PRESSION (Pressure) documentary featuring Rochette, Phaneuf, Dubé, Sawyer, Séguin, Bilodeau, Ruest

Sylvia

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April 28, 2021 article by MARIE-JOSÉE R. ROY in Le Journal de Montreal:
Machine translated excerpts (corrections welcomed):
To stay slim. To continue to perform after an injury. Financial pressure, too, because the practice of sport is so expensive that failure is absolutely not a possible outcome.
Journalist Marie-Christine Noël (The pilot of the stars, Detox, Confronting the unknown) herself skated until she was a teenager, until she reached the intermediate level. And already, at the time, she felt the weight of expectations, disproportionate demands, the culture of silence and even sometimes the disgust of sport, which rumbled between two blows of blades among her comrades.
“You had to be perfect, right down to your fingertips,” she sums up.
Noël therefore wanted to expose the other side of the coin of an environment where suffering is normalized, where it becomes synonymous with success.
In the great report produced by Ninon Pednault (assisted by cinematographer Guillaume Shea Blais, who filmed the skaters in action on the ice), athletes Joannie Rochette, Cynthia Phaneuf, Jessica Dubé, Shawn Sawyer, Charlie Bilodeau and Julianne Séguin, as well that Camille Ruest, who is currently part of the Canadian figure skating team, testify to their experience and the unattainable standards that they themselves, or their colleagues, have had to impose in the hope of always shining more in their discipline.
"They wanted to speak to change these mentalities," notes Ninon Pednault.
Joëlle Carpentier, consultant in performance psychology at UQAM, and Sylvain Croteau, general manager of Sport'Aide, also speak with a view to raising awareness in Pressure.
However, interestingly, Patinage Québec and Skate Canada refused - by email - to intervene in the visually magnificent film which takes us to the rinks of the North Shore and the South Shore of Montreal at the time of the winter sunsets and sunrises.
“I would have liked to ask them questions about the testimonies that we had, specifies Marie-Christine Noël, but we were not able to do so. From the start of the investigation, we were told that it would be difficult to talk to them. ”
"It confirms that it is very hermetic," adds Ninon Pednault.

A subscription is required to watch:
https://illicoweb.videotron.com/club-illico-en/1295806/Pression
 
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Sylvia

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Re-posting here from the Canadian Pairs thread:
I came across an article about Seguin and Bilodeau. It's a bit oddly written (translated?), and I am not familiar with this news source. The article says that Julianne is suffering long-term concussion effects and "depends on her parents for washing, cleaning, and preparing meals." But it doesn't give many more details of her current condition nor what the long-term medical outlook is.
Excerpt:
As part of the filming of the documentary Pressure, Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau embarked together on an ice rink for the first time since their professional separation.
...
At the time of their separation, Julianne had no idea that Charlie might have saved her life. He made the decision that she would never have succeeded in making, that of withdrawing to heal himself.
“I got out of this unhealthy situation thanks to him,” Julianne said with hindsight. The whole atmosphere was no longer good. I didn’t have the strength to pull through. He did it for his own good, but also for me. […] It was time for a change. It wouldn’t have worked another four years in the same bubble.”
 

Sylvia

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I came across an article about Seguin and Bilodeau. It's a bit oddly written (translated?), and I am not familiar with this news source.
@clairecloutier, this is the original article in French by [the filmmakers of Pression] MARIE-CHRISTINE NOËL and NINON PEDNAULT (May 1):

Figure skater Jessica Dubé suffered from bulimia at the end of her career (from the same source):

ETA this tweet from the filmmaker: https://twitter.com/MCNoel25/status/1387901080156221444

"On réalise des documentaires pour raconter les histoires des autres et peut-être faire la différence. Bien humblement. Quand je lis ceci je sais que notre travail est nécessaire. Notre documentaire « Pression » sur le patin artistique est disponible sur #clubillico @VideotronDiv [Vidéotron Divertissement]
We make documentaries to tell other people's stories and maybe make a difference. Very humbly. When I read this I know our work is needed. Our documentary "Pressure" on figure skating is available..."
 
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Sylvia

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Re-posting here from the Canadian Pairs news thread (added machine translated excerpt from the first article linked below):
It is part of a bigger look into the abuses in figure skating covered in the new documentary Pression. Le Journal de Montréal published 6 articles today as part of an investigation in conjunction with the film. [...]
Linked in the article is an interview that Julianne and the director Marie-Christine Noël did with a quebecois sports podcast Avantage NumériQ (https://omny.fm/shows/jean-francois-baril/pression-un-documentaire-qui-pr-sente-lenvers-du-p) where she talks about the daily struggles she still faces. In the interview she mentions that she is working with a neurologist and hope that they will be able to find a solution in the future to mitigate at least some of the symptoms.
The other 4 articles (thanks @cgirl!) not linked above are:
  • Overview - "Eating disorders, poorly treated injuries and abuse among elite figure skaters": https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/05/01/des-olympiens-se-vident-le-coeur
    As part of the documentary Pressure, broadcast on Club illico since Thursday, seven figure skaters take the floor to tell how the standards imposed by sport have sometimes pushed them to put their health at stake.
    They agreed to testify in order to develop this sport that they loved so much.
    “A good spring cleaning is always necessary,” says Shawn Sawyer, Olympic athlete turned coach. [...] We will have to shed light on less beautiful things and, when these things are settled and improved, it will be an even more extraordinary sport."
    The athletes who spoke to our Bureau of Investigation look back on the period between 2006 and 2018. Some are still living with after-effects from the past, including concussions or poorly treated injuries.
    It is rare for elite athletes to speak openly about the troubles they have experienced. They have evolved under the eyes of sports organizations, coaches and specialists, and the fear of offending some of them is very present.
    From confessions obtained, most skaters came to convince themselves to minimize their pain and condition, even though they were sometimes seriously injured. [...]
    For Joëlle Carpentier, sports psychology consultant at UQAM, some athletes have the impression that they have to suffer to be successful. A false mentality long conveyed and which must change, according to her.
    "It's like normalizing the fact that you have to suffer to push back that limit," explains the specialist.
  • Joannie Rochette talks about comments on her weight: https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/05/01/joannie-rochette-des-commentaires-sur-son-poids
  • Athletes being weighed multiple times a day [not available online right now]: https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/05/01/elle-se-pesait-trois-fois-par-jour
  • The mental training of athletes: https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/05/01/on-ne-battra-pas-les-russes-avant-12-ans
 
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cgh_11

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I don't read much French but the English google translate for these articles seems fairly accurate. So very sad to read the struggles of these athletes and the lack of attention paid to injuries and eating disorders. If this many high level competitors suffered think of how many others struggled in the local clubs, sacrificed their mental and physical health and never made it to this level. As much as I love figure skating, I can't imagine putting my kids in that environment.
 

ChiquitaBanana

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I don't read much French but the English google translate for these articles seems fairly accurate. So very sad to read the struggles of these athletes and the lack of attention paid to injuries and eating disorders. If this many high level competitors suffered think of how many others struggled in the local clubs, sacrificed their mental and physical health and never made it to this level. As much as I love figure skating, I can't imagine putting my kids in that environment.
They all kind of said that it went wacko when they entered the four-year cycle for the Olympics. Reaching for the top at National is something but being sent to GP events with the expectations of a federation Isa whole other ball game.
 

sap5

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They all kind of said that it went wacko when they entered the four-year cycle for the Olympics. Reaching for the top at National is something but being sent to GP events with the expectations of a federation Isa whole other ball game.
How much influence does the High Performance Director have here?
 

dramagrrl

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I will try to translate the documentary into English in a near future.
That would be so great! I have been waffling on paying for Club Illico to watch the documentary because my (not fluent at all) French is very rusty and I feel I would struggle to keep up with rapid Quebecois French.
 

Sylvia

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Reviving this thread one year later (is the PRESSION documentary still available to be watched?) to share the link to this interview by Justine Roberge (May 6, 2022)...

Charlie Bilodeau – The Olympic dream... but at what cost? “Anything is possible in life, but just because it's possible doesn't necessarily mean it's worth it. »

Google translated excerpt of the end:
I will be the father of a little boy in a few months and I am happy to have understood all that before having a child. I know that my approach to sport with him will be different. I want to accompany him so that he discovers what really nourishes him and that he grasps the balance he needs to be well in all spheres of his life.
Whatever he chooses, I want him to take the time to listen to himself, to be gentle with himself, to understand that it's normal to change, to evolve, to have doubts. Basically, the important thing is to feel good about yourself.
It took me two years to realize that in Pyeongchang, I achieved what I was looking for in sport: knowing that I was able to realize a dream that seemed unattainable to me.
Everything is possible in life, but just because it's possible doesn't necessarily mean it's worth it. I want my son to know that.
 

Sylvia

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Camille Ruest shared post-surgery photos a few days ago: https://www.instagram.com/p/CddlXkkL2fe/

Her post dated April 21, 2022 in which she thanks her supporters, especially Drew Wolfe: https://www.instagram.com/p/CcnQRz1rPhm/
Machine translation:
"2.5 years of walking on crutches. (And throwing them off as soon as I got near a camera) In exactly one week I will have my total hip replacement surgery. Word that scared me at first but tbh now I can't wait anymore. Truth is, I haven't been pain free since my labrum tore in 2019 and I can't wait to feel "normal"... (take a walk) (hike) (cut my own toenails) (put my socks on alone) (sleep without pain) ..."
 

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