Page 14 of 28 FirstFirst ... 4121314151624 ... LastLast
Results 261 to 280 of 556
  1. #261
    I <3 Kozuka
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Vancouver/Seattle
    Posts
    19,199
    vCash
    730
    Rep Power
    43906
    Quote Originally Posted by kwanette View Post
    There are only two boys in the Hughes family and Matt went to Ithaca College.
    I probably saw a photo of Dad Hughes and the two sons, and registered three sons.

    Ithaca College was pricey in those days: several of my high school friends had to turn down their physical therapy program, one of the best in the country (at least at that time), because it was so expensive, and they paid out-of-state tuition at state schools. So the principle is the same: parents who put older kids through college and paid for two elite skaters.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  2. #262

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    368
    Quote Originally Posted by Enero View Post
    This type of stuff always chaps my hide. Why does Tara have to give props to or acknowledge Kwan? She was her competition for heaven's sake.
    I never said Tara had to do anything. Hell, she stuck to her guns, did things her way, and she has a World and Olympic title to show for it. In terms of winning medals, whether you're skating's darling or not, it obviously isn't the be-all and end-all means to success--otherwise Michelle would be an Olympic champion.

    However, when it comes to winning over public favor and capturing the hearts of the masses, that is a totally different monster altogether, one that sometimes isn't related at all to actual results.

    There are many qualities that go into it, but take any beloved sports figure in history that has transcended their sport to some extent, and in 90% of those people the common denominator amongst all their public personas is a sense of modesty (some even deep humility) that people find incredibly appealing.

    Whether it's authentic or not, whether it's purely constructed PR or not, we like to root for those people. No one wants to root for a seemingly arrogant prick no matter how talented they are or how many titles they win.

    It's not surprising that the most beloved athletes in the world like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods (pre-scandal), Roger Federer, and yes, Michelle Kwan are essentially walking PR manuals. Yes, they have their detractors, but in the mainstream public eye, they are revered and loved, in large part because of this I would assert.

    And I'm not saying Tara is an arrogant prick or that she had no modesty. She could've been the nicest, most unassuming person in the world, but that's not the narrative that was being posited at the time.

    The reason for that was a combination of factors:

    1. With an affluent family with seemingly no personal stories of hardship to latch onto, Tara didn't have an "American Dream" story like Michelle or any easily relatable underdog narrative the media could exploit beyond the "youngest X, Y, Z, etc."

    2. Her mother was a constant source of bad PR, always making some statement or another about poor Tara being treated unfairly by the media and the skating establishment. And keep in mind these claims were always made in comparison to Michelle. That was always the barometer for these claims: Tara's not getting enough attention as Michelle, Tara's not getting the same endorsements as Michelle, why does Michelle get to present the team jacket and not Tara? and on and on it went. So, of course, this created an impression of undeserved entitlement, but more damaging, it set her up in direct opposition to skating's current darling.

    and

    3. Tara went to great lengths never to acknowledge Michelle (her biggest rival) in her press interviews, both before and after the Olympics. Now, let's remember this was the biggest rivalry in skating since maybe the Battle of the Brians, and to top it off, both of them were American. OF COURSE the media was going to try to get both girls to comment on each other, be it negatively or positively. Kwan played it safe of course, and acknowledged Tara's talent and congratulated her on her Olympic victory, thus adding to her public narrative of the humbled champion even in defeat.

    Tara, on the other hand, could barely muster up a "you too" in response before trying to redirect her answer to herself again. I'm not saying she was obligated to kiss Michelle's skates or anything, but to completely ignore your main competitor and refuse to acknowledge their contribution to that said rivalry, came off as delusional at best, and disrespectful at worse. And again, whether that was real or not, that's ultimately how it came off, especially when contrasted to Kwan's own effusive acknowledgement. It did Tara no favors in endearing her more to the public or media.

    And unfortunately, these factors combined, ended up constructing a narrative that a lot of people had trouble rooting for. Worst case scenario, it essentially became akin to rooting for a rich, spoiled teenage brat. And who wants to root for that?

    I never understood why people criticized Tara for this, Sasha too.
    I wasn't criticizing her, but merely pointing out that if you want mass admiration by fans and media alike, you need to give them something to root for, and humility goes a loooooong way in achieving that when there are few other compelling narratives to root for, which was the case with Tara, Sasha, and Sarah--three white teenage girls, all from affluent families.

    They had no American dream story, they weren't minorities in an all-white sport, they didn't have to overcome poverty or struggle heavily with finances to continue skating, they didn't overcome some major personal struggle (i.e. death, disease, injury, etc.)....what else is there to root for but personality alone?

    Sarah played the game and constructed a very likable, humble public persona.

    Tara, IMO...er, not so much.

    This is ultimately why I think Sarah generally had an easier time with the media and why fans, overall, didn't vilify her nearly as much as they did Tara or Sasha.

    It's not fair, sure, but that's the reality.

  3. #263
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    There's one near you!!! :)
    Posts
    3,952
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by DBZ
    Tiger Woods (pre-scandal),
    Roger Federer...are essentially walking PR manuals.
    That's pretty funny. I've heard so many things about the bad behavior Tiger displayed even before the latest scandal. And Roger Federer curses at tennis officials, does not lose graciously IMO, etc. And then you have Serena Williams, who is very popular but essentially the antithesis of a walking PR manual.

    And one time in an interview, didn't Nicole Bobek roll her eyes when Michelle started emoting about her Lyra Angelica program? If Tara had done that, she would have been promptly decapitated, if not by the interviewer, then by fans.

  4. #264

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    368
    Quote Originally Posted by neptune View Post
    That's pretty funny. I've heard so many things about the bad behavior Tiger displayed even before the latest scandal. And Roger Federer curses at tennis officials, does not lose graciously IMO, etc.
    Really? Only bad thing I ever heard about Tiger before his scandal was that he was a bad tipper. Other than that, the guy's public image was squeaky clean. I remember reading a SI article talking about how frustrated reporters were with Tiger because he gave them absolutely nothing in interviews/conferences. He always stuck to his PR script, and always gave the same pat, innocuous answers.

    Still, even if he was a less than admirable person, he still had a ton of compelling narratives people could root for, like being the first African-American golfer to win a major, and of course, his close relationship with his father. Tara didn't have those stories to draw upon.

    As for Roger, I've rarely seen him blow up at an official. I'm sure he has sometime in his career, which is understandable. He's human. But overall, he's always been extremely respectful to his opponents, has a deep reverence for the history of the game and the legends who played before him, and gives a lot back to the game through his foundation and charity work. So, not sure I agree with you there.

    And then you have Serena Williams, who is very popular but essentially the antithesis of a walking PR manual.
    Well again, she has other narratives to tell. She and Venus were the first African-American women since Althea Gibson to win a major in a predominately white sport, they changed the face of women's tennis with their style of play, and they had an amazing backstory--two black sisters growing up in the projects of Compton BOTH go on to become #1 in the world in doubles and singles. The story practically writes itself.

    Tara had none of those narratives to garner public appeal. Nothing even close.

    Well, every time I've tried to push a scared cow, it always ran away before I could even get anywhere.
    Well your cow didn't have a change-of-edge spiral, so no one would've cared anyway.

  5. #265
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    3,378
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    I'm a Kwan fan, but I don't have issue with Tara not saying much about Kwan when they were competitors. Kwan didn't really achieve the iconic status until well after Tara left the sport. Kwan only had 1 World and National title under her belt at that point. She benefited from a ton of publicity in the wake of Tonya/Nancy, thus raising her profile. But I would argue that the icon status came after more Worlds wins, and a bunch of National wins.

    Tara may have not wanted to engage in the rivalry posturing generated by the media and the USFA, and chose to demure when those questions were asked. Where one person might see that as refusing to acknowledge the talents of your closest competitor, others see it as a person that is focused on their own game and refusing to be baited.

  6. #266

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Infected with the joy of skating!!
    Posts
    10,551
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    14026
    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonfan View Post
    Tara may have not wanted to engage in the rivalry posturing generated by the media and the USFA, and chose to demure when those questions were asked. Where one person might see that as refusing to acknowledge the talents of your closest competitor, others see it as a person that is focused on their own game and refusing to be baited.
    Yes, it quickly could have gone south.

    As for refusing to acknowledge talents, I've always wondered how Tara felt about her Olympic victory being described as coming "from out of nowhere." She was the reigning world champ, and two time reigning Champion Series (Grand Prix) champion after all.
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

  7. #267
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    547
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonfan View Post
    I'm a Kwan fan, but I don't have issue with Tara not saying much about Kwan when they were competitors. Kwan didn't really achieve the iconic status until well after Tara left the sport. Kwan only had 1 World and National title under her belt at that point. She benefited from a ton of publicity in the wake of Tonya/Nancy, thus raising her profile. But I would argue that the icon status came after more Worlds wins, and a bunch of National wins.

    Tara may have not wanted to engage in the rivalry posturing generated by the media and the USFA, and chose to demure when those questions were asked. Where one person might see that as refusing to acknowledge the talents of your closest competitor, others see it as a person that is focused on their own game and refusing to be baited.
    I also completely agree with you. Tara didn't do anything wrong...to me, she was more well spoken than Michelle in interviews. All her interviews were delightful to watch.

    I don't really buy the need to have a hardship story to promote your image. If you can't deliver the goods consistently, no matter how privileged/underprivileged you are, no one would pay attention to you. Michael Phelps is a good example...he continues to get endorsements, minus the pot smoking incident.

    One can make a strong argument that America would have embraced Tara more than Michelle since she would be much more relatable. She's from Middle America, white, and a bubbly teenager who loves to shop and hang out with her friends. She could have been your daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, neighbor, and friend. I read somewhere that Nicole Bobek would have made more endorsements had she won the Olympics, perhaps more than Tara, Michelle, Kristie, Peggy, and Dorothy (of course, minus the meth incident).

    Like I said, Michelle's timing couldn't had been more perfect for her when America desperately needed the next skating hero. Tara was just a year or 2 years late. By the time Tara came to the scene, Michelle already had the backing and respect of the USFSA, Christine Brennan and other media folks. The only way Tara could have been more popular was for her to stay longer in the sport. Michelle did, Tara didn’t.

  8. #268

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Walking to Work
    Posts
    25,842
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    32560
    Quote Originally Posted by neptune View Post
    And one time in an interview, didn't Nicole Bobek roll her eyes when Michelle started emoting about her Lyra Angelica program? If Tara had done that, she would have been promptly decapitated, if not by the interviewer, then by fans.
    And WHERE did Nicole place in Nagano? And WHERE is she right now? She paid for that attitude. Not immediately, not directly, but it caught up with her, IMO.

  9. #269

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    7,397
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    4361
    Quote Originally Posted by Fan123 View Post
    ...
    I don't really buy the need to have a hardship story to promote your image. If you can't deliver the goods consistently, no matter how privileged/underprivileged you are, no one would pay attention to you. Michael Phelps is a good example...he continues to get endorsements, minus the pot smoking incident.
    ...
    While delivering the goods is the most important, I think the background story helps -- especially when dealing with two athletes, both of whom deliver relatively consistently. In that case, I think that the one with the better background story is the one more likely to be remembered.

  10. #270

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    7,157
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    44806
    Quote Originally Posted by IceJunkie View Post
    Yeah, I'm not sure how polarizing Kwan would be if she actually were outspoken.

    Now, like all great athletes, Michelle had to know how good she was. All great athletes have to be a bit cocky - her talent was never letting it show.
    I disagree. There is a difference between cocky and confidence.

  11. #271
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    547
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    While delivering the goods is the most important, I think the background story helps -- especially when dealing with two athletes, both of whom deliver relatively consistently. In that case, I think that the one with the better background story is the one more likely to be remembered.
    But Tara was never in the same equal playing field as Michelle in the eyes of the USFSA. In their eyes, Michelle really saved US figure skating. They even loved her more after she stayed in the sport, and Tara didn't. By the time Tara came to the scene quite late, Michelle was already cemented as their "it" girl.

    Forget about Tara...had Nicole helped the US to place top 10 at '94 Worlds, win Nationals and Worlds at '96, Olympic Gold at '98, and stayed in the sport, she would have been more popular than Michelle. The same for Sarah.

    Sociological studies have proven that people tend to gravitate toward people like themselves. Tara is Middle America, Michelle isn't. One can argue that Michelle's family immigrant background could have hurt her image as it did somewhat with Kristie, but Michelle is Michelle...she continues to be so darn good and well behave for 10 years in the sport. Like someone else said, if she did quit after '98, her marketability may be worth less.
    Last edited by Fan123; 08-12-2010 at 03:29 PM.

  12. #272
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,667
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by DBZ View Post
    There are many qualities that go into it, but take any beloved sports figure in history that has transcended their sport to some extent, and in 90% of those people the common denominator amongst all their public personas is a sense of modesty (some even deep humility) that people find incredibly appealing.
    That is very true. Of course, in addition to modisty and humility, you have to win. Maybe not every event, but you have to win much of the time.

    When Mao and Yu-Na are humble and modest, that gets noticed. When Cheltzie Lee and Kiira Korpi are humble and modest, people don't care as much.

  13. #273

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Some place competitive and athletic, but ultimately more like an audition than anything else.
    Posts
    7,787
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    19516
    IMHO, I always thought that Tara would have done better post-eligible skating with the media if she was more photogenic.

    Don't get me wrong. I only thought of this because I remember that Collin's fixed Nancy Kerrigan's teeth so that she could be the next face of figure skating circa 91-92 and the same thing was done to Midori circa 90-91, although she also had major jaw surgery.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 08-12-2010 at 03:51 PM.

  14. #274

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    7,397
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    4361
    Quote Originally Posted by Fan123 View Post
    But Tara was never in the same equal playing field as Michelle in the eyes of the USFSA. In their eyes, Michelle really saved US figure skating. They even loved her more after she stayed in the sport, and Tara didn't. By the time Tara came to the scene quite late, Michelle was already cemented as their "it" girl.
    ...
    Sociological studies have proven that people tend to gravitate toward people like themselves. Tara is Middle America, Michelle isn't. ...
    First, I don't think popularity necessarily depends on who the USFSA picks as their "it" girl.

    Second, I think that the only things "Middle American" about Tara are her skin color and where she lives (Texas and Detroit being more "middle American" than CA). There wasn't as strong a connection between US economic problems and China during Michelle's climb to fame as there was a connection between US economic problems and Japan during Kristi's rise (anyone recall the Vincent Chin case?)

    I also think, though, that the Kwan family (and the Hughes family) do a better job than the Lipinskis of exemplifying many of the things that "middle America" likes to value (or perceive itself as valuing). These are things like family solidarity, especially in dealing with crisis (Amy's breast cancer, as well as economic problems); hard work; education or other preparation for "real life"; manners/ sportsmanship. The Lipinski family's big sacrifice -- Pat living with Tara apart from hubby -- is not the kind of thig that "Middle America" would value, as it is not going to put skating up on the list of things that justify a separation between husband and wife.

  15. #275
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,921
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Polymer Bob View Post
    When Mao and Yu-Na are humble and modest, that gets noticed. When Cheltzie Lee and Kiira Korpi are humble and modest, people don't care as much.
    In Cheltzie's defense, well...not like she got an entire fluff-piece and both her short and long programs aired on NBC or anything

  16. #276
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sochi voids
    Age
    25
    Posts
    2,137
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    I don't really buy the need to have a hardship story to promote your image. If you can't deliver the goods consistently, no matter how privileged/underprivileged you are, no one would pay attention to you. Michael Phelps is a good example...he continues to get endorsements, minus the pot smoking incident.
    No, but it certainly helps. If you win, that's great. If you win and your mom was a crackhead and your dad was in a gang, had a mentor pull you out of it and now you're a champion, well that's even better.

    With Michael Phelps, it didn't matter who he was, the fact that he won a record 8 gold medals in one Olympics for the United States of America is what made him a superstar.

  17. #277
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    547
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by IceJunkie View Post
    No, but it certainly helps. If you win, that's great. If you win and your mom was a crackhead and your dad was in a gang, had a mentor pull you out of it and now you're a champion, well that's even better.

    With Michael Phelps, it didn't matter who he was, the fact that he won a record 8 gold medals in one Olympics for the United States of America is what made him a superstar.
    I agree with you for the most part, but from the very start, things were not equal for Tara when she came into the skating scene. Several big things Michelle had going for her that Tara never had: saving US skating from the Nancy/Tanya mess and staying much longer in the sport. She did these things while becoming the most decorated US figure skater in history.

  18. #278
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    547
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    First, I don't think popularity necessarily depends on who the USFSA picks as their "it" girl.
    Of course it does, the it girl gets the Grand Prix assignments, more media coverage and connection, sponsors/endorsements, and overall representation. The more support from your country or skating federation, the more appealing you would become in the eyes of judges, media, sponsors, and ultimately the fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    Second, I think that the only things "Middle American" about Tara are her skin color and where she lives (Texas and Detroit being more "middle American" than CA). There wasn't as strong a connection between US economic problems and China during Michelle's climb to fame as there was a connection between US economic problems and Japan during Kristi's rise (anyone recall the Vincent Chin case?)
    Middle America may not know of the Vincent Chin case. Middle America may rather lump Michelle and Kristie as Asians instead of their separate Asian ancestory. One can also argue that Middle America could have perceived Michelle in a negative light cuz of China's history of human rights violations. When I think of Middle America, I still do not see the likes of Michelle, Lisa Ling, Lucy Lui, or Ming-Na on the cover of mainstream magazines, sadly.

    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    I also think, though, that the Kwan family (and the Hughes family) do a better job than the Lipinskis of exemplifying many of the things that "middle America" likes to value (or perceive itself as valuing). These are things like family solidarity, especially in dealing with crisis (Amy's breast cancer, as well as economic problems); hard work; education or other preparation for "real life"; manners/ sportsmanship. The Lipinski family's big sacrifice -- Pat living with Tara apart from hubby -- is not the kind of thig that "Middle America" would value, as it is not going to put skating up on the list of things that justify a separation between husband and wife.
    So why do you think Michelle still has more respect and support than Sarah from the media and the US skating community despite their Middle American values?

  19. #279

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    7,397
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    4361
    Quote Originally Posted by Fan123 View Post
    ... Middle America may not know of the Vincent Chin case. Middle America may rather lump Michelle and Kristie as Asians instead of their separate Asian ancestory ...

    So why do you think Michelle still has more respect and support than Sarah from the media and the US skating community despite their Middle American values?
    I think that a lot of middle Americans may have been more conscious of prejudice during Michelle's era, since there was no corresponding economic "downside" conflicting with the message.

    As far as the differening treatment given Michelle and Sarah -- Michelle also had her longevity ... she was a 2-time Nat champ, 2 time World champ and OSM when Sarah was still in juniors. My points, though, are: (a)that Sarah could have had a lot more from the media, et. al. if she had gone for it (as opposed to leaving for college); and (b) Sarah did get more respect, etc. from the media than did Tara.

    Dick Button once mentioned that Michelle's appeal was that everyone wanted her for her daughter. Both Michelle and Sarah, IMO, represent what a lot of people want from their daughters -- nice girls, who got into good colleges, and were able to pay their own way.

  20. #280
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    547
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    I think that a lot of middle Americans may have been more conscious of prejudice during Michelle's era, since there was no corresponding economic "downside" conflicting with the message.

    As far as the differening treatment given Michelle and Sarah -- Michelle also had her longevity ... she was a 2-time Nat champ, 2 time World champ and OSM when Sarah was still in juniors. My points, though, are: (a)that Sarah could have had a lot more from the media, et. al. if she had gone for it (as opposed to leaving for college); and (b) Sarah did get more respect, etc. from the media than did Tara.

    Dick Button once mentioned that Michelle's appeal was that everyone wanted her for her daughter. Both Michelle and Sarah, IMO, represent what a lot of people want from their daughters -- nice girls, who got into good colleges, and were able to pay their own way.
    Hey attyfan, I agree that Michelle and Sarah are seemingly the most "cleanest" US ladies skaters among the elite, so being that they are equal in that arena, like you said, Michelle still stands on top cuz of her longevity. Michelle indeed was very special...she was America's skating darling for so many years, through the good and hard times. In many ways, the USFSA has a lot to owe her. I don't think they feel the same way for Tara, Nicole, Sasha, Sarah, Kristie, or Nancy.

Page 14 of 28 FirstFirst ... 4121314151624 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •