ESPN column: How can an international sport need a costume?

Sylvia

Looking forward to U.S. club competition season
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64,744
This column has been brought up in 2 different threads in GSD so I'm starting a thread here (@VIETgrlTerifa was the first to post):
@missing, would you like to copy over your post from the U.S. Ladies thread into this thread?

Lukas' original tweet has garnered quite a few lively responses from skating fans & skaters alike: https://twitter.com/UniWatch/status/941698903598039040

https://twitter.com/AshWagner2010/status/942207632219107328
Big LOL at this article. Live for ignorant male writers who take something beautiful and question if it could possibly be a sport! Put @JannyMedvedeva in a paper bag and she'll still be a kickass ATHLETE who dominates..SMH @espn at such a ridiculous article

https://twitter.com/Adaripp/status/942219439696523266
I think what makes
26f8.png
such an awesome sport is that the costumes are an expression of the ATHLETE wearing them. Whether simple or over the top, it’s all done while maintaining a heart rate of about 180bpm for 5 mins.
 
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misskarne

Handy Emergency Backup Mode
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20,601
Oh yay, here come the know-nothing know-it-alls who don't even know figure skating exists in the years between Olympics trying to tell us what we need to change in our sport. Yeah...NO.

His whole premise is based on a fictionalised exchange in a MOVIE, FFS. He comes off as over mansplainy and condescending and has his nose stuck up in the air the whole darned time as he carefully explains to us poor, uneducated fools that figure skating isn't even a sport. And he doesn't even fact-check properly - Meryl Davis' name is misspelled in the article. What an absolute prat.
 

caseyedwards

Well-Known Member
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16,255
This philosophy explains what Scott Hamilton wore in 1984. In gymnastics floor routines they don’t wear costumes that reflect the music. Wearing costumes that reflect or compliment the music became part of Figure skating. It’s tradition. When they do the test skates in Russia and everyone in wearing black it shows how countries could decide on a color and scheme if they wanted. How about what slutskaya wore in her sp in 2005-2006? Or natahn Chen so far this season? With Chen something is missing! I say keep the costumes but I can see great uniform ideas.
 

Aerobicidal

Shut that door.
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11,158
I strongly agree with the author of this erudite article as strongly as I strongly disagree with Maryl Daviss.

When I tune in to the Olimpicks, I don't want to see glamour and "excessive nudity." I want to see athletes wearing Spandex plastered with corporate logos because those unaforms capcher the two real valuez of the games: capitalism and visible penis line.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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29,810
Funny how hacks like this one only seem to care about non-issues like this in Olympic years.

And funny why they don't ever write columns saying that football and baseball teams should allow their players to dress however they want to, so that we can see the players' real personalities and make the games more interesting.
 
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MsZem

Well-Known Member
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15,429
This article wasn't inspired by I, Tonya - Lukas just used the example for his standard "skating is not a sport because the scoring is subjective"/"skaters must wear uniforms" Olympic season column. No argument that scores are not based on skaters' costumes has ever persuaded him otherwise. It's clear he has no understanding of the sport or much familiarity with current competitors.

Maryl Davis is one of the producers of Outlander. I don't think she should wear a uniform, either.
 

Willin

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2,190
@overedge Or how Nike should stop trying to use Oregon for fashion statements. Seriously, if you're going to bash figure skaters for ugly costumes, you should probably bash Oregon for wearing a new football uniform pretty much every week - each one generally crazier than the last. Then again, they are pretty innovative in their crazy choices. There's the highlighter pink uniforms, the not-even-school-colored uniforms, the throwback and not in a good way green and yellow, the almost highlighter uniforms, the double highlighter option, the literal duck costume uniforms, etc. etc.
Sports in general are pretty awful. Highlighter Baylor was awful. Brown and yellow? Weird orange patchwork? An alligator costume with a blue undershirt?

Seriously if this dude wants to complain about sports being too flashy he could easily stick to sports he actually (presumably) knows
 

Karen-W

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6,066
@overedge Or how Nike should stop trying to use Oregon for fashion statements. Seriously, if you're going to bash figure skaters for ugly costumes, you should probably bash Oregon for wearing a new football uniform pretty much every week - each one generally crazier than the last. Then again, they are pretty innovative in their crazy choices. There's the highlighter pink uniforms, the not-even-school-colored uniforms, the throwback and not in a good way green and yellow, the almost highlighter uniforms, the double highlighter option, the literal duck costume uniforms, etc. etc.
Sports in general are pretty awful. Highlighter Baylor was awful. Brown and yellow? Weird orange patchwork? An alligator costume with a blue undershirt?

Seriously if this dude wants to complain about sports being too flashy he could easily stick to sports he actually (presumably) knows

Hey, no dissing my Ducks!!!!! If you followed the team you would know that the highlighter pink uniforms were for Pink October and Breast Cancer Awareness month; the "not even their school colors" uniforms were throwbacks in honor of UO's original colors AND nickname (hence the "Webfoots" on the front of the jersey); the "throwback and not in a good way" were actually well-received by true, longtime Ducks fans who were sick of black, dark green, highlighter yellow, and silver taking over the traditional "emerald green and gold" colors we had for decades; I personally didn't mind the "almost highlighter" uniforms, though I would have preferred green instead of black for the accent color); I LOVE the "double highlighter" uniforms - that is the best and closest update/refresh of the traditional UO colors of the examples you provided; and lastly the "literal duck" - those were... Interesting, didn't love them, didn't hate them, though they definitely got the fans talking. And THAT right there is the major point of the new uniforms weekly for the Ducks. It got, still gets, the team attention outside of the Pac 12. Part of what makes the Ducks able to recruit as well as they do nationally is the uniform swag. It was marketing genius when Uncle Phil made the offer and it still works. Every week during football season, I look forward to my FB feed showing me what the Ducks will be wearing the next day. And judging by the comments generated on those posts, there are plenty of fans who are paying attention and engaged in the team.

Figure skating, when it has "stars" who are flamboyant and fun, can generate the same sort of media chatter. Imagine what it would be like if Katarina Witt was skating today... Lord knows, everyone remembers Johnny Weir and "Camille" - so much so that he and that costume were parodied in a major, big budget Hollywood comedy. The costumes certainly matter, though not nearly as much as the personality of the skaters themselves. No one skating today transcends the sport and captures the general public.
 

RoseRed

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1,760
As a hockey fan, we talk about those "uniforms" all the time. I've seen so many lists / articles ranking home jerseys, away jerseys, third jerseys, comments about the jerseys they use for heritage games. There was tons of discussion leading up to Sochi on the best jersey designs for the different countries.

And in tennis players where different kits for different tournaments, some have custom kits, and it gets pretty flashy sometimes. People rank the looks for both female and male players after major tournaments, etc.
 

jenniferlyon

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2,969
As a hockey fan, we talk about those "uniforms" all the time. I've seen so many lists / articles ranking home jerseys, away jerseys, third jerseys, comments about the jerseys they use for heritage games. There was tons of discussion leading up to Sochi on the best jersey designs for the different countries.

In synchronized skating, they wear uniforms. Or rather, identical costumes. But for singles, pairs, and ice dancers there's no need to wear a uniform. During the actual competition, there are never more than two people on the ice. What would be the point in making everybody wear the same outfit? Besides, there's no way to design a uniform that looks good on all skaters, so we'd eventually end up with "the uniform looks better on Suzy Snowplow than it does on Mary Toepick. It's not fair! Skaters should be able to wear something that flatters them!"

And in tennis players where different kits for different tournaments, some have custom kits, and it gets pretty flashy sometimes. People rank the looks for both female and male players after major tournaments, etc.

Yeah, golfers also wear outfits that cater to their individual tastes (and sponsorships). They usually aren't as well-dressed as tennis players, but it's the same general idea.
 

skatingguy

Golden Team
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8,268
As a hockey fan, we talk about those "uniforms" all the time. I've seen so many lists / articles ranking home jerseys, away jerseys, third jerseys, comments about the jerseys they use for heritage games. There was tons of discussion leading up to Sochi on the best jersey designs for the different countries.

And in tennis players where different kits for different tournaments, some have custom kits, and it gets pretty flashy sometimes. People rank the looks for both female and male players after major tournaments, etc.

Yeah, golfers also wear outfits that cater to their individual tastes (and sponsorships). They usually aren't as well-dressed as tennis players, but it's the same general idea.
Even in sports where athletes wear uniforms they find ways to personalize their style. I think of women's finger nails in track & field or Canadian bobsleigh pilot Kaillie Humphries wild hairstyles and tattoos.
 

Willin

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2,190
@Karen-W hahaha I figured you'd respond to the Oregon thing. I thought there was a pink for breast cancer awareness and another similar pink one for no reason?
The reason I cited Oregon in particular is because they're the most obvious case of flashy uniforms in American sport. I get that the Oregon fans like the uniforms, but they're not well received by fans who aren't Oregon fans (at least based on all the fun made of them on college football forums - but, as you say, it's good advertising because fans of other teams get engaged with Oregon's uniforms). Personally I like the silver and white ones best - very sleek and easy to look at. You can also never say Oregon's boring - I tend to like my alma mater's uniforms, but they never take risks.
I didn't mind the duck costume ones. When they came out I thought they were pretty creative, if ugly. Then Florida's alligator monstrosities came out and I realized that I'd rather have cartoonish and fun than whatever the heck those were


But back to skating. I think it's interesting that the author ignores the fact that there are uniforms. Not when they're on the ice, but in the Kiss & Cry athletes are given team jackets to wear. I think some countries also give skaters team warm-up pants to wear while they wait backstage for results. For the Olympics, Team USA athletes have a required uniform for all ceremonies including the medal ceremonies. So it's not like figure skating entirely ignores team uniformity in appearance.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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29,810
The Oregon football teams' different uniforms might be to promote different causes etc. but IMO they're still ugly.

But back to skating. I think it's interesting that the author ignores the fact that there are uniforms.

I would guess that's because the author obviously doesn't know very much about skating at all, and/or doesn't want to include any information that contradicts the point of his article - which mainly seems to be "oh look at me I'm so controversial and daring".
 

MsZem

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I'm an Oregon fan who dislikes the uniform of the week approach. I guess I'm a traditionalist. But Oregon is not trying to recruit me, and I'm not the target audience for their sports merchandise, either.

I would guess that's because the author obviously doesn't know very much about skating at all, and/or doesn't want to include any information that contradicts the point of his article - which mainly seems to be "oh look at me I'm so controversial and daring".
How can it be daring when he posts the same thing every four years? I think Lukas just has a very narrow conception of what sports are and is unwilling to budge when faced with information that suggests he might be wrong.

Adam Rippon's tweet about his mesh uniform :rofl:
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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29,810
How can it be daring when he posts the same thing every four years?

Every four years is an eternity in journalism. Plus with the amount of turnover at ESPN there probably aren't any editors who have been there long enough to remember that he wrote the same article four years ago ;)
 

Seerek

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5,434
Synchronized swimming tried to go the national/flag colours route in its early years in the Olympic programme, but there's only so much you can do with such limited options.

Some of the less aggressive critics on the topic have suggested at minimum the 3 letter IOC abbreviation for the country somewhere on the costume.
 

Foolhardy Ham Lint

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This is nothing new.

Lukas is like any sports reporter drawing the short straw, assigned to a skating event, who doesn't want to be there.

They bring their sour grapes and prejudice to the table, as a way to undermine skating's considerable athletic prowess.
 

meggonzo

Well-Known Member
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8,351
Is this guy really basing his argument on Tonya Harding's recollection of why she didn't place well at a competition? oh boy...
 

Willin

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2,190
Tonya's costumes were tacky, but they weren't any tackier than any other skating costume from that time. (Then again, if living in a snooty community has taught me anything it's that snooty people will find reasons to be snooty even if they're entirely nonsensical...)

@Vagabond Well, they do have naked ski events and polar bear swims, so I'd imagine the skaters would be okay with it. On the other hand, the TV contracts wouldn't be quite as okay...
 

briancoogaert

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13,496
What is beautiful about FS is that it tells us a story. And costume is part of the journey.
On the other hand, in Theater on Ice, for the SP, costumes are forbiden, everybody is in black, no make-up... ;)
 

Willin

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2,190
@misskarne Well, less fictionalized and more exaggerated. In 30 for 30: The Price of Gold someone - possibly Tonya but I believe someone else (if not multiple people) - discussed how she was heavily ridiculed for having homemade costumes.
Idk if you can get this outside of the US/Canada because they're ESPN produced, but maybe it's on YouTube? It's really good, and does a good job of explaining how Tonya got so messed up. It also made me more conflicted about the whole thing - I felt bad because her childhood and the way other people in the skating community treated her were absolutely awful, and I'd like to use that to excuse her behavior, but it's clear from her own testimony that she's still a scumbag whose behavior I do not want to excuse.

I watched it when it first came out, so I can't recall if she blamed the dresses for individual bad results, but I know it was brought up in the context of her being an outsider to the sport. (Along with other details like the single parent thing, skating at a mall rink, not being from a wealthy family, not training at a major center, getting married young to a sketchy dude, etc.) That is, the homemade dresses made her look unlike the skaters USFS's political establishment favored: the pretty ice princess with the perfect hair and dress. It was also an excuse for other skating people to look down on her, as judges/USFS execs/coaches/skating parents could more acceptably make fun of her dresses as opposed to other aspects of her life and training.
 

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