Title IX Impact on US Ladies' Skating
I've had a number of long discussions with my skating friends about the dearth of US Ladies who have recently been relatively successful internationally. I know that there are a number of contributing factors including the financial burdens of mounting and sustaining a career, and the downturn in the economy. However, IMHO, I believe that Title IX legislations which has bolstered such sports as soccer, ice hockey, volleyball, etc. and contributed to the provision of college scholarships has had the biggest impact on girls' selection of sports in which they decide to concentrate. That has been a big blow to figure skating. It's even more attractive for skaters to pursue synchronized skating than singles, pairs or dance because of the scholarship potential. Of course, it doesn't help when sports and major networks chose to show hot dog eating contests and poker over skating.
Anyone have any thoughts/opinions about this?
Two points, quickly, and without a lot of thought.
- I believe that international success has been more about the rise of other countries (Japan and Korea), rather than the fall of the US. I think we have been in a lull recently, but I don't see it as a permanent situation. You could have a long discussion about the rise of women internationally.
- I still think there are tons of little girls at beginning level competitions. It is from this pool of skaters that future champions are made. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me could tell us if the number of children beginning to skate is down or up. I'm sure the numbers swing up and down with the popularity of skating and the four year cycle of the Olympics, but I wonder if there is a significant difference in numbers. Are judges still having to wade through 6 groups of 24 little girls to find the winner at your local competition.
Just quickly - in my area - in 1990 - there were 2 figure skating clubs. Now there are 8 clubs. As title IX has opened up many sports for girls, it has pulled many more girls into sports in general. That would also benefit skating. I think your point is valid for some girls and invalid for others.
Last edited by A.H.Black; 03-17-2013 at 04:43 PM.
I never thought of it, but it's logical. Most of my friends in HS did soccer, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse and track/cross-country. Many of them pursue it in college. They need the money to pay for their educations. There's no money in figure skating, and that's why I think I know so few figure skaters. ESPECIALLY with the economic downturn a few years back, I can't imagine that it's easy for a family that isn't so well-off.
Agree with this. And who is to say that the girls doing soccer, basketball, lacrosse, etc, would have been figure skaters if they didn't have the option to do those other sports. Most likely, they wouldn't have done any sport. Yes, figure skating is expensive, but even more than that, in order for a girl to be successful in skating, she needs to have a certain body type (just like gymnastics, which can lead to college scholarships like the other non-skating sports mentioned) which most girls don't have, at least not post-puberty. At any skating competition, there are tons of girls at the lower levels - drop off usually starts around Juvenile/Intermediate, b/c most get stuck on the harder doubles and the double axel. Because skating is hard, and you need a lot of athletic ability and natural talent in addition to work ethic. And they also get interested in other things. Skating at the highest level requires an incredible amount of time and dedication, probably more than most high school team sports, and many lose interest, or reach a point where they just want to test through senior level and not compete anymore.
Originally Posted by A.H.Black
Skating is also an individual sport, and can be very competitive and catty, and that requires a certain personality, in addition to ability, to stick with it at the highest level.
I'm not sure about this, I don't think many girls with the body type for figure skating would be taking up basketball, hockey or the other sports mentioned. Gymnastics yes.
And gymnastics has a HUGE collegate program. So if you've got a little girl who has to chose between skating and gymnastics, odds are she picks gymnastics, for a lot of reasons other than just scholarships. Gymnastics is on the rise in the USA and it's not nearly as expensive, as far as I know.
I don't think anything's changed. In the 50s it was about access and parental means. Still is.
AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan
Agree. The demise of figures has opened the sport up more, and the increased comp opportunities (synchro, artistic/showcase, test track, solo dance) have helped attract and keep more kids in the sport. But when you're talking about high-level FS and the financial and personal demands of training at that level, you're still going to have a great deal of attrition at certain ages and levels.
Originally Posted by Aceon6