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  1. #1

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    Is fandom based strictly on skating?

    Just curious:

    How much does a skater's personality (or persona) have to do with your being a fan? Can you separate the skating from what you may think of them personally?

    I'll fess up, I've been turned off to certain skaters strictly based on their personas (although I truly try to rate their skating on just the skating).

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    I think it’s just easier to be or remain a fan of someone, who is a great skater, but also has a lovely personality. For me it would be hard to root for someone who is a complete A$$ (exaggerated example of course), even if the skating was great. Personally in such a case I would still respect and appreciate the skating, but wouldn’t cheer for that athlete. On the other hand I’d never become a fan of a skater based only on his/her personality.

    It’s just very nice if great skating comes along with great personality, even more as highly decorated athletes are role models for younger ones.

  3. #3
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    A lot of it is based on aesthetic appeal as well. I don't think that Brian Joubert would have such a huge fan base if he weren't so damn gorgeous.

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    Subjective fandom is based on self-identification in skaters' attitude and/or nationality. Sometimes you need someone to love in your life. But it can prevent from appreciating good qualities in other ones. The logic way is to consider the athletes as human beings like us, and focus on what they actually produce on the ice. Simple as.

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    I don’t think it’s that simple. If it goes into the direction that fandom is only or mostly related to personality or looks, then you choose the right word for it – it’s subjective fandom and probably the motivation for it to a very high level is not correlating with love for figure skating.

    However, we all have personal values we adhere to, and I simply can’t imagine myself enjoying a skater who for example numerous times made racist statements towards others.

    And given the fact that most people have similar values which they deem to be good, if performances are equally good, you’d rather like to see the good and fair ones winning. I think it’s a natural feeling ("Good beats bad one" - Hollywood makes a living out of it! ).

    So if you take the very negative aspect, i.e. a skater is behaving very unethical, it's probably rather logical that he will not have many fans (think e.g. of Tonya Harding).

    However, the very critical thing about this is that our opinion on the athletes is mostly generated by the media, messages boards and short personal observations during competitions.

    BTW - great topic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katarzyna View Post
    However, we all have personal values we adhere to, and I simply can’t imagine myself enjoying a skater who for example numerous times made racist statements towards others.
    it's the eternal dilemma of "separating the man from his artistic/athletic achievements". i used to be a champion in "not separating them" (especially with celebrities who get charged of tax evasion ), then eventually changed my mind but yea, it's a complicated issue.

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    I think I have to like a skater personally to be a fan. I can certainly handle it if they aren't 'perfect' (who is) but as long as they aren't a complete ass and aren't mean. I know some people complain about certain athletes 'arrogance' as a reason they hate them but I've always believed you sometimes need a bit of that to succeed. It can be a cold, brutal world as an athlete and you need to be able to believe in yourself and let the crap people say role off you or it can ruin you in more ways than one. I can also certainly appreciate someones talent and not like them as a person but I can't root for them or really enjoy what they do.

  8. #8

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    Talking about tax evasion makes me think of Gary Beacom, yes I'm still a fan. Tonya Harding? I wasn't a great fan to begin with. I prefer voidy skaters over the classicists, and skaters who skate with abandon over technicians. I don't care if they are likable or PC as long as they are committed to their skating.

    The skaters who can't make up their mind whether they want to compete or not turn me off the most.

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    I started out being a fan of skaters whose skating projected an image I enjoyed identifying with or that I found especially interesting artistically or especially beautiful or heartfelt.

    Since one of the above was Tonya Harding, I soon learned to separate the skating and the on-ice persona from the off-ice personality.

    As I learned more about skating, I came to enjoy what the skaters did with their blades as much or moreso than what they did with their above-the-knee artistry, althoughI still enjoy that as well.

    Really, I root for all skaters to do well. If I don't yet find them interesting, I root for them to become so.

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    I look at the skating first and foremost. They have to be good skaters. Then the use and interpretion of the music. And then do something original and different I am for that as well and can appreciate it.

    So if the skater does a program that really works for me, then I am a fan.

    Although if you wear over the boot tights and have a horrible leg line, it can turn me off. And be an arrogant shit on the ice (eg Plushenko and Amodio) that can also turn me off.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  11. #11

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    It's all skating for me. Okay, maybe not 100%. I'll admit that good looks certainly help.

    What a skater does in their personal life doesn't matter as long as they're not murdering anyone. Whether that skater is a complete bastard in real life means nothing. I can easily keep enjoying their skating as long as they keep putting out something I like.

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    I think if we talk ubers (or not ubers but really hardcore fans), skating comes first. You have to love somebody's skating to uber them, otherwise there is no point.

    However, personality does play a huge part as well. My example is Carolina Kostner - I used to love her and her skating and cheer for her to win everytime I saw her, but then one time I saw her in person and she acted beyond weird towards me. She lost me as a fan the same second.
    On the other hand, I LOVE Alban Preaubert only because of his personality, cause his skating quality was, you know, not the best out there. Personality is a huge factor when it comes to my love to the Kerrs as well - I mean, I loved their skating too, but it was their personality that made me a truly devoted fan.

    But when it comes to ubering - and over the years I think I've only ubered Drobiazko/Vanagas and Davis/White - you have to love both the skating and the personality.

    Another thing is that usually a skater's personality affects their skating, so it's hard to separate these things like that.

    Also, there is one exception from everything I said here and it's Yagudin. I don't care if he's arrogant and hides in a bus so he doesn't have to sign autographs (that happened to me), he is a skating god for me and I worship him. I really couldn't care less about his personality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mia joy View Post
    However, personality does play a huge part as well. My example is Carolina Kostner - I used to love her and her skating and cheer for her to win everytime I saw her, but then one time I saw her in person and she acted beyond weird towards me.
    you made me curious with this but it's ok if you don't wish sharing details.
    Yagudin (seems) arrogant? well, i'm weird, but it just makes him hotter

    btw, i think that in many cases in life, especially when you don't know well someone, it's always better to say "that guy acted arrogantly" rather than "he's arrogant". even a wonderful person can look hateful in bad moments.

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    For me, on-ice persona comes into play. I never liked Totmianina/Marinin because she seemed so cold and he wasn't exactly a poster-boy for expressive, either. On the flip side there's Leonova. I know she's not the best skater out there but she enjoys performing and really tries to sell her programs, and I like that. As for their off-ice personalities, well, I don't know any skater personally, so I don't really take that into consideration. Suzuki could be a snotty bitch IRL and I'd still enjoy watching her skate. (Although, for the record, I'm sure she's anything but.)
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

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    I'm new to being a skating fan but it's fun to watch fandom though my skater. She loves skaters she has met and seen live who were nice and then she loves reading their bio's /blogs and the ones who have similar interests float to the top. She can tell you which skater loves golf or chess or tennis and the ones who love math and science - who has had a bird as a pet and who can't have a pet. From there she loves their skills. Very much a young fan!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macassar88 View Post
    A lot of it is based on aesthetic appeal as well. I don't think that Brian Joubert would have such a huge fan base if he weren't so damn gorgeous.
    I saw a picture of Brian Joubert naked on google images last night, but I'm not sure if it's really him, or if someone just photoshopped his head onto a naked body.

  17. #17
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    Much of the time, it is the strictly skating for me. But if at some point I've met a skater, and find them to be a nice and decent human being, that will make me a full-on fan, even if their skating is second tier or below. If I've met one that come across as obnoxious, or hear of other people who's opinion I trust negative experiences with said skater, it will sometimes influence my like or dislike of their skating, as prejudicial as that may be. I try to base my thoughts at least on personal experience, and not based on public interviews or such, which can be influenced by cultural differences, etc. But no matter how great their skating, it is somewhat hard for me to enjoy watching someone I perceive to be a jackass.
    I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.~W. C. Fields

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    I saw a picture of Brian Joubert naked on google images last night, but I'm not sure if it's really him, or if someone just photoshopped his head onto a naked body.
    I am pretty sure it is a fake, I never remember hearing about any photos or him posing. I am off to look though, fun to pretend!

    Oh wait, unless you are talking about the photos of him where you can see like half his butt cheek? Those are real. I was thinking full frontal..or more like wishing.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

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    Quote Originally Posted by martyross View Post
    ...
    btw, i think that in many cases in life, especially when you don't know well someone, it's always better to say "that guy acted arrogantly" rather than "he's arrogant". even a wonderful person can look hateful in bad moments.
    I think this is a really good point. We are observing these skaters under a unique set of circumstances: when they are under intense pressure, are exhausted from competing, and are meeting several people they don't know.I have said and done things I regret, and I am just lucky that I only have to answer to the people who know me well. I have a chance to apologize and make up for my mistakes. I'm also shy and socially awkward, so I know I can come off as cold in my first few interactions with a person. I have heard that Carolina is a bit shy, so maybe that is what was going on in that situation? A lot of the commentators have made a point of mentioning how sweet she is.

    Sometimes a skater may say or do something that rubs me the wrong way, but I try to remember that I don't know that person nor do I know what might have motivated them to say or do what they did and also that I may just be bothered by those things for my own reasons. On the other hand, if a skater has a personality that I find endearing, then it will draw me to their skating more.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bournekraatzfan View Post
    I think this is a really good point. We are observing these skaters under a unique set of circumstances: when they are under intense pressure, are exhausted from competing, and are meeting several people they don't know.I have said and done things I regret, and I am just lucky that I only have to answer to the people who know me well. I have a chance to apologize and make up for my mistakes. I'm also shy and socially awkward, so I know I can come off as cold in my first few interactions with a person. I have heard that Carolina is a bit shy, so maybe that is what was going on in that situation? A lot of the commentators have made a point of mentioning how sweet she is.

    Sometimes a skater may say or do something that rubs me the wrong way, but I try to remember that I don't know that person nor do I know what might have motivated them to say or do what they did and also that I may just be bothered by those things for my own reasons. On the other hand, if a skater
    has a personality that I find endearing, then it will draw me to their skating
    more.
    True. There are also cultural differences to consider. I've said or done things in other countries that have raised eyebrows but were normal to me.

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