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Skating Lesson Podcast: Debi Thomas

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Fabrichnova, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. DBZ

    DBZ Well-Known Member

    I really love hearing Debi's insights (both skating and medical) but I do agree she rambles pretty badly and, left to her own devices, can run away with an interview quickly. I think she treats interviews like a big open conversation and basically makes her own sequiturs and connections. The interviewer is merely someone to "talk to," as it were. I don't think she does this out of insane egoism or some power-trip like others are suggesting, but I imagine she's just someone who feels naturally compelled to "take the lead" in almost every given situation in her life. Extreme perfectionists are nothing if not control freaks, as evidenced by her comments on her Calgary experiences.

    Unfortunately, that can make for an extremely unfocused interview if not checked. I remember listening to Manleywoman's podcast with her, and there I also felt Debi constantly veered into unrelated tangents and tried to set the pace of the interview, no doubt unconsciously. I thought Manleywoman did a good job bringing her back to topic, backing up or slowing Debi down if she got too far ahead of herself, or make whatever she was saying relatable to skating in general.

    Ultimately, it's the interviewer's responsibility to assume control as much as possible, and I have to admit, I think Jenny and Dave kinda got run over and didn't know how to re-adjust as quickly when Debi would go off topic. They didn't seem to have a Plan B, and it showed.

    But, having said that, obviously Debi is not the easiest person to interview. I think we can all see that, and I don't envy the person given the task to conduct and construct a linear, cohesive interview with her that is evenly well-rounded and relevant all in one.

    However, in spite of all that, I still find Debi fascinating to listen to. She seems to have so many great stories to share, and above all, her candor and self-awareness when it comes to her strengths, but also her flaws and shortcomings as a skater and person, are very refreshing.
  2. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    I enjoyed the interview, and I'll disagree, I don't think Jennifer or Dave let the interview get away from them. I'd imagine they would be interested to hear what was inside her head, and just went with it. It might seem unfocused, but that showed a side of Debi that her fans probably never saw. I had friends who knew her at Northwestern and god did they have things to say about her. She can come across as very abrasive, but she's really just on her own schedule and she seems nice enough, it's just that not many people stick around to hear what else she has to say. They would have been surprised if they allowed themselves to get into her personality. Everytime I met with her and sat by her during a practice or competition she was either bored and wanted to leave, or VERY complimentary about the other skaters. Which I thought was funny because of that old saying "If you can't say something nice, come sit by me.." So when I'd see Debi in the stands then VROOOM I'm right next to her or in front or behind offering my two cents, but she was so respectful to other skaters. If anything I was glad to hear how positive she was about Tiffany, Caryn, and Jill. I figured she'd connect with Jill, but thought she'd have a stroke thinking about Tiffany and Caryn, the pretty princesses. Glad to see how respectful and complimentary she is to this day. You have to also admit, Kadavy's loop just was insane.

    And that's one thing I liked about this interview. It showed Debi Thomas as a world class athlete with world class sportsmanship. Good job Jennifer and Dave.
  3. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    So far Jenni and Dave have made a podcast a week, which is an mammoth process in itself. On top of the technical challenges they have had to face, Kirk and Lease must be thanked for their important contribution to the sport.

    However, the difference between their show and manleywoman's for example, is that I believe Allison edits her programs more thoroughly so that the interview maintains interest and stays focussed and on track.

    A live program runs the risk of the interviewee running off at a tangent, as Debi did from time to time. So, though she is a fascinating subject and personality, I found it a bit exhausting after 90 minutes, and would probably have wanted to keep it to skating. I did like her theories on the power of positive thinking, though. There is the basis for a terrific book for athletes and anyone where daily focus is key.

    It was good to hear more about her win at US Nationals in 1986 and her loss to Trenary in 1987, rather than rehashing her failure at the 1988 Olympic Games (which I am sure she is tired of talking about).
  4. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    I had talked to Dave before the interview, and that's kind of what I said. Forget Calgary. Enough has been said about it, and I'm sure that would just shut the interview down. Focus on before then, did she think she could have been world champ in 86 or was that just a fluke? Did she believe in herself enough or did she 'fall into' national and world champ? At times I wondered. As a former perfectionist, I related to Debi, and her experience at Calgary. And in a really weird comparison like Monica Seles in her only Wimbledon final. It just didn't feel right. You don't play up to your level, you're off, and you don't care. After all the years of dreaming, you get there and it doesn't feel right, and you're off. I got alot out of this interview, and I really think Dr. Debi should be praised for doing it quite honestly. She certainly didn't give a Michelle Kwan interview, let's get that straight.
  5. waddlercu

    waddlercu Member

    To clarify, I mean "direct" as in candid, outspoken, informal and honest... NOT "straight to the point". :lol:

    I'm in the minority here, but I enjoyed her tangents. She talked about what interests her. I'm glad Dave and Jenny let her go with it.
    AndyWarhol and (deleted member) like this.
  6. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I happened to be reading Robin Cousins biography when this podcast came out and Robin mentioned Alex McGowan. Apparently when Robin was 8 and went to the local rink to take group lessons McGowan was his first instructor and wrote a negative comment on his test report. Something to the effect that Robin would never make it in skating because he didn't know how to stop. (I assume Robin was too rambunctious). Robin next wanted to sign up for an advanced class that McGowan taught and McGowan refused to let him participate because Robin was wearing rental skates (Robin said his family couldn't afford skates and he was humiliated). Apparently Robin's mother got McGowan sorted out with management but the point is those negative experiences stuck with Robin his whole career. I think in his entire book he had nothing negative to say about anyone (and he had some old school coaches) but he made it a point to mention McGowan. McGowan probably didn't even know he had ever taught Robin until that book came out. I'm also surprised that McGowan didn't recognize Cousins as a prodigy back then as he had tested and passed Robin for 3 levels in one lesson series. Apparently his next instructor did.
  7. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    My mother used to be a radio DJ for a talk show way back in the day, and she told me that, though constrained by time, she often appreciated when her interviewees went off on a tangent because it "gave her more to work with" and an opportunity to see what really made the subject tick, as opposed to coming across as a one-dimensional robot, stuck in the world the interview might be about. I really enjoyed Debi's "ramblings". :lol:

    Oh, and Jennifer Kirk seems like a really likeable person; she and Dave are doing a great job at this; it's a really great way to open up the sport a little bit more.
    skateboy and (deleted member) like this.
  8. Fudove

    Fudove Member

    I agree that the interviews are interesting. I began watching them today. Debbie seems very folksy and seems to have a super bed-side manner.