Personally, I don’t think Christine Brennan’s article or her viewpoints are quite as generic and lazy as Phil’s underwhelming, dismissive and often inaccurate assessments. At least Brennan sought out reflections (and provided quotes) from prominent figures in the sport. I do agree with many of your points, IronLady, but I also agree with others that Brennan is bringing up some relevant issues. However, the issues are so complex and multilayered that they aren’t that easy to adequately discuss in a few paragraphs that contain broad generalizations and random assumptions.
Brennan might serve fans better if she committed to at least an introductory five-part series of reports on the issues she’s trying to cram into sound-bite commentary that coincides with 2013 U.S. Nationals in Omaha. It might be more helpful and elucidating if Brennan could spend more time doing historical research and more exhaustive investigative reporting that covered the interconnected challenges the sport faces domestically and globally. IOW, she could provide a better picture of the details and the causes and effects re what’s been happening in figure skating over the past twenty years. Instead of just pining for a return of the old days of Dorothy Hamill, Michelle Kwan, and established bankable U.S. ice princesses, Brennan might discover more by delving beneath the icy surface and getting at the root of all the current discontent and “chaos.” There are a lot of hidden controversies, “unseen [and unheard] skaters,” complicated storylines and problems being swept under the rug.
U.S. figure skating athletes as well as skating athletes around the world and at all levels deserve a lot more attention, appreciation and a chance for their stories to be told and their voices to be heard beyond status quo sound-bites and dismissive insults. IMO, the incredible physical demands and pressure-filled, often unrealistic expectations weighing on skaters today is hampering the sport’s growth and damaging the bodies and spirits of too many skaters. I think the sport needs to further evolve in a more inclusive and proactive way in order to better serve its athletes and to increase its fan base. IMO, in order for that to begin to happen, the way it is covered by the media needs to improve considerably.
BTW, I think IceNetwork is doing a good job overall, and I think Tanith is a great interviewer and commentator.