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  1. #41
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  2. #42
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    The Girl Who Played With Fire

    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.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by layman View Post
    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.
    What about Oksana Baiul?

    I love Tara, but
    I hear outside a million panicking birds, and know even out there comfort is done with; it has shattered even the stars, this creature at last come home to me.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by orientalplane View Post
    What about Oksana Baiul?

    I love Tara, but
    Oh yes their stories seem very comparable. Oksana did shoot to the top quickly as well (but I think Tara still holds the record for youngest ever), yet in some important ways, I think their stories diverge. Oksana was so much of an "annointed one" in Lillehammer that all she really needed to do was to stay on her feet to win (which to her credit she managed to do). Tara was never an "annointed one," she was the spoiler, the villianess.

    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.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by layman View Post
    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.
    Well said. And I agree especially with the last paragraph...one thing common among the best champions is the will to win, the determination, the drive, the consistency. That's one thing I'm not seeing in our ladies right now. Nagasu for instance has the talent to rise to the top but I do not see in her the killer mentality that you saw in Kwan or Slute before they took the ice. Sometimes you just have "it", and "it" is something that cannot be taught or instilled by any coach.

    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.

  6. #46
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    Also, did anyone see the comment by "Anonymous" at the end of the third part?

    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.
    Hmm. I'd love to hear thoughts on this.

    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?

  7. #47

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    Well, to be fair, Michelle has a quite a few more fans than Tara and is considerably more famous.

  8. #48

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    The main difference between Tara and Oksana is Tara could do combinations...
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by RD View Post
    Also, did anyone see the comment by "Anonymous" at the end of the third part?



    Hmm. I'd love to hear thoughts on this.

    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?
    Awww, good for Tara for being so giving to her fans! Super cool

    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?!? )

  10. #50
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    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.

  11. #51
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    Thanks so much for posting this, it was a great interview!

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Well, to be fair, Michelle has a few more fans than Tara and is considerably more famous.
    This has nothing to do with it. Tara is highly famous and recognizable. Michelle has been writing a masters thesis--a full time assignment-- while traveling for the government and performing. She has had little time to cultivate an internet presence. Her actual presence is probably a couple fulltime jobs.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    This has nothing to do with it. Tara is highly famous and recognizable. Michelle has been writing a masters thesis--a full time assignment-- while traveling for the government and performing. She has had little time to cultivate an internet presence. Her actual presence is probably a couple fulltime jobs.
    Exactly what I was going to say. Michelle has been extremely busy, she has a lot going on in her life.


    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.

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    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by foreverkwanfan View Post
    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.
    I think that was the season that Sasha was training the quad and tried the triple lutz-triple toe in the Olympic freeskate (although she fell on it). So I guess one could say she was "pushing the technical envelope," at least for that season. She didn't totally develop the reputation for never skating clean until later.
    "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

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheylana View Post
    I also get the feeling [MK] 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.
    Hmm...interesting.

    Weir seems like another high-profile skater who genuinely appreciates fans.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by foreverkwanfan View Post
    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.
    My take is that she saw a fighting spirit in Sasha and identified with it. Unfortunately Sasha had severe consistency issues. You knew she would fall at least once, it was only a question if it would be a SashaMeltdownTM. Her Skate America performance in 2001 was unfortunate, with all the quad buildup, but she had nearly performed it at Finlandia earlier that season. IIRC Sasha did MANY competitions that season including the two above, and Goodwill Games, and another GP, maybe even another. She had a fierce determination to get her name back up there after missing the 2005 Nationals and Worlds. And her presentation was exquisite. I was hoping Sasha would skate clean at Olys, didn't mind if Kwan put it together and won, but was so anti-Slutskaya and anti-Hughes. Of course the latter won Oly gold and silver which shows I can't root against someone or they will win.
    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

  17. #57
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RD View Post
    Also, did anyone see the comment by "Anonymous" at the end of the third part?



    Hmm. I'd love to hear thoughts on this.

    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?
    Don't start this crap. Enough.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheylana View Post
    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.
    It's probably just her personality, no big deal. Also even at 14 she had her crazies on the internet who probably scared her. I remember one guy who seemed obsessed with her to an almost creepy degree. I'd be creeped out too if a grown man was following around a 14 y/o girl (and she really was just a 'girl' then). After another ten years of it, maybe she was jaded or just wanted to get the heck off the ice.

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by RD View Post
    Also, did anyone see the comment by "Anonymous" at the end of the third part?



    Hmm. I'd love to hear thoughts on this.

    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?
    RD, Tara did link Part 3 of the interview (on Twitter) this afternoon.

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