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  1. #1
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    What's with USFSA's white & blonde fetish?

    First of all, I'd like to start out this thread by saying that I am in no way proclaiming that USFSA is racist by any means (I mean, hello, the Kween). But I've been thinking about this for a while and I find it fascinating how in recent years, USFSA has been very heavy to favor white female skaters, even more particular so the blonde ones.

    Here's my logic behind my observation:

    2010 US Nationals: Rachael Flatt (white, blonde) favored over Mirai Nagasu, even though Nagasu finishes higher and cleaner at the Olympic Games.

    2012 US Nationals: Agnes Zawadzki (blonde, white) held up at US Nationals, 3rd overall.

    2013 US Nationals: Top Three finishers, Wagner, Gold and Zawadzki (all blonde and white); Gao and Nagasu, not to mention maybe Zhang, snubbed. Wagner scored generously, Zawadzki the same.

    Is it just me, or is there something rotten in the state of Denmark? I smell favoritism. And, well, it's figure skating, it's subjective, and thus it's expected...but if what I am hinting at is in some way correct, well, that's tragic.

    Once again, I'll say that I'm not trying to instigate controversy or be offensive or whatnot, but I have been thinking about this and find it particularly interesting. Thoughts? Am I crazy? Anyone else been thinking the same things?

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    I debated responding to this, because the title you chose is pretty offensive.

    My thoughts are that you're trying very hard to make the results fit your "blondes are being favored" agenda, with very little to back it up other than "I like this skater" and "I don't like that skater" and the convenient omission of anything that doesn't fit your argument. I don't doubt that being attractive can help skaters, but the sort of discrimination you're describing - and don't demure, you are suggesting it - isn't backed up by objective evidence.

    As for some specific points: how is it relevant to the 2010 US Nationals result that Nagasu did better than Flatt in Vancouver? Did she perform the same at Nationals as she later did at the Olympics? No, she didn't, which you would see if you compare base values between the events (the calling of wrong edges/URs was less strict at the Olympics across the board). Do you think Abbott shouldn't have won Nationals that year because Lysacek out-skated him at the Olympics? Does the fact that the silver-winning pair from Nats finished better than the US champions at the Olympics call the pairs results into question?

    Caroline Zhang has had many opportunities to succeed and has taken advantage of some of them; same goes for Mirai Nagasu. Both have had technique and consistency issues that have hurt them at times. Flatt, during her best years, was a very consistent skater, which helped her. Also, people are always scored generously at US Nats, but Ashley Wagner's record has shown that international judges are willing to score her well, too.

    The USFSA has been desperate to find the next Kwan, and I doubt they particularly care what that skater's race or ethnicity will be - because we've seen several skaters who've been touted as the next big thing, several of them Asian-American. Actually, if anything, ladies is possibly the most diverse discipline at US Nats, at least at the top - certainly compared to the men.
    Last edited by Zemgirl; 08-11-2013 at 11:23 AM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by lahaa968 View Post
    First of all, I'd like to start out this thread by saying that I am in no way proclaiming that USFSA is racist by any means (I mean, hello, the Kween). But I've been thinking about this for a while and I find it fascinating how in recent years, USFSA has been very heavy to favor white female skaters, even more particular so the blonde ones.

    Here's my logic behind my observation:

    2010 US Nationals: Rachael Flatt (white, blonde) favored over Mirai Nagasu, even though Nagasu finishes higher and cleaner at the Olympic Games.

    2012 US Nationals: Agnes Zawadzki (blonde, white) held up at US Nationals, 3rd overall.

    2013 US Nationals: Top Three finishers, Wagner, Gold and Zawadzki (all blonde and white); Gao and Nagasu, not to mention maybe Zhang, snubbed. Wagner scored generously, Zawadzki the same.

    Is it just me, or is there something rotten in the state of Denmark? I smell favoritism. And, well, it's figure skating, it's subjective, and thus it's expected...but if what I am hinting at is in some way correct, well, that's tragic.

    Once again, I'll say that I'm not trying to instigate controversy or be offensive or whatnot, but I have been thinking about this and find it particularly interesting. Thoughts? Am I crazy? Anyone else been thinking the same things?
    I think the real problem is that we don't have a skater with a Kwan-like potential right now (may be Gracie Gold in the future? She does have the jumps). None of our skaters is really performing at the world podium level, although Ashley came close. Gao is consistent, but needs more presence and expression, so the nod goes to skaters that have spent a little more time competing at the senior level - like Ashley, and even Agnes (although she may have just one more year than Christina as a senior).

    If this was pre-COP, Mirai would be superstar, IMO. However, with her ur problems and more recently nerves/other problems, it's hard for the judges to place her over skaters that are rotating their jumps although they may not be pretty (like Rachael- however I don't believe she is going to be a factor at this point). I did feel that Mirai was undermarked last year, but I think it may have to do with her inconsistencies and flawed jumps. It's almost like they want to give up on her.

    Caroline Zhang has shown great tenacity in fighting back from where she was, but by no means she has performed better than Ashley, in general. Agnes does have good jumps and may be that's why the USFSA wants to give her more chances. She may be another one that the USFSA has written off, but she just happens to be Asian.

    IMO it's just a coincidence that the white/blonde skaters have placed higher than some others in the recent years. If a non-white/brunette performs consistently well and shows great promise, I think the USFSA will support that skater. Their interest is in winning the championships and medals, regardless of race. If Christina develops her artistry without losing the consistency, and if another young skater comes along (Angela Wang?) that shows great promise, I think the USFSA will support that skater. Even Michelle had to prove herself by skating clean every time.

    I really think it is just a coincidence that at this time the skaters you mentioned are getting more support, but the USFSA is really grasping at straws. JMO.

    BTW, unlike the other poster, I am not offended by your question or your observations. I just think we don't have a clear winner and that's the real problem.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lahaa968 View Post
    I'm not trying to instigate controversy
    Oh really? How come you are only complaining about three years out of all of history?

  5. #5
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    I won't be surprised if the USFSA is racist

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    Was Rachael Flatt blond at the time of the Olympics? Not to my eyes seeing her live a couple of months before.
    Neither was Alissa Czisny, Sasha Cohen, Michelle Kwan, Sarah Hughes (who the USFSA hardly promoted, anyway). Maybe Tara could have been considered to be a blonde? But not like the USFSA ever promoted her over Kwan either. Back further, Debi Thomas, Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan also fail on the blonde front, though all were promoted by the USFSA. Caryn Kadavy was blonde (at times) but never was pushed as much as Jill Trenary, who wasn't blonde when she competed as an eligible.

    This past two years there happens to be a couple of blondes in the very top ranks of US Senior Ladies. I don't think that provides any substantive support for the notion that the USFSA is blonde-centric, or that they've been anti-Asian.

    So no, I think that's one myth that's pretty thoroughly busted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    Was Rachael Flatt blond at the time of the Olympics? Not to my eyes seeing her live a couple of months before.
    Neither was Alissa Czisny, Sasha Cohen, Michelle Kwan, Sarah Hughes (who the USFSA hardly promoted, anyway). Maybe Tara could have been considered to be a blonde? But not like the USFSA ever promoted her over Kwan either. Back further, Debi Thomas, Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan also fail on the blonde front, though all were promoted by the USFSA. Caryn Kadavy was blonde (at times) but never was pushed as much as Jill Trenary, who wasn't blonde when she competed as an eligible.

    This past two years there happens to be a couple of blondes in the very top ranks of US Senior Ladies. I don't think that provides any substantive support for the notion that the USFSA is blonde-centric, or that they've been anti-Asian.

    So no, I think that's one myth that's pretty thoroughly busted.
    I think the OP is looking at the recent years, not the days of Yamaguchi and absolutely not Kadavy. He/she is apparently looking at the post-Michelle/Sasha years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I think the OP is looking at the recent years, not the days of Yamaguchi and absolutely not Kadavy. He/she is apparently looking at the post-Michelle/Sasha years.
    I think, as you pointed out, that this appears to be largely coincidental and not a meaningful trend, and barbk is right in pointing out that the USFSA has a good track record with regard to the diversity of the top ladies. If the USFSA had someone with long-term podium potential, does anyone think they would care what her ethnicity/race was? Of course not; they'd count their blessings and media-blitz like crazy.

    Also, some of these ladies mentioned by the OP are only blonde via the efforts of their colorists - certainly Wagner was not a blonde when she won her first title, and Zawadzki had darker hair in 2012, too.

  9. #9
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    Maybe the USFSA or the people around them are pressuring them to dye their hair blonde to set an image. IIRC I remember someone saying how the USFSA influences/tells/demands skaters to alter their appearance to a certain degree. Neither Wagner, Gold, or Zawadzki are natural blondes, but they all seemed to have dyed their hair when they were starting to make a name for themselves.

    I wouldn't look into it much though. Time will tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by parapluies View Post
    I won't be surprised if the USFSA is racist
    Ohh boy..here we go
    Last edited by Jiazumi; 08-11-2013 at 10:04 PM.

  10. #10
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    Rachael is more naturally blonde than any of the rest of those girls...her natural color is more of a reddish, strawberry-blonde hue but she started highlighting it more blonde when she chopped all it off in 2010 as per the advice of the USFS. Agnes had dirty blonde hair growing up before she started dying it so she's the next closest, but as for Ashley, Gracie, Barbie, Courtney....they are all brunettes who simply decided to dye their hair blonde. Any of the other girls could chose to do the same and I doubt it would alter the results. For whatever reason, blonde is "in" right now, even though it's not the best look for many people.

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    When I attended nationals in 2009, in the junior ladies event, all four medalists were of Asian descent.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinky166 View Post
    Rachael is more naturally blonde than any of the rest of those girls...her natural color is more of a reddish, strawberry-blonde hue but she started highlighting it more blonde when she chopped all it off in 2010 as per the advice of the USFS. Agnes had dirty blonde hair growing up before she started dying it so she's the next closest, but as for Ashley, Gracie, Barbie, Courtney....they are all brunettes who simply decided to dye their hair blonde. Any of the other girls could chose to do the same and I doubt it would alter the results. For whatever reason, blonde is "in" right now, even though it's not the best look for many people.
    Maybe the USFSA bought a 44 gallon drum of blonde dye from Russia. After all, their female skaters have been faking their natural hair colour for decades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiazumi View Post
    Maybe the USFSA or the people around them are pressuring them to dye their hair blonde to set an image. IIRC I remember someone saying how the USFSA influences/tells/demands skaters to alter their appearance to a certain degree. Neither Wagner, Gold, or Zawadzki are natural blondes, but they all seemed to have dyed their hair when they were starting to make a name for themselves.

    I wouldn't look into it much though. Time will tell.


    Ohh boy..here we go
    Hey its a possibility

  14. #14
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    I think the only thing the USFSA backs is a winner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    Maybe the USFSA bought a 44 gallon drum of blonde dye from Russia. After all, their female skaters have been faking their natural hair colour for decades.
    Oh please, we were doing the same thing for decades too. Don't try to bring Russia into this.

  16. #16
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    Isn't Ashley actually a brunette? And isn't Gracie actually red head who dyes her hair blonde? Same for Courtney Hicks, thought she was a brunette as a junior, then showed up blonde at Nationals.

    I actually find Ashley and Gracie to be kind of two birds of a very similar feather. It is kind of funny to me that the market positioning of both of these girls is basically identical. I'll bet Nike has their marketing plans exactly the same, but has some poor intern swap out the name for when (and if) their moment comes.

    Agnes might be the only "true" blonde in the bunch.
    Sorry, got a bit off topic on the question of promoting white/blonde, but just some observations.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinky166 View Post
    Rachael is more naturally blonde than any of the rest of those girls...her natural color is more of a reddish, strawberry-blonde hue but she started highlighting it more blonde when she chopped all it off in 2010 as per the advice of the USFS. Agnes had dirty blonde hair growing up before she started dying it so she's the next closest, but as for Ashley, Gracie, Barbie, Courtney....they are all brunettes who simply decided to dye their hair blonde. Any of the other girls could chose to do the same and I doubt it would alter the results. For whatever reason, blonde is "in" right now, even though it's not the best look for many people.
    Photo of Flatt from 2008 World Jr Championships....a natural blonde as a kid and as a teen
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...hael_FLATT.jpg
    Flatt as a kid...
    http://web.icenetwork.com/news/artic...&vkey=ice_news

    Wagner, who has gone blonde over the years
    2008 US Nationals
    http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Ashley+...+5/G3iV4_5F1mX

    Zawadski: as a Novice lady...a dark blonde at best
    http://www.iceskatingintnl.com/archi...s/novlad08.htm

    Hicks:
    2010 US Nationals....definitely not a blonde naturally

    http://m.spokesman.com/galleries/201...short-program/

    Gold
    From Jan 2012...a dark blonde...really a red head?
    http://web.icenetwork.com/news/artic...&vkey=ice_news

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    ...This off season can't end soon enough

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    Okay...woah. People took this all WAY too seriously. Also, the personal hate messages? Seriously?

    I just started this thread to put this out there. This is a forum, and more notably "The Trash Can". I'm not preparing a court case that's going to trial. I just put it out there. I never affirmed it as the truth, or fact, but mere perception. I stated it as my opinion, and opinion is inherently subjective.

    So once again, this is "The Trash Can". The self-described "trolls, polls and crap" section. So I thought this was befitting. Thank you to people who took it with some humor. It was intended. The point of this is just to have conversations...

    Honestly, I am sorry if I offended anybody. I didn't start this thread out of dark intentions other than to share a perception I had and to see what other people thought of it.

  20. #20

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    Just so happened that during the last few years, the 'blonds are skating better than non-blonds'.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

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