NBC Sports: Female Russian skaters stars rise fast, but burn out too soon

her grace

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Man, the hyperbole and hand-wringing in that article! A few choice quotes:

Russian skating has been characterized by a never-seen turnover of its female wunderkinds in the recent years: Yulia Lipnitskaya was an instant star in 2014 and disappeared; Adelina Sotnikova won her Olympic gold and turned to other endeavors.

Yevgenia Medvedeva could have had the same fortune, had she not decided to move to Canada.
Yes, because Canada is working out so well for Medvedeva. :shuffle: And I see a categorical difference between Med who dominated almost an entire quad and Lip, who was pretty much gone after the post-Olympics GP Final.

Alysa Liu, the new U.S. national champion, is on par with Kihira
:rofl: Kihira would destroy Liu if they competed against each other today.

Why would you come to watch a competition, if after just a few years a skater you had enjoyed watching doesn’t even compete anymore?” he asked.
Maybe because you like skating? ;)
 

Tinami Amori

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:rofl: Kihira would destroy Liu if they competed against each other today.
i am not sure it is fair to compare these two now..

but i agree, this comment in the article is idiotic ...
Why would you come to watch a competition, if after just a few years a skater you had enjoyed watching doesn’t even compete anymore?” he asked.
Skaters do not owe their fans "longevity of careers"... they owe the competition organizers and fans (?) the best skate they can do at the time of the competition.
 

Finsta

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Man, the hyperbole and hand-wringing in that article! A few choice quotes:



Yes, because Canada is working out so well for Medvedeva. :shuffle: And I see a categorical difference between Med who dominated almost an entire quad and Lip, who was pretty much gone after the post-Olympics GP Final.



:rofl: Kihira would destroy Liu if they competed against each other today.



Maybe because you like skating? ;)

Watching Zagitova’s last few competitions—is she really doing THAT much better than Medvedeva? Zagitova is getting worse, Medvedeva has shown improvement. If Zagitova was given correct PCS she would not have placed as high in Europeans. She really is a mess.
 

NAOTMAA

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i am not sure it is fair to compare these two now..

but i agree, this comment in the article is idiotic ...

Skaters do not owe their fans "longevity of careers"... they owe the competition organizers and fans (?) the best skate they can do at the time of the competition.
Longevity is great but people online overrate it. There is a tone from many people (not just here but on any skating board) that suggest just because you don't last long somehow your lesser a skater. Having longevity doesn't make you better and not having it doesn't make you worse. Most skaters who last years would die to have a career Oksana and Tara, or even Sarah (who lasted only one quad).
 

dramagrrl

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Having longevity doesn't make you better and not having it doesn't make you worse. Most skaters who last years would die to have a career Oksana and Tara, or even Sarah (who lasted only one quad).
I personally disagree that having longevity doesn't make you better and that not having it doesn't make you worse. Also, Sarah's career, or anyone who lasted an entire quad being on national and international podiums with relative consistency, seems eons longer than Baiul's or Lipinski's, whose international careers essentially lasted less than two full seasons.
 

Japanfan

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Longevity is great but people online overrate it. There is a tone from many people (not just here but on any skating board) that suggest just because you don't last long somehow your lesser a skater. Having longevity doesn't make you better and not having it doesn't make you worse. Most skaters who last years would die to have a career Oksana and Tara, or even Sarah (who lasted only one quad).
Longevity arguably does make you better. Sure, many skaters would die to have a short-lived career like Oksana, Tara, or Sarah.

But maintaining a high level of skill/performance over many years, as Kwan did, is much harder than doing it for just a season or two. And it requires serious commitment and dedication, and dealing with the various injuries and other challenges that will inevitably occur.

For those skaters that did not achieve longevity, we do not know if it would have made them better or worse - we never had a chance to find out.
 

reut

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From my old interview with Carolina, it was in spring 2016, during the "Ice Legends" in Geneva, we discussed her comeback:

And that's what makes this cast so fantastic, because everyone technically has just arrived [to the top] and so now they get the chance - and they still have passion for the sport - to continue to evolve emotionally.
It's a pity that in our sport people leave so young that they rarely reach this point. Now with Tessa and Scott coming back maybe we can lead into a change of that mentality. Maybe... That would be fantastic.
The main value I see in longevity is that the skater has enough time to evolve emotionally, like she said, to grow to be a more mature person. And if he/she grows to be this deep, thoughtful, interesting, multilayered person (not everyone does, yes), this will for sure be reflected in his/her skating. For sure will be felt when the person performs on the ice.
 

reut

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I loved this article, was a bit surprised to read it as I know Jean-Christophe Berlot to be a very nice person who is always very, very kind to skaters and coaches. Loved the “Kleenex syndrome” term, never heard of it before.

The only thing I'm not sure about:
"The challenge for the best coaches of the world is to find a way to develop the Kwans and the Katarina Witts of tomorrow. Knowing Tutberidze enough, we may be confident that she is striving to do so."
I don't think she does, why would she? She has big enough "supply" of very young and very talented girls till the next Olys.
 

bardtoob

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A long career at the pinnacle of eligible ladies singles is an EXCEPTION that goes to legends like Henie, Vinson-Owen, Witt, and Kwan.

Perhaps Ito, Kerrigan, Harding, and Yamaguchi could have fit into this category because their technique had longevity; they were doing the same jumps at 14 as they were doing at 22. However, competition format, the eligibility rules, the Olympic cycle itself, and the demand for show skaters was very unstable during the 3 Olympics for which they could have been competitive.
 
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dramagrrl

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I would actually count Ito and Yamaguchi as skaters whose careers had longevity. Both "retired" in an era when there was a huge and very active competitive pro circuit and maintained very high levels of technical ability for many years after they stopped competing in amateur competitions. If I remember correctly, Yamaguchi even beat Kwan in a pro-am event under ISU rules. Ito even returned to eligible competition years later for a brief period of time.
 

rfisher

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Longevity is purely a product of the skaters commitment to skating. Many simply move on to other things. How can you attach a value of better or worse to someone who started serious skating at a very young age, competes through their teen years and then decides they want to go to college, get other jobs, have families or just not skate any longer? Many who stay don't know what else to do with their lives apart from skating. Which is fine. It's also fine if they want to do other things. And, if you add Tara and Oksana's pro career, it lasted quite a while. Sarah Hughes went on to college and did other things.
 

Sylvia

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I loved this article, was a bit surprised to read it as I know Jean-Christophe Berlot to be a very nice person who is always very, very kind to skaters and coaches. Loved the “Kleenex syndrome” term, never heard of it before.
I think the article headline (and this thread title) doesn't accurately reflect what Berlot actually wrote in his opinion piece/analysis which I found to be fairly balanced overall.

Berlot has been freelancing for NBC Sports' 'Olympic Talk (since Icenetwork.com is no more) and I'm pretty sure he wasn't responsible for the (clickbait-ish) headline.
 

giselle23

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The article only mentions two "wunderkinds" who started early and had long careers. But there are many more, most notably, Yuna Kim. Others who who had long careers and won many medals: Ashley Wagner, Mirai Nagasu, Carolina Kostner, Akiko Suzuki, Shizuka Arakawa, Midori Ito and others, I'm sure.
 

Erin

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I would actually count Ito and Yamaguchi as skaters whose careers had longevity. Both "retired" in an era when there was a huge and very active competitive pro circuit and maintained very high levels of technical ability for many years after they stopped competing in amateur competitions. If I remember correctly, Yamaguchi even beat Kwan in a pro-am event under ISU rules. Ito even returned to eligible competition years later for a brief period of time.
I would also add that the results of both were held back by school figures. Ito in particular could have been a multiple time world champion under a different system. I don’t know how anyone could argue that Ito didn’t have a long career considering that she attended 8 world championships in four different quads (with her first and last coming 12 years apart) and 2 Olympic Games.

I don’t really have much to say about the article itself but I’m an unabashed Ito uber and regardless of what her numerical results were, her skating was legendary for a long period of time. Any current skater who could keep up that level of skating for as long as she did under IJS would be blowing us all away.
 

Tinami Amori

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I don’t really have much to say about the article itself but I’m an unabashed Ito uber and regardless of what her numerical results were, her skating was legendary for a long period of time. Any current skater who could keep up that level of skating for as long as she did under IJS would be blowing us all away.
Both, Midori Ito and Fumie Suguri, chose skating as their life long career and/or hobby, they are skating in Adult Int'l events till today or until very recently.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwhaBcT7j50
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A2fPsBxXZQ

It is their choice, good for them. It is wonderful if one loves his/her activity so much, that they can do it for decades and have means to do it.

As to "would be blowing us all away" sounds like you decided for all how "all of us" should react, and that's not right. I enjoyed some of their programms very much, felt very positive about their skating, but was never an "uber" or "blown away" too often.

Fans have their various preferences in styles/skaters/goals/etc., and skaters have their own goals and plans. It is the skaters who skate, spend money and time, so their goals is what is important.

There are skaters who did not/do not plan to make skating their careers, or to stay in competitive skating or skating in general for more than a certain period of time, before moving on to education, other careers, or show-skating. It does not matter what the fans want.

Witt stayed 2 cycles, then chose to quite and then to come back.
Lipinski chose to become an entertainer, first a show skater, then a actress, then a media personality.
Kwan chose to stay for 3 olympic cycles.
Hughes won Olypics, and chose education.
Edmunds won her US Nationals, and made it to 1 Olympics, and chose to go to college.
Sotnikova could not cut the strings with the idea of staying competitive, but did not do or did not have what it takes.
Sotskova after the 2018 Olympic cycle decided that education is more important, and skating became secondary.
Kostornaya made it clear, that after one olympic cycle, 2022, she plans to go to medical school.

Some never reach their goals because of various circumstances or lack of abilities.

People, who are skaters, have different goals in life. All have their "best years" when they can perform their best, some at 14, some at 16, some at 20, etc, and in pairs/dance as far as into 30's.

The wider the "age range" for skaters to perform internationally in major events, the more likely they are to find those few years when they are at their best.

As to fans? some want to see what they perceive as "maturity" which is subjective, some want to see "young and energetic", some want to see "the most difficulty possible", some want to see "artistic side", or any other elements they want, or combinations.

But it is up to the skater, not fans.
 

Madhatter

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Well, Russia is still in better position than USA. At least their stars rise before burning out, American girls just seem to burn out without rising, judging by this season.

I'm sure there's a baking joke hidden in there somewhere.
 

overedge

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I would also add that the results of both were held back by school figures. Ito in particular could have been a multiple time world champion under a different system. I don’t know how anyone could argue that Ito didn’t have a long career considering that she attended 8 world championships in four different quads (with her first and last coming 12 years apart) and 2 Olympic Games.
Plus competing as an adult at the ISU event in Obertsdorf!
 

Tinami Amori

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Well, Russia is still in better position than USA. At least their stars rise before burning out, American girls just seem to burn out without rising, judging by this season.
... that's inaccurate... this season has all new girls, Tennell is fairly new and she is medaling at int'l events... in the past US had many long-lifers in the top... Kwan, Cohen, Nagasu, Bell, Wagner... few others.
 

all_empty

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Many know Midori's breakout performance in Calgary but her first appearance at senior Worlds was in 1984.

She had debuted at Junior Worlds in 1981 as an 11 (!) year-old, landing several triples and winning the free skate.

Counting her comeback, her competitive career lasted 15+ years, and of course she now skates for the love of the sport as an adult.

Who knows what the future might hold for Alysa? She might have a Tara-like career and try to accomplish everything in one quad. She might hit a few bumps like Ashley or Mirai. Or she could have an extremely long career like Midori.

Now is the time to work on her technique and consistency -- as those are the basic building blocks of any successful career.

Very rarely does consistency come later in a career -- Akiko and Tatiana Malinina are exceptions that come to mind.
 

Willin

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One of my favorite parts of longevity is seeing what skaters become as they mature. Some skaters have early success, struggle, have an injury, or hit a wall in their late teens/early 20s for whatever reason, and then develop into the best version of themselves at a later date: Ashley, Carolina, James/Cipres, Virtue/Moir, Deanna Stellato, etc. etc. There's also plenty of other skaters who are doing that right now: Bradie, Evgenia, and Jason are doing that right now.

What saddens me about the Russian ladies (or at least the ones from Eteri) is that we'll probably never see that best version. They train in a way that seems to produce short careers as opposed to one that encourages growth and development. And they probably don't know that - but it's often too late to fix much by the time they realize they want to keep competing or skating, if they even want to after all that intensive training. I guess it's a bit overdramatic, but sometimes it feels like the adults are taking a potential future in skating away from these girls for the sake of their own short-term success.
 

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