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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    Oh the irony of Tai Babilonia, who also struggles from an eating disorder, ranting about US pairs skaters who don't stick together through all of their problems, both in general and with a shout-out to Marley/Brubaker, when walking away from skating gave Marley a chance to have a physically and mentally healthy rest-of-her-life.
    I don't think Tai was arguing for skaters with serious health issues to stick with it no matter what. Wasn't it just a general desire for more U.S. pair skaters to stay together? Lots of us here have expressed similar wishes here on this board.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club
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  2. #22
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    I agree. I don't think, at least the way I understand it, that Tai was arguing either.

    Sylvia, thanks for posting the link to the great interview.
    Angie
    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    I don't think Tai was arguing for skaters with serious health issues to stick with it no matter what. Wasn't it just a general desire for more U.S. pair skaters to stay together? Lots of us here have expressed similar wishes here on this board.
    Yes and no: she was willing to judge Marley/Brubaker specifically without having a clue without knowing what the issues were, and her attitude in general was "These kids don't suck it up and get through the rough times like they did in my day."

    While I think it sucks when one partner is able to toss aside previous partners because someone makes a better offer, and that the time it takes to adjust to the new partner isn't often any less than working through issues with the old one, I've never been on the "US Pairs would be great if they stuck it out" bandwagon, because it's not anyone's obligation to stick to something for which they are forking out huge sums and in most cases impacting their families greatly in addition to the mental and physical stress they're under to skate in the first place. Soviet pairs were the undisputed best and dominant for many years while some of those men physically abused their female partners in the rink under the eyes of their coaches and other skaters.

    I'd much rather see pairs and dance team members be able to make rational decisions about their skating careers and goals, which can change over time. It's not as if people who spend hours and hours in the rink and off ice training for years, who give up the "normal" lives as teenagers and young adults, and whose families spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on training, move and split up the families to accommodate their training, are slackers who give up partnerships on a whim, but even if they were, it's their time and their dime.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  4. #24
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    Many posts in this thread mention weight and body image. While EDs are usually initially prompted by some type of body image dysmorphia, they become rooted when they transform into a tool to manage emotions. Although EDs involve food, the worst and most intractable aspect of their nature has little to do with weight. To wit, what both MBM and Jenny emphasized is the control aspect of EDs, which is not related to food but rather using food as a tool to cope with feelings. EDs are not a diet gone awry - they're much more complex than that. (Just wanted to comment on this to make sure the situation isn't overly simplified. )

    And I'm not surprised that MBM didn't articulate exactly how her disease manifested itself (other than her hint at exercise bulimia via overindulgence in hot yoga). There is a tremendous amount of shame associated with purging, and our society as a whole does not approve of openly discussing any means of evacuating one's system, much less one that is voluntarily self-inflicted.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BittyBug View Post
    Many posts in this thread mention weight and body image. While EDs are usually initially prompted by some type of body image dysmorphia, they become rooted when they transform into a tool to manage emotions. Although EDs involve food, the worst and most intractable aspect of their nature has little to do with weight. To wit, what both MBM and Jenny emphasized is the control aspect of EDs, which is not related to food but rather using food as a tool to cope with feelings. EDs are not a diet gone awry - they're much more complex than that. (Just wanted to comment on this to make sure the situation isn't overly simplified. )
    The emphasis on weight in skating, though, gives a structual and accepted way to manifest these control issues. Babilonia talked about the almost inescapable messages about weight to which almost all women are subjected, but several times she emphasized those activities where weight control is integral, and mentioned skaters, dancers, and another group (gymnasts?) when she talked about disordered eating and the way weight control is institutionalized. She even said that John Nicks told her the one thing he would change is that if he did it all over again, he wouldn't weigh his female skaters, and it doesn't get more institutionalized than weigh-ins.

    I've seen disordered eating issues among wrestlers publicized, where purging can be part of the "make weight" routine, but much less for boxers and marial arts athletes who also have weight classes.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  6. #26
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    I personally told MBM at 2012 4CCs that she was a rockstar! I re-iterate that comment today and wish her all the best!
    I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.

  7. #27
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    Glad she was strong enough to quit and put her health first and foremost. Kudos to her!!!!

    This sport can chew you up and spit you out.... Most of these competitive skaters are children on the verge of their teen years, a terribly turbulent time even under normal circumstances (i.e. not being involved in a cut-throat sport).

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of coaches and parents who are not sensitive to that, nor do they care what their skater is going through as long as they are winning.

  8. #28

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    I think it's astounding that MBM was able to pull herself out, that, at such a young age, she was able to sense--this is not right, and I am out of here. The only thing better would be for the USFS to hire her to show skaters some alternate routes, even if it's just that there is possible coaching after competing, but that's not going to happen.

  9. #29

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    She has an incredible amount of perspective and self-awareness for her age (or any age!). It can't be easy to reveal such painful feelings on camera either, to be put on youtube. She'll be helping so many others too, as Jenny did for her!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacey View Post
    ....The only thing better would be for the USFS to hire her to show skaters some alternate routes, even if it's just that there is possible coaching after competing, but that's not going to happen.
    Sadly, I don't think USFS gives a care what happens to skaters once they are no longer winning medals for the U.S......

  11. #31
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    As horrible as ED's are, I'm somewhat relieved to hear that she had a specific reason for quitting, which hopefully means she is on the road to recovery. Mary Beth has left the door open for skating so she must still enjoy it.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by demetriosj View Post
    This sport can chew you up and spit you out.... Most of these competitive skaters are children on the verge of their teen years, a terribly turbulent time even under normal circumstances (i.e. not being involved in a cut-throat sport).

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of coaches and parents who are not sensitive to that, nor do they care what their skater is going through as long as they are winning.
    Yeah, the job of a coach is to essentially turn the skater into a machine that performs optimally. Maybe not enough time is spent on the "human side" of the skater, and maybe there's a lack of understanding of how much that "human side" affects the athlete's ability to perform. It's not that I think skaters should be best friends with their skating coaches or be assigned to psychologists, but maybe some slightly smarter choices could be made in how these athletes are trained for their mental well-being.

    Marley mentions being weighed several times, and I'm trying to think of the benefits in weighing a 4'8", 80 or 90 lb child. What were they trying to accomplish? Were they hoping that if she had a target weight in her mind at all times, she would somehow get herself to fend off puberty? As much as it would be ideal for that 2A to feel the same every day or for the pair guy to lift the same weight every day in an effort to create consistent training, it's inevitable that a girl is going to grow. Why exacerbate the emphasis on weight that naturally exists in skating?

    I'm not blaming skating or the people around her for all her problems. And she was thrown into a tough situation that went beyond simply just skating. But this does remind me of the harsh reality that some people really don't always do the best job they could in dealing with young athletes who tend to have enough emotional issues as it is.
    Last edited by stjeaskategym; 07-11-2013 at 07:29 PM.

  13. #33
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    I would love to see her fully recover and return a la Akiko - for the sheer joy of skating.
    My travel and adventure blog http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com

  14. #34

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    Coming back from hiatus to post about this. Re: weigh ins... in my experience, no matter how much one outwardly projects an image of having a healthy and understanding attitude toward them, I have never met a skater for whom weigh ins were a healthy experience, or at least one that didn't mess with their minds. I'm not surprised Mary Beth Marley shocked everyone with her revelations; it's astounding how good skaters are at pretending everything is ok on the outside. Smiling through the pain and pretending it's ok it a huge part of skating.

  15. #35

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    Well, with a fighting spirit and love of skating like that, I really hope she will make her way back to the competitive ice. That was a very good, and endearing, interview. What a lovely person.

  16. #36
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    If she didn't use the terms "eating disorder" or "disordered eating" in the TSL interview, in this icenetwork interview from Skate Detroit she was quoted,

    "I struggled with an eating disorder for a long, long time," she said. "I finally had to stop skating for a while."
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  17. #37
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    I love how she is clear she's not done and not letting this setback defeat her. I think she can get there. She talked about how there are healthy ways / habits to employ to get to the right body type and weight to skate pairs. Everyone knows you do have to control your weight to maximize your ability to do tricks but again there is the right way to do that. If she succeeds, because of her height, she will be a very desirable candidate again as a pairs partner. Never enough girls...always a lot of boys looking. I have no doubt she'll be back fighting for a spot on the Olympic team in 2018

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