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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenway2 View Post
    Back in the day, Kristi was criticized greatly for her lack of personality and limited appeal. Now she's being held up as a paragon of a media darling. Oh how history rewrites itself.
    Well, I meant more in terms of her success (world, national and Olympic title) but IMO, Kwan was sweet and bubbly, but boring (Nancy only was portrayed as feisty after she was whacked in the knee). MK's career as a diplomat seems promising since she never wanted to step on any toes.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    US skaters are very, very dull and boring personality wise, especially the ladies. Everything is pageant queen-like: smile, look pretty, give cookie cutter answers to questions, blah blah blah...boring. It seems like they are discouraged from having an actual opinion.
    And USFS seems very hell-bent on keeping things this way. It's like they're stuck in time and have absolutely no idea how the world works now.

  3. #63
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    USFSA tweeted some highlights from a conference call with Gracie Gold and oh, does it highlight the problem.

    @GraceEGold opens by saying how excited, honored and blessed she is to be representing #TeamUSA at the Olympic Games.

    Gracie talking about how 2014 really has been a year where she has tried to show shes more than just an athletic jumping skater.

    "Jumping and the athletic part of skating is a big strength of mine." She adds that artistry is part of the new @GraceEGold though.


    We know this! We've heard it a thousand times before from hundreds of other skaters. There's no scrap of unique personality that new fans who don't know anything about the sport can latch on to as they follow a talented young woman to the Games. What's USFSA or NBC's narrative for her so far? Just that her name is Gracie Gold, that she's going for gold, and she looks the part of an ice princess. That's all I've gathered about her from NBC broadcasts. They're not doing a very good job of presenting her, or anyone else, as a real person. Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney had stories coming in to the Games. Tom Daley had a little bit of a following for his sunny personality that picked up again in LGBT circles once he came out as bisexual. Richard Sherman is in a non-Olympic sport with a much bigger following but he comes off as a very thoughtful and intelligent man, if perhaps overly spontaneous. Gabby, McKayla, Tom and Richard are all not just defined by their sport or their sports' governing bodies. They don't have the edges sanded off.

    Take Jason Brown. Jason is the memetic star of the US team coming into these Games, and not because of his competitive record. His charming personality is intact, probably because he was an underdog and USFSA didn't prepare him to be launched into the spotlight in such a big way. He gushes over every interviewer and even if he occasionally repeats sports cliches - I work hard, I skate like I did in practice - it feels very genuine. USFSA needs to let their skaters be genuine if they want skating to be popular again.

  4. #64
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    How do we know that it's the USFSA, specifically, that's sanded off Gracie's "rough edges"? I know all the skaters get media training at the summer US team camp, but more likely she is getting guidance on her public image from other people on her "team" that she deals with regularly and not just once a year.... her coach, family, agent, etc. Maybe even her sponsors are involved in her "packaging", now.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFOS View Post
    I get so tired of people constantly talking about how beautiful Kiira Korpi is and while I can intellectually recognize that she fits a certain standard of beauty, I just don't feel anything at all looking at her. She doesn't excite me in an aesthetic (or sexual, and I am a heterosexual male) way.
    Ask your doctor if Viagra is right for you.

  6. #66
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    I am inclined to believe that USFSA's hand was there heaviest and first because every. single. other. skater when interviewed sounds like that. Maybe a few of them are boring people but that can't be true for all of them.

    If it's not them or not just them, the agent taking charge of Gracie isn't doing the best they could be.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by valyrian View Post
    I am inclined to believe that USFSA's hand was there heaviest and first because every. single. other. skater when interviewed sounds like that. Maybe a few of them are boring people but that can't be true for all of them.

    If it's not them or not just them, the agent taking charge of Gracie isn't doing the best they could be.
    I think you're really reaching, Valyrian. Let's examine the statements you think are problematic.

    Can you name any athlete in any sport who isn't excited and honored to be going to the Olympics? Aren't those normal reactions one has when making the Olympics?

    From the beginning of time skaters have been anxious to show they are well rounded. Skating is judged by two marks, more or less. Any figure skater with any competitive drive wants to be well-rounded to increase their chance of winning. They'd be crazy not to. Who would be stupid enough to say, "Well, gee, I only want to be known as a jumper. I don't want to ever been seen as anything else." Come on.
    Your examples are common sentiments by most athletes and/or figure skaters. To blame USFS is reaching.

  8. #68
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    If Gracie Gold won the Olympics, she'd be hired to endorse lots of stuff in Japan.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    If Gracie Gold won the Olympics, she'd be hired to endorse lots of stuff in Japan.
    Would she do car commercials...in Japan?

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by valyrian View Post
    I am inclined to believe that USFSA's hand was there heaviest and first because every. single. other. skater when interviewed sounds like that. Maybe a few of them are boring people but that can't be true for all of them.
    This is a really good point. Sure, other sports are like this too, but geez, skaters' interviews are horribly predictable.

    Had a crappy performance: "I was really disappointed because it didn't go like I had planned. I know I can do better than this, and I'm taking this as a wake-up call. I'm going to go back home and work on the things I know I can improve, and come back even better next time."

    Had a great performance: "I really had fun out there. It was great to show off all my hard work, and the audience was really supportive. This is a great [start/finish] to the season and I'm looking forward to doing this well at the [name of next competition]".

    Etc. etc. etc. I mean, seriously, you could almost cut out the quotes in the interviews in SKATING magazine and swap them between stories and no one would notice

    How are people supposed to get excited about skaters when they all say the same things, and don't really show any of their own personality?
    We live in an ageist society where everything is based on youth, but I hated being 18. I don't like teenagers any more now than I did then. I'm 49 now and there is no way that I'd go back to my teens and 20s - even if I knew what I know now, I don't want to go through all that again. I found it a very difficult time. - Buzz Osborne of the Melvins

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by lahaa968 View Post
    Would she do car commercials...in Japan?
    Well I doubt any sandwich company in Japan will hire her.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    This is a really good point. Sure, other sports are like this too, but geez, skaters' interviews are horribly predictable.

    Had a crappy performance: "I was really disappointed because it didn't go like I had planned. I know I can do better than this, and I'm taking this as a wake-up call. I'm going to go back home and work on the things I know I can improve, and come back even better next time."

    Had a great performance: "I really had fun out there. It was great to show off all my hard work, and the audience was really supportive. This is a great [start/finish] to the season and I'm looking forward to doing this well at the [name of next competition]".

    Etc. etc. etc. I mean, seriously, you could almost cut out the quotes in the interviews in SKATING magazine and swap them between stories and no one would notice

    How are people supposed to get excited about skaters when they all say the same things, and don't really show any of their own personality?
    It's too bad that it's like this, but I can understand why it is

    I mean the skaters dedicate their lives to what they do, but in the end the results and the competitions they're sent to depend on what other people think; the judges and their federation respectively. You can be candid and perhaps risk effing up where you stand in the books of these powerful people who have full control over you, or you can be a candy coated robot and know that at the end of the day, you didn't do anything to hurt your chances. Thus preserving the hard work you've put into your skating. It's all about not doing damage to your "rep".

    It's sad, but it is an unfortunate reality. Fortunately though, some do push their limits

  13. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    This is a really good point. Sure, other sports are like this too, but geez, skaters' interviews are horribly predictable.

    Had a crappy performance: "I was really disappointed because it didn't go like I had planned. I know I can do better than this, and I'm taking this as a wake-up call. I'm going to go back home and work on the things I know I can improve, and come back even better next time."

    Had a great performance: "I really had fun out there. It was great to show off all my hard work, and the audience was really supportive. This is a great [start/finish] to the season and I'm looking forward to doing this well at the [name of next competition]".

    Etc. etc. etc. I mean, seriously, you could almost cut out the quotes in the interviews in SKATING magazine and swap them between stories and no one would notice

    How are people supposed to get excited about skaters when they all say the same things, and don't really show any of their own personality?
    I would probably say similar things to that. That's a boring question and how else would you expect someone to respond to a question like that? Honestly, I don't know why they even bother asking questions like that in interviews. Though it's fun to see if they really are excited about a great performance, like Jason. That's where the personality comes in.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post

    How are people supposed to get excited about skaters when they all say the same things, and don't really show any of their own personality?
    Football players, baseball players, hockey players say the same things over and over when they're interviewed after the game.

    (Not for watching out loud at work or for anyone who has problems with the f-word):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeVca9MwDX8
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  15. #75

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    Next season Gracie will go to Rohene Ward for her programs. Next problem?

    (ETA: I am strictly fantasizing, but....)

  16. #76
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    No, no: Polina must go to Rohene Ward!
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  17. #77
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    My God this whole thread is irritating! Guess what -- America is FAR AWAY from the Peggy Fleming / Dorothy Hammill era. "America's Ice Princess" is an old, worn-out concept. The Andy Griffith show and the Beverly Hillbillies aren't popular now either. This insistence on trying to go back to a tired, played out concept from DECADES ago is not only annoying, but puts a ridiculous amount of unnecessary pressure on these athletes (that's what they are, right? Athletes? Not contestants in a charm school contest? ) I sure don't remember Peggy or Dorothy being personality powerhouses. They also read off the script. But in that era, the sweet, virginal, innocent princess was what was valued in a girl. Today's girls want a different kind of role model. And the old fogies who continue to run USFS are still stuck back in 1972. They don't get that letting these young people act young and free might actually increase their appeal and that making them look and sound like pretty little robots decreases their appeal. All of you FSUers who hated Johnny Weir's personality cannot deny that there were zillions of his fans who showed up at every competition he was in. But USFS hated him and his personality, favoring the biggest robot of them all over him. As long as the USFS continues to blacklist anyone outspoken, therefore discouraging skaters from being spontaneous and candid, nothing will change.

  18. #78
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    USFS and Skate Canada want their skaters to be predictable, just like ball clubs want their players to be predictable. Loose cannons are not easy on TPTB.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarakimm View Post
    My God this whole thread is irritating! Guess what -- America is FAR AWAY from the Peggy Fleming / Dorothy Hammill era. "America's Ice Princess" is an old, worn-out concept. The Andy Griffith show and the Beverly Hillbillies aren't popular now either. This insistence on trying to go back to a tired, played out concept from DECADES ago is not only annoying, but puts a ridiculous amount of unnecessary pressure on these athletes (that's what they are, right? Athletes? Not contestants in a charm school contest? ) I sure don't remember Peggy or Dorothy being personality powerhouses. They also read off the script. But in that era, the sweet, virginal, innocent princess was what was valued in a girl. Today's girls want a different kind of role model. And the old fogies who continue to run USFS are still stuck back in 1972. They don't get that letting these young people act young and free might actually increase their appeal and that making them look and sound like pretty little robots decreases their appeal. All of you FSUers who hated Johnny Weir's personality cannot deny that there were zillions of his fans who showed up at every competition he was in. But USFS hated him and his personality, favoring the biggest robot of them all over him. As long as the USFS continues to blacklist anyone outspoken, therefore discouraging skaters from being spontaneous and candid, nothing will change.
    Do you think they are stuck back in 1972? I think some at US Skating might be stuck in the '50's.

    Looking at Gracie's recent makeover it is easy enough to see the image Frank was going for. I like that he has helped her skating but the packaging looks outdated by decades.

    I agree that US Skating simply wasn't ready for Johnny, and if it is true they have just placed gag orders on certain skaters it just shows their need for control.
    Their vision has nothing to do with contemporary American cultural trends and everything to do with a return to a bygone era.

  20. #80
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    Well, I don't think there's really any conspiracy here to package people according to 1950's norms. I think the more basic issue is you have very young athletes who live extremely sheltered lives and thus, don't have a whole lot of deep things to say in an interview. I just watched Jason Brown on Arsenio, and while he was enthusiastic, he was also pretty one-note. He's very excited and can't believe he's going to Sochi, but that's about it. The funny things he shared were extremely ho-hum. But that's his life right now.

    I don't know why people think the USFSA is suppressing skaters' personalities in media-training when the more obvious explanation is the people being interviewed don't have much more depth to offer than they do because of their youth and lack of life experience. Teens who've spent all their free time in structured training aren't exactly likely to wax poetic about major issues or controversies, much less even be aware such controversies exist. And that will be evident in interviews.

    Those who have more of a life outside the rink are more likely to give colorful interviews, but also tend to be less likely to do well in competition. So they are less sought after come media time--as a result, those selected for interviews tend to be the most sheltered of the lot.

    If people want more meaty interviews, look to the coaches, choreographers, former judges, and dedicated journalists. They have some life experience to draw from, and even in the US they tend to give more informative analysis than anyone else.

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