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  1. #41

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    Wishing Rachael the best! Hope she is able to make a complete recovery and enjoy her time at Stanford. Perhaps she will compete next year or not...it is her decision. While she isn't my favorite lady skater, I have certainly enjoyed some of her programs.

  2. #42
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    When will USFS treat skating as an actual sport and realize that putting so much pressure on these skaters to compete injured or face really bad consequences is unnecessary, unsmart, and potentially unsafe? .
    When hell freezes over, unfortunately. All that matters is winning medals.

    USFS does not give two hoots about their skaters' health, well-being, career, psyche etc. Skaters are treated like racehorses, and tossed to the side when injured/sick, and the "next big thing" is brought out from the wings. The cycle goes on and on and on........
    Last edited by demetriosj; 11-01-2012 at 01:30 PM.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by carriemarie View Post
    maybe it is time for her to re-evaluate what is best for her long term health ....
    Which is exactly what she says she's doing by withdrawing at this time.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    Regardless of the extent of her injury or what Rachael is thinking in regard to her career, the fact that she had to chose between competing injured in the next few days and ending her entire season is pathetic. USFS's old-fashioned rules strike again. To grant a skater a bye through to Nationals because they are strong enough to be competing at an international competition during the week of Sectionals and then to say "never mind, no bye for you" and punish the skater when she's injured and needs to withdraw is absolutely ridiculous. When will USFS treat skating as an actual sport and realize that putting so much pressure on these skaters to compete injured or face really bad consequences is unnecessary, unsmart, and potentially unsafe? Rachael and anyone else who gets affected by these rules deserve better.
    So where do you draw the line? "bubba" the skater claims injury. Do you let "bubba" who would have finished DEAD LAST at regionals go to Nationals just because "he was injured" Because that's going to create an "everyone is injured" game

    And USFS did "stomp" hard on Rachel a few years ago for competing injured. They didn't tell her to go to World's injured, she and her team packed up and headed out thinking "it won't matter" Rachel made that decision NOT USFS. She has proven that she does what she wants LOL!

    I see nothing wrong with saying "if you can't compete, we are sorry but we have to move on" That's how they do it in other sports. The sad truth is doing it the the other way and giving "byes" actually seems more problematic. That's what tends to lead to the 'come back to quick' attempts and long term chronic problems IMHO

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by demetriosj View Post
    USFS does not give two hoots about their skaters' health, well-being, career, psyche etc. Skaters are treated like racehorses, and tossed to the side when injured/sick, and the "next big thing" is brought out from the wings. The cycle goes on and on and on........
    But - are other federations any better about this?

    I don't think it's so much USFS as it's just skating in general. Backing up even more, it's SPORTS in general. It's just the way it is...

    Because competitive skaters tend to be younger, it "seems" more harsh because a lot of times these girls are still growing, and it's the level of competition at the top that pushes them to do harder and harder tricks. NOT the federation. And it's more complicated than that, too- I suspect training habits among other things NOT controlled by USFS factor much more into injury susceptibility than some arbitrary rule about a competition...JMO

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    Regardless of the extent of her injury or what Rachael is thinking in regard to her career, the fact that she had to chose between competing injured in the next few days and ending her entire season is pathetic. USFS's old-fashioned rules strike again. To grant a skater a bye through to Nationals because they are strong enough to be competing at an international competition during the week of Sectionals and then to say "never mind, no bye for you" and punish the skater when she's injured and needs to withdraw is absolutely ridiculous. When will USFS treat skating as an actual sport and realize that putting so much pressure on these skaters to compete injured or face really bad consequences is unnecessary, unsmart, and potentially unsafe? Rachael and anyone else who gets affected by these rules deserve better.
    Looking at some of the other NGB's like US Ski Team....there is a greater respect for injured athletes. And, although the structure for going to international competitions is different, perhaps it is time that the ISU looks at the structure for qualifying for ISU World Championship events (yes, I know, a minimum TES is now required). But, from the perspective of someone who has followed skiing for a number of years, the World Cup series allows athletes to compete through out the season, and if they have to miss an event due to injury, they have time to recover, and get back to competing during the same season. Not sure of the approach that figure skating could take, but perhaps athletes that have a world ranking above a certain level or if they have competed at the World Championships, if they so choose to compete at their national championship, are invited back in a certain time frame, say within two years of their last Worlds competition. I am just thinking "out loud"...but then it opens up the competitions to just that....a competition, not a coronation. So, then perhaps it brings back fans who followed a certain athlete (thinking of keeping the fan base alive), but also allows the federation to create a unique marketing strategy ....battle of the newbies or up and comings, vs the seasoned athlete. Look at the San Francisco Giants...Buster Posey lost last season due to an injury, but he wasn't discarded. Yeah, I know, they guy gets paid $$$$$, but the team stood by him as a valuable asset. I don't think many federations view their athletes as assets, more as a item to be toyed with and jettisoned when they are finished with them. Skating has changed so much in the last twenty years...hard to see it existing in its current state twenty years from now.

    I agree with a number of posters, that a number of federations view their athletes as disposable. And, these same federations wonder why the sport is on the downhill slide....there is no momentum built around a "brand" that is recognizable.

    So, back to Flatt....None of us know the extent of her injuries, but Wishing her a total recovery, and happiness in where her path leads her.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by RD View Post
    Because competitive skaters tend to be younger, it "seems" more harsh because a lot of times these girls are still growing, and it's the level of competition at the top that pushes them to do harder and harder tricks.
    Yes, most of these competitors are under 18. That's what makes the shabby way they are treated when injured, etc. even worse. This is not the NBA. For the most part, these are not adults we are talking about, they are children. The way they are treated is borderline abusive, IMHO>

  8. #48
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    I'm not a Rachael fan but it is unfortunate she had to end her season injured. I wish for her a full recovery and I'm sure she's enjoying her studies.

  9. #49
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    Wishing Rachael a speedy and full recovery.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  10. #50

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    Adding my good wishes for a full recovery to the list. If she ends up leaving competitive skating, best of luck to her. I just hope she gets to make the decision on her own, instead of being forced into it by injuries.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    Regardless of the extent of her injury or what Rachael is thinking in regard to her career, the fact that she had to chose between competing injured in the next few days and ending her entire season is pathetic. USFS's old-fashioned rules strike again. To grant a skater a bye through to Nationals because they are strong enough to be competing at an international competition during the week of Sectionals and then to say "never mind, no bye for you" and punish the skater when she's injured and needs to withdraw is absolutely ridiculous. When will USFS treat skating as an actual sport and realize that putting so much pressure on these skaters to compete injured or face really bad consequences is unnecessary, unsmart, and potentially unsafe? Rachael and anyone else who gets affected by these rules deserve better.
    Is there an athlete's advocacy group within the skating federations? What are the rights of the athletes?


    There is the Athletes Advisory committee at USFS whose mission is :
    "the collection of viewpoints and ideas of active and former competitive athletes, the representation and promotion of the rights and viewpoints of active and former competitive athletes, the conducting of informational meetings and the election of individuals to serve in athlete positions of U.S. Figure Skating as well as athlete positions in the USOC."
    http://www.usfsa.org/Story.asp?type=leadership&id=826
    Based upon the current roster of this group, about a half dozen active skaters involved ...so about 10% of the total committee

    There is the PSA....The Professional Skaters Assocation " The PSA is the official figure skating coach’s education, training and accreditation program for the U.S. Figure Skating and the Ice Skating Institute. We are the largest and most recognized of all figure skating coach’s organizations in the world"

    And, the only other group that I can think of that would be actively involved in the safety of the athletes (mental health as well as physical health)..would be the USFS Parents committee, whose mission is:
    "collecting viewpoints and ideas of parents of active and former competitive athletes; communicating these ideas and viewpoints; informational and educational meetings for parents; providing guidance to parents in their supportive role in the lives of competitive athletes; promoting Codes of Ethics and good sportsmanship; selecting spokespersons for meetings, seminars and camps; preparing and publishing FOCUS for Parents in SKATING magazine."

    Unless I have missed something notable, not sure how these groups actively help the bulk of the USFS skaters, who are mostly under age 18, esp the girls. This is a group of athletes that really has no voice in their federation IMO. Because, if it am correct, to serve on a USFS committee, the individual has to be 18 or older, correct?

    How do other federations work? Is there a good example out there of a federation that does really work to serve the athletes' needs in terms of health and well being?

    Found this website....
    http://www.injuredathletes.org/
    But, this is more of a high school format, not quite the level of figure skating, which quite frankly, sits between an amateur sport and a professional sport.

    Not sure of the best way to approach this, but if there is a silver lining in all of this, perhaps with the greater incidence of injury due to COP, maybe the federations will wake up and smell the coffee and rethink how they approach the sport....to do more to keep the athletes healthy, and when injured, help them find answers and find service providers that can help them get healthy and get them back to competing. Ultimately, the Federations want medals, and to do so, they have to have healthy functioning athletes. How about being "pro-active" rather than "re-active" for a change.

  12. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Cooper View Post
    There is the Athletes Advisory committee at USFS whose mission is :
    "the collection of viewpoints and ideas of active and former competitive athletes, the representation and promotion of the rights and viewpoints of active and former competitive athletes, the conducting of informational meetings and the election of individuals to serve in athlete positions of U.S. Figure Skating as well as athlete positions in the USOC."
    http://www.usfsa.org/Story.asp?type=leadership&id=826
    Based upon the current roster of this group, about a half dozen active skaters involved ...so about 10% of the total committee

    Unless I have missed something notable, not sure how these groups actively help the bulk of the USFS skaters, who are mostly under age 18, esp the girls. This is a group of athletes that really has no voice in their federation IMO. Because, if it am correct, to serve on a USFS committee, the individual has to be 18 or older, correct?
    A lot of members for the Athletes Advisory Committee are over 18 and retired, but that doesn't mean they didn't compete at that age and cannot speak for skaters who currently do. If anything, they are in a better position to explain their point of view since they are no longer competing themselves which makes it easier to be objective, i.e., there is less at stake for them personally, but they were in a situation where USFSA decisions impacted their career and could offer their own experience as examples.
    Last edited by ioana; 11-01-2012 at 07:06 PM.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by ioana View Post
    A lot of the members for the Athletes Advisory Committee are over 18 and retired, but that doesn't mean they didn't compete at that age and cannot speak for skaters who currently do. If anything, they are in a better position to explain their point of view since they are no longer competing themselves which makes it easier to be objective, i.e., there is less at stake for them personally, but they were in a situation where USFSA decisions impacted their career and could offer their own experiences as examples.
    ioana...you hit the nail on the head...as many of the AAC members are no longer competing ....and in your words..."there is less at stake for them personally".....and quite frankly, therein lies the problem. They may be better able to voice their concerns as to what is an issue for the younger group of skaters with no/little risk, but those athletes who are currently competing can not and will not voice their concerns, because there is SO much at risk. How does that mentality change, because until it does (think cycling and the entire Lance Armstrong issues)...until the door is open, and there is a frank discussion, very little will change. The cyclists that have come forward, hopefully, will help that sport clean itself up.

    But, with skating, because there ARE so many young elite skaters, and even the elite skaters who are over 18, can not voice their concerns because of the risk to their careers, what can be done to help them? Are there concerns that committee members become jaded over the years....and the old boys mentality, like medical school interns...."we did it, or we put up with the system, why shouldn't the newbies coming up have to deal with it as well?" Not convinced that is the way to go. Change is difficult for everyone, but with COP and the physical demands on these kids, esp the young girls, something has to give, and it is usually their bodies, unfortunately. Not looking for a utopian society, but wouldn't it be great if there were voices that advocated the health of these athletes?

  14. #54

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    What role(s) should parents and coaches play in minimizing severe and/or repetitive injury risks for skaters who are pushing their bodies to their physical limits?
    "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

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    What role(s) should parents and coaches play in minimizing severe and/or repetitive injury risks for skaters who are pushing their bodies to their physical limits?
    As long as coaches like Tom Zakrajsek get Coach of the Year nominations and awards and do little to discourage injured skaters like Flatt and Farris from competing, I think this is an uphill battle to be fought by mavericks like Gauthier.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    As long as coaches like Tom Zakrajsek get Coach of the Year nominations and awards and do little to discourage injured skaters like Flatt and Farris from competing, I think this is an uphill battle to be fought by mavericks like Gauthier.
    Amen kwanfan, amen. "Uphill battle" is putting it nicely.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    As long as coaches like Tom Zakrajsek get Coach of the Year nominations and awards and do little to discourage injured skaters like Flatt and Farris from competing, I think this is an uphill battle to be fought by mavericks like Gauthier.
    This x infinity.

  18. #58
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    Tom's win was before the mass exotus of skaters from his camp though. He doesn't have any high level skater competing at the international circuit now, does he? I thought they all left

  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    Tom's win was before the mass exodus of skaters from his camp though.
    But that's the point, is that he was being given awards while he was (apparently) encouraging skaters to push themselves too far physically.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  20. #60
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    True, though skaters left him soon after because of his "reputation".
    A skater's parent told me how he disapproved of Tom Z.; his kid, who's had some success, won't be training with Tom Z at all.
    If Tom Z. wants top skaters to come back, he may want to rethink his training strategy.

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