the explosion of the Internet, and as well the startling consistency of the legendary Michelle Kwan -- her consistency lent itself to a detailed examination by fans of the finer points of her skating). Being able to watch and re-watch videos allowed us to distinguish more clearly between all of the jumps and the in-betweens, the spins, the stroking and edging, and the technical requirements of launching into jumps. We have also been able to look back at skating through the years which has provided us with an even more profound perspective.

    Obviously, the new rules and scoring fluctuations require that judges be more knowledgeable and that they learn how to assess what skaters do on the ice with greater insight and clarity. And again, in fs, the challenge of judging fairly will always be complicated by subjectivity and politics.

    Overlong post but I have a lot to say on the subject ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  29. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,829
    ^^
    Still, I wonder why it was necessary to make a comparison between skaters who skated in different eras for this particular demonstration of flow. Also, why the emphasis on the "poor" example having to be that of a former medalist? Again, IMHO, historically and currently there is not a great deal of good judgment being utilized by TPTB in their decision-making processes, even on the level of simply putting together training videos for judges. They should correct their mistake by actually showing the aspects of Harding's skating where she excelled, or just don't use her at all as an example of anything. After all, if I was "banned for life" from a sport, believe me I would NOT be happy about old videos being shown of my skating to demonstrate "poor" flow. At best, it was "poor" judgment to use a clip of her skating in a negative light. At worst, it could be described as "petty."

    Thanks muffinbiscuit for sharing that story. A good thing that the young skater was able to find the courage to ask someone for help and that she was removed from her abusive home. Perhaps she never wished to skate again due to the possible bad memories she may have associated with training at the rink. Too bad for Tonya that she was not "removed" from the dangerous abuse she suffered. Yes, it was a different era that Tonya grew up in.

    I don't recall if it was ever proven that Tonya encouraged the "whacking" herself, or whether her former husband came up with the idea and talked her into it. Either way, she was victimized throughout her young life, and she seemed to respond with toughness, rebelliousness and sheer stupidity. Skating was likely a port in the storm for her. It could have been a way out and a ticket to salvation, but in the end that possibility was thwarted for her too. In a complicated way, altho' she felt threatened by her competition, it was her abusive mother, replaced by her abusive husband who was the real threat.

    I don't know whether Tonya has learned anything by what has happened to her either. It may have been better not to "ban" her, but to embrace her, to forgive her, and to help her forgive herself; to help her discover that she was/ is worthy, that her life had/ has value and meaning, that she didn't have to distrust everyone and fight with everyone and throw away her gifts. The exploitative nature of our culture combined with the fears and disdain of the skating community helped seal the lid on the trash can.
     
  30. Jasmar

    Jasmar Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    839
    I remember Michelle - was trying to recall her name a couple of weeks ago! I trial judged at 92 (?) Sectionals, where she was one of the top Novice ladies. She was breathtaking. I figured her for one of the new stars. Much more exciting than Kwan, who I think was a Junior that year.

    I remember being devastated when I heard about her home life, and that she'd left the sport. But glad she was rescued.

    Back to Tonya, she may have had shorter stride in her crossovers, but the power she generated in them was unreal. They never worked with her on lengthening them because, IMO, they didn't feel they needed to. It wasn't an issue back then, if one could display the power she did.