That’s the best skating interview that I have ever read! There’s no doubt in my mind that that was Tara Lipinski. She’s absolutely one of a kind. Can’t fake that.
She was so giving and so candid in that interview. Many of us have wondered for over a decade what was really going on behind the scenes in Tara’s camp. There have been volumes upon volumes of rumors (some volumes published as books) on the subject and I love the way Tara came out and set the record straight. Her honesty and candor speak volumes about her personality. You can’t fake that.
People have long wondered, “How did she do it?” How did she shoot to the top so quickly, in a way that no skating star has ever done before or since. I think this interview reveals exactly how she did it.
She gave 200%. When her chief competitors concentrated on doing “just enough” to win, Tara had it as her goal and her mission to go way beyond “just enough.” She was driven, ultra-competitive…there was absolutely no way that she would settle for anything less than the best from herself. She was always willing to go the extra mile and a half. That’s how she did it. No big secret. No backstage politicking. No mystery.
For some she will probably always be a villain, the girl who would not wait her turn, the girl who snatched the gold medal out from underneath the nose of America’s sweet heart (the girl who played with fire)…but to me, Tara Lipinski was a breath of fresh air. In an age of storybook endings and pre-determined outcomes, she came along and reminded everyone that figure skating is a sport.
Everyone wonders what our current girls are doing wrong. What do they need to do to get to the top? How can they overcome their inconsistency? I think they could get a long way by borrowing a page or two from Tara’s book.
"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust." ~ 'A Modest Proposal' ~ Jonathan Swift
I will say that Oksana was just as intense artistically (she was the original "Black Swan" after all) as Tara was technically and I think more than anything else, it was that intensity that drove these ladies to the top.
I would like to see some of our current girls develop this kind of intensity, whether it be artistic or technical, it would definitely carry them to the top as well.
Last edited by layman; 07-24-2011 at 12:52 AM.
Maybe on the other extreme you've got someone like Wagner who wants it sooo bad she lets her training and muscle memory escape her when the pressure is on. But besides that, she has many technical issues holding her back.
I think the biggest issue, though, is the NJS. With the judging system being more and more picky, the routines that would have won 10 years ago won't even get you a podium finish now. We need talented skaters that have skated their WHOLE LIVES under revised NJS. Our current girls just have way too many issues that are getting picked apart under the NJS that they've really no shot any more. We must start over.
Also, did anyone see the comment by "Anonymous" at the end of the third part?
Hmm. I'd love to hear thoughts on this.I really love this interview, but there is one factor in this Michelle vs Tara fan war that I have never seen mentioned. Am I the only one who has noticed, going back ten years all the way to now, that as die hard as Michelle's fans are, she is no where near as in contact with them as Tara is to her fans ? For years following skating dating back to the late 90s, I have contacted both Tara and Michelle for an autograph, a picture, a letter, ect, and the only one who ever sent more than a photocopy of an actual autograph was Tara. Repeatedly. She sends hand written thank you cards to fans who have sent gifts, signs pictures if you send them to her, ect. She seems to be much more appreciative of her fans than Michelle. When I met Michelle, I was very disappointed. She is not at all what I thought. This coming from a die hard Michelle fan. AJ, try to get Michelle to do an interview. It will never happen. I will love Kwan's skating forever, but I am no longer fooling myself about the person she is.
True, Lipinski has an official site and is now on Twitter (aside: I find it curious that she has not linked to the interview yet) while Kwan is virtually nonexistent on the net except for the every-once-in-a-blue-moon Christmas greeting to the MKF. But it might have to do with the amount of fans each has?
Well, to be fair, Michelle has a quite a few more fans than Tara and is considerably more famous.
The main difference between Tara and Oksana is Tara could do combinations...
If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted, I wish I had some ice cream.
As for Michelle, trying to argue that she's not appreciative of her fans is a losing argument. Not sending personalized letters to every fan who contacts her with everything going on in her life means nothing. sour grapes I say (and when did celebrity fans start feeling so entitled?!? )
It's just so rare to find a celebrity who TRULY appreciates fans, and this isn't about responding to every personal letter or request, since in most cases that would be impossible...simply taking the time to converse with them through some form of media, personalizing autographs, holding contest giveaways, etc. is what I'm talking about. Most important, though, is how they treat fans in person. How many times have I heard of someone being a big fan for years...finally getting the chance to meet him/her/them...and leaving disappointed?
I will say I feel that much more appreciative of those who DO take the time to converse/interact with fans regularly, send personalized thank-yous/autographs in the mail, or initiate an actual conversation if you meet them in person. It is definitely not the norm. And it's not that those who don't do so are bad people or anything; it's just that those who do are that much better and fully deserve their fans
But yes, some fans do take it a step too far and think they're entitled to extra attention. These are often the fans who ruin it for everyone else.
As for Kwan, I just think she gets so much attention that it doesn't mean much to her any more. She's already been told she's the greatest so many times, so what's an additional message gonna do?
I have not met either Kwan or Lipinski, but I have encountered many other skaters, with mixed (mostly positive) impressions. On one hand, I have been blown away by those that took that "extra step" (these encounters really get me on cloud nine!), and I've also been left somewhat underwhelmed. Most are in the middle, though.
Last edited by RD; 07-23-2011 at 06:26 PM.
Thanks so much for posting this, it was a great interview!
In the interview Tara states that she wanted Sasha to win in 2002 which I find kind of strange. Sasha is not a good technician and was a weak competitor. I have had the impression that Tara likes skaters who are fierce competitors.
I just find that hard to believe since Tara stated that she doesn't understand how a skater can make more than one mistake, she seems to be a little tough on skaters so picking Sasha seems odd.
Agree that MK leads a very busy life and doesn't "owe" it to her fans to send personally autographed photos, etc. I imagine it gets overwhelming. I also get the feeling she doesn't like signing autographs--after 2005 Nationals medal ceremony she signed like two posters and skated off. Sasha signed only slightly longer. Johnny, on the other hand, was out there signing away and posing for photographs for as long as the arena folks allowed.
"Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode
I enjoyed reading this interview. Tara sounds down to earth and like someone you'd want to know. AJ did a great job with this one.
Last edited by Louise; 07-24-2011 at 01:16 AM. Reason: correction
You know, Cohen really didn't MELT DOWN very often. Sure, she sabotaged multiple chances at gold, but that's not equivalent to a meltdown by any means. Maybe the closest she got was 2006 worlds LP (and 2010 Nationals LP)
As we sink deeper and deeper into this ladies' slump, it's that much more impressive what she was able to accomplish even with her flaws.