I always root for the veterans - even if I didn't like them when they were young/in their prime. There's something inspiring about someone who'd done all that already and keeps going, whether for the love of the sport, the competition or to challenge onself.
I cheered for Dara Torres. I cheered like mad (in front of my computer) for 38 year old decathlete Roman Sebrle last week in Helsinki. I loved it that almost-30 Kevin VDP had a great competition in Nice.
Of the athletes mentioned above, I belive 37-yo Chusovitina won a medal at this year's Euros. Butyrskaya won her world title at age 26 and her last Euro title at almost-30.
Todd Eldredge won a medal at worlds at 29-1/2. I think that's the oldest for a single skater in post-figures skating. Stojko was 28 when he won the silver in 2000.
I think that the wear-and-tear of modern skating will not allow someone to still be competitive in their 40s. Today's skating requires triples (for all) and quads (for men) and just practicing them puts a huge toll on skaters' bodies. It is no wonder Plushy is glued together many times over.
It used to be that pairs and dance were easier on the body (I said easi-er, not easy), but I think the contortions and variations erequired by CoP are atking their toll on them, as well. Note how many pair/dancers have been waylaid by injuries in the past few years.
Maybe on a national level someone could go on (and win titles) to their 40s, but not in international competition.
I have been very fortunate over many years to be able to see various elite eligible skaters practice and train with their coaches. Setting ice dance aside, the beating that triples and especially quads deliver to the body is amazing.
It doesn't show as much in competition/performance because that's when the skater does his or her ultimate best to make it look easy and flowing; we're seeing the finished product, not the daily pounding it takes to get there. The torque, the force all going into the landing on a single blade edge takes a huge toll on backs, hips, etc. That's not even counting the number of falls and failed jumps it takes in practice to achieve the hardest jumps - every day!
This also goes for the force that throw jumps have on ladies skating pairs. The first time I saw up close Elena B. practicing throw triples with Anton I was stunned at how much force and energy her body had to absorb on each landing and how much abuse it took on each failed attempt when she fell - and it's over and over and over.
Most elite skating is a very high impact sport.
Last edited by Willowway; 07-03-2012 at 04:00 PM.
^^^ Remembered Kristy Krall telling a reporter that the impact of a quad is like a huge fridge falling on you! Don't know how Iron Man Plushenko managed to survive his quads all these years.
We can have veteran (for those over 40) competitions so that for those who enjoy and still can figure skate with a few tricks and moves, can continue to do so. If they can have juniors, why not veterans?
Petrova/Tikhonov competed into their thirties. I think Alexei was 36 when they retired. Maybe 35.
"Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden
The Protopopovs were in their thirties when they won their first OGM. After 2 OGMs they continued to skate well into their 60's or 70's. Although they were not competing then, they did compete in the pros when Ludmilla was 47 and Oleg was 51.
However, in the eligible ranks it will be tough to compete when someone is over 40.
Still, not too shabby:
"Dara Torres will be watching the Summer Olympics from her home in Florida, instead of heading to her sixth games at the age of the 45.
The Cuban-American missed making a record sixth U.S. swim team by nine-hundredths of a second, finishing fourth in the 50-meter freestyle on the last night of the trials Monday."
There is no reason that skating could not develop events where people could compete longer. There could be events where people just do a short or just do a long or even bring back some figures! Not sure why there is no expansion of the discipline. We watch every conceivable distance and stroke of swimming at the Olympics, which is not exactly a thrill a minute.
I saw a recent video of Alexei Urmanov teaching - still has all triples and a beautiful 2 axel - if Jason Brown is a contender he certainly is. I don't think he is quite 40 yet!
Strangely enough, I had a dream the other night. Oksana Domnina's true birth year was revealed to be 1942, same year my mom was born. I was like "that chick is almost 70??? So. . . she won a world title with Shabby-Knees when she was like 60-something?"
BARK LESS. WAG MORE.
Long live Fumie Suguri!!!!
They have the Youth Olympics maybe they should have the Senior Olympics for advanced adult athletes ... but with a better name.