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  1. #1
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    Figure Skating related jobs

    Sooo ...

    This is my first post here, Though i've been regular at the ISU.com boards for a few years now, It seems that the larger population in these boards might help me answer this question better,
    I hope this is the right place for this thread, Didn't feel right to put it in main .

    So what are the jobs that are involved with figure skating that don't involve being a skater or a coach ?
    If someone like that wants a job and a life in Figure skating how would he go about that ?
    Are there any jobs that might involve traveling from competition to competition?

    Very interested in hearing the responses, And looking forward to writing here, A lot .

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    Are you in the US, or elsewhere? Some of the jobs working for the skating federations, such as the USFS, involve traveling from competition to competition. But you normally have to live/work in the location where the skating federation is located - Colorado for the USFS.

    I understand that there are, depending on the team, team doctors that travel to competitions.

    The technical specialists travel, and that's a paid position; but you can't make your living on it. It's not a full-time job.

    If you were a sports journalist/photographer, you might occasionally be assigned to a figure skating competition; but the brunt of your work would involve coverage of more popular sports.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    I would guess that most of the competition-to-competition jobs involve working for the ISU or the federation that hosts the competition(s). But from what I have seen at ISU and national/regional competitions, most of those jobs are done by people who have a full-time position with the host organization, and pretty much everything else is done by volunteers.

    There are probably also non-skating jobs (e.g. administrator, technical crew, publicity, costume/makeup) with the touring ice shows, but how easy or difficult it is to get one of those I really don't know. IIRC in Elizabeth Manley's book about being a professional skater, she mentioned that a lot of the crew people on the shows she was part of also worked on other kinds of touring shows, e.g. concerts. That can be full-time work but it also depends a lot on knowing the right people - who know your abilities and who can offer you work.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

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    USFS lists jobs on their website. They usually don't have too many listed at a time but it's worth a shot! You would have to move to Colorado.

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    Whilst coaches get paid for what they do, and rinks make money from skater entries, generally the sport is run by volunteers. That is not to say the volunteer roles don't have their rewards, but money isn't one of them.

    If I got paid for all the hours I put into the sport I would be a very rich woman indeed.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    There are also consulting roles to work with skaters. When I was working on my first degree, I taught ballet to some skaters. A friend of mine taught yoga at the rink that was near the college. A local photographer became the photographer of choice, as he worked very hard to study and understand action photography in ice rink settings. There are also music people, costume designers, makeup and hair specialists, etc.

    Now I have a friend who is a public relations freelancer. Among her clients are children who are good in various sports, including skating. She does media training for them and working on speaking skills. That is only a small part of what she does, but she does enjoy it.

    However, none of these people solely worked with skaters or in skating. They had other jobs, clients and roles that paid the bills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    The technical specialists travel, and that's a paid position; but you can't make your living on it. It's not a full-time job.
    Are you sure it's a paid position? I know judges are not paid; they just have their travel expenses covered. The announcers and music people are volunteers as well. The only people I see making money at figure skating competitions are the videographers, photographers and other vendors (such as skating dress and skate manufacturers).

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    Technical specialists are volunteer officials, too. It is not paid.

    For what it's worth, many skating photographers (talking the ones that travel competition to competition) do little more than break even. I know of very few that don't have "real jobs" and do skating events "on the side". For some, that "real job" is other photography, for many it isn't.

    The photographers that are at local level competitions and provide photography to sell to the hundreds of entrants at those events may make some money - I doubt they would do it if they didn't; however, many of the ones I know also shoot dance, gymnastics, etc, etc to fill up their schedules year round. Some events likely make money while some events likely lose money.

    I've had jobs in skating and jobs outside of skating and ultimately I've found that if you're passionate about the sport and want to be involved, then you can. You don't have to make your living in skating to greatly contribute to it and be deeply connected with it. I've taken vacation from my (non skating) job to volunteer at skating events, etc.
    Last edited by Erica Lee; 07-15-2010 at 08:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erica Lee View Post
    Technical specialists are volunteer officials, too. It is not paid.

    For what it's worth, many skating photographers do little more than break even.
    I believe it. I've talked to some of the videographers and they say there's no profit in that these days, either, especially since IceNetwork now regulates what they can charge and also gets all of their videos.

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    Any other sports related position that works on the conditioning and preparation of the skater would also have clients in other sports. These might include: personal trainer, yoga/aerobics/pilates instructor, dance/ballet instructor, nutritionist, sports psychologist, physical therapist. If you really are ambitious, you could go into sports medicine.

    You could also work at the rink in management, LTS program director, etc. My boss is a rink manager who also coordinates LTS and supervises the coaches. She is a business person and not a skater herself. Her job is FT.

    Kay
    www.skatejournal.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erica Lee View Post
    Technical specialists are volunteer officials, too. It is not paid.
    That is correct. They are another volunteer.

    I recently had to explain to someone that the judges don't get paid. They thought they did. We might get a small reimbursement to cover our travel expenses, but that is it.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Actually, I have information to the contrary. One of my friends is a judge in the US and she, of course, knows many technical specialists. According to her, they do get paid.

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    Take Speedy's job. You'll make absolutely squillions of dollars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erica Lee View Post
    Technical specialists are volunteer officials, too. It is not paid.

    For what it's worth, many skating photographers (talking the ones that travel competition to competition) do little more than break even. I know of very few that don't have "real jobs" and do skating events "on the side". For some, that "real job" is other photography, for many it isn't.

    The photographers that are at local level competitions and provide photography to sell to the hundreds of entrants at those events may make some money - I doubt they would do it if they didn't; however, many of the ones I know also shoot dance, gymnastics, etc, etc to fill up their schedules year round. Some events likely make money while some events likely lose money.
    Much of it is about making a niche for yourself. Like one of the physical therapists I know. She started with various clients in all sorts of sports, but eventually got the reputation as being very good with gymnasts so that is who really sought her out for her services.

    The club near where I used to live used primarily the same people over and over again. In turn the parents, grandparents, and some of the skaters and coaches began to use and request the services of the people who contracted there. For example, when I was doing ballet lessons I had one mom come to me and say she wanted private lessons for herself.

    With digital cameras and all most photographers are struggling. There are now too many inexperienced or just hobby people who think they can do it for a living. I would think videographers would be the same way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    Actually, I have information to the contrary. One of my friends is a judge in the US and she, of course, knows many technical specialists. According to her, they do get paid.
    I'm not sure what she would be referring to - we certainly didn't pay any of the tech specialists at our last competition. They got travel reimbursements, and the LOC provided lodging and food, just like all the other judges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clarice View Post
    I'm not sure what she would be referring to - we certainly didn't pay any of the tech specialists at our last competition. They got travel reimbursements, and the LOC provided lodging and food, just like all the other judges.
    Yes, that's what we do at our club's competitions also.

    At the international level they may get paid, though.

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    There was a proposal at USFS Governing Council to pay the Tech Panel (many of who are coaches) a stipend for National Caompetitions. Then judges got added on, then the accountants, ice techs and announcers - and the estimated costs went so high, it was defeated.

    Currently officials are reimbused for mileage to, from and during (hotel to rink and back, for multi-day competitions) events, if they drive or make their own travel arrangements. The club also pays for officials housing and meals during the competition. Accountants receive reimbursement for computer and printer usage (unless the club supplies those), paper and copying. But other than those reimbursements, officials are NOT paid for their services.

    I'm pretty sure that applies to the IOC events as well.
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    I keep my ears (and web browser) open to check regularly for figure skating related jobs. I mostly check out coaching and director positions, but I have seen others. I post them when I find them.

    There are jobs with the USFSA, PSA and ISI that aren't coaching-related, such as coordinating the Basic Skills/WeSkate program, doing graphic design, web development, managing the online portals like IceNetwork, coordinating athlete competition travel and training sessions.

    There are also occasional positions with media, like ESPN or NBC, but those are usually temporary back office jobs like editing videos and marketing.

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    ^ Question... If an event is in your area, how do you volunteer for it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by smarts1 View Post
    ^ Question... If an event is in your area, how do you volunteer for it?
    Contact the local club that is sponsoring the event. They're always looking for help, and will be happy to point you in the right direction!

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