The Russian Dolls Have Transformed Figure Skating.... in the Guardian

ninjapirate

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The article was posted in the "abusive training environments" thread.

The article was one sided nagging... which would have been perfectly fine if they spent a second half weighing different solutions. The implied solution is to just raise the age which I think is the cheap and myopic solution though raising it to 16 would be ok. Oh, or the "properly judge PCS" pipe dream.

I would prefer either 1) there being a couple different rulesets with at least one working better for a broader set of bodytypes(focusing on jump height and maybe speed in-out of jumps could be part of it... flat out limiting jump tech could be part of it... there's a lot that could be done) 2) create special "medal winners" competitions for former top skaters.(they would probably have to be at GPF and Worlds at first to gain traction) 3) or both together with special medal winner competitions with a different ruleset

I do think it's crazy that the ISU after helping(it was always going to decline from where it was) to kill off pro skating they never properly replaced the function that pro skating provided.

Rarely does someone like Dana White of the UFC or Vince McMahon of the WWE build up a name for them to thrown out out quickly? And even if they did, those people would have other venues keep going.
 

Tinami Amori

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The article was posted in the "abusive training environments" thread.
But why hold back on regurgitating negativity and lies against Russia at every opportunit, and while keeping German, Japanese, American, Finnish abuse in skating issue in a general topic single out the Russian issue once again. and then some call me paranoid..:D
 

muffinplus

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Ugh, Korpi is such a drama queen.

Calling someone's (successful) school a child factory is borderline offensive/libelous. Does she have proof of emotional abuse to be making such claims?

"People miss watching emotionally mature women skate instead of girls. " - what is she talking about??? Kostornaia skates very maturely. Shcherbakova is very musical (who cares about her age?). Korpi is just stuck on her agenda
 
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Immortelle

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More about Korpi and her axe-grinding hobby than about the 3As.

Did the journalist bother to interview anyone else???
 

Willin

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I agree 100% with Korpi. The training environment isn't healthy, and based on her phrasing she isn't just talking about Russia - she's talking about elite skating in general. She specifically calls out other countries in her quotes. I think the article is just focusing on Eteri's camp because it's by far the most successful and notable example of this type of environment. It's also the only one where we widely know of certain abusive training practices (promoting eating disorders, overuse/overtraining at a younger age than the west, dumping students for the next best thing, encouraging a quick return to training on injuries, etc.). Korpi even states Eteri is a symptom of a larger issue, not an isolated thing.

I do think solutions should be offered, but Korpi raising awareness that this is a widespread problem is just as important. As Korpi mentions, many federations turn a blind eye to abusive environments because results. Maybe we need awareness so outside pressure can force federations or the ISU to do something. Obviously internal pressure is not enough.
 

Aerobicidal

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Clearly, the Guardian should have interviewed Ivana Komova for this article. Better yet, Ivana should have written it herself. She would never publish such biased, anti-Russian trash!
 

Tinami Amori

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It's also the only one where we widely know of certain abusive training practices (promoting eating disorders, overuse/overtraining at a younger age than the west, dumping students for the next best thing, encouraging a quick return to training on injuries, etc.).
Lies, exaggerations, twisting of facts, personal perceptions from a far distance based on rumors, intentional use of drastic terms that have nothing to do with reality...

"dumping students for the next best thing" a coach has a right to chose students, students have a right to chose coaches. Sometimes the partnership does not work and either a coach or a student see it first.

"encouraging a quick return to training on injuries" bull! never happened in Eteri's camp. On the contrary, the coaches had to hold some skaters back from trying difficult elements too quickly after an injury. Kostornaya is one example, she even complained about it on IG - "i had to sneak behind their back to do it"...

"overuse/overtraining at a younger age than the west" - who said "western way" is the ultimate unit of measure? in your head maybe.... Try comparing and talking about Japan, China, other countries in other sports. "West" is not always right, but obnoxious enough to impose its values and standards on everybody. Get off your high horse..... there are other values and measures.

"promoting eating disorders" a lie and an exaggeration! all Khrystalny champions/top skaters are happy and healthy people. the fact that some skaters in the group have slightly slower metabolism and need to watch their weight more than others, is just a reality in any sport, ballet, and other occupations where weight is directly related to performance. Not eating or drinking much the day before a competition or a performance is common in many sports, dance, ballet, etc...

Why are we not talking about many other coaches, they all came before Tutberidze.

In Japan - the mighty skating empire - Akiko Suzuki anorexia. Recent talk about a trainer pulling skaters by their hair, hitting against the railing and insulting about extra weight. Few bits of info came up..... and no more mentions? shoved under the rug... real accusations vs. "assumption" on what "Eteri maybe doing" without any proof.

Tarasova yelling to Radionova on National TV - "you're out of shape, you can't jump with that weight".

Or Butryskaya "when my girls get overweight, i take them into my house, control what they eat, and they lose 5 kg in 1 week".

Or Marina Zueva "checking weights" (in USA) ...

Buyanova kicking Goubanova out of the group and insulting her publicly for "not following the weight instructions and getting too heavy"...

etc......
 

hanca

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I agree 100% with Korpi. The training environment isn't healthy, and based on her phrasing she isn't just talking about Russia - she's talking about elite skating in general. She specifically calls out other countries in her quotes. I think the article is just focusing on Eteri's camp because it's by far the most successful and notable example of this type of environment. It's also the only one where we widely know of certain abusive training practices (promoting eating disorders, overuse/overtraining at a younger age than the west, dumping students for the next best thing, encouraging a quick return to training on injuries, etc.). Korpi even states Eteri is a symptom of a larger issue, not an isolated thing.

I do think solutions should be offered, but Korpi raising awareness that this is a widespread problem is just as important. As Korpi mentions, many federations turn a blind eye to abusive environments because results. Maybe we need awareness so outside pressure can force federations or the ISU to do something. Obviously internal pressure is not enough.
No sport is healthy, if it is done on elite level. In all sports on elite level athletes will have overuse injuries. I found the article very misleading. It mixes several issues together in such way that it indirectly suggests that Tutberidze must abuse the girls because they are winning. Interestingly, even though the article says that there have been reports of abuse from a number of countries, Tutberidze is the only coach named in the article.
 

MacMadame

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The article read to me like they had a bunch of material, not necessarily done by one person writing one story, and pieced it together. I found it very choppy.

I do think there are some good points in there but I hate it when people tout their own preferences for style as if that's what all fans want. They also talk a lot about how the girls are used up and pushed out but they don't really talk about how fans contribute to this environment vs. the scoring system vs. physical realities. For example, they never mention that the reason young girls are training these hard jumps is that they want to get them before puberty because of the belief that you can't learn them after that. And also that sports are about faster, higher, stronger so if you don't train them, someone else will. Because it certainly contributes to the situation they were describing.
 

Immortelle

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Naturally skinny girls do attract a certain amount of unfair/unwarranted attention, such as being accused of abusing drugs (happened to me) and being asked by well-meaning colleagues if one’s menstrual cycle is normal (also happened to me). I think it happens to larger people too, the sport hasn’t yet truly accepted all body shapes.

That said, watching the synchronised skating the other week, it was wonderful to see a variety of great athletes with diverse body types.
 

Willin

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No sport is healthy, if it is done on elite level. In all sports on elite level athletes will have overuse injuries. I found the article very misleading. It mixes several issues together in such way that it indirectly suggests that Tutberidze must abuse the girls because they are winning. Interestingly, even though the article says that there have been reports of abuse from a number of countries, Tutberidze is the only coach named in the article.
As I said, Eteri is the biggest example and the one that's most obvious. While there are plenty of others, how many can we name?

And yes overuse injuries are common, but as Korpi mentioned she was specifically talking about the fact that skaters worldwide are having overuse injuries at a much younger age (10-12) than is typical in the history of skating and other elite sports.
 

misskarne

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First indication that this article wouldn't be great: the giant bloody EWWWWWWWW that is the title. "Russian dolls"? Really?!
 

MacMadame

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First indication that this article wouldn't be great: the giant bloody EWWWWWWWW that is the title. "Russian dolls"? Really?!
I'm :lol: of the idea of Trusova being a Russian doll. She's all spunk and sass. Maybe a Bratz doll? (I don't really know my dolls, tbh.)
 

starrynight

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Ehh well there’s no training going on anywhere any more so this is a bit of an exercise in history isn’t it?
 

cs.berlin

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And yes overuse injuries are common, but as Korpi mentioned she was specifically talking about the fact that skaters worldwide are having overuse injuries at a much younger age (10-12) than is typical in the history of skating and other elite sports.
Let me give another example that deals with comparably selective body optimization, namely saving every gram of mass in favor of speed: in Germany we have the middle-distance athlete Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who broke all German adult records since about two years and is now continuing this on the European level. She has also defeated some top African athletes, who are among the fastest in the world; on the 5.000m distance she finished third just behind two African women at the 2019 World Championships, which has always been considered unthinkable. Her declared goal: to break the domination of African women, the gold medal at the Olympics (which this year has been cancelled) anyway and perhaps also the world records in her disciplines, if this is possible at all, in view of the fable records from the 1980s, which were all made with the use of doping. If you have a look at the young woman, who still looks like a girl, the modern form of doping - instead of performance-enhancing chemicals - can be seen unvarnished in various physical characteristics: extreme underweight (Anorexia athletica, Anorexia nervosa, Binge eating disorder), deep eye sockets (Enophthalmus), black eye rings (Halonation), blue lips (Cyanosis), lanugo hair (Hypertrichosis), barely bosomed (fat reduction, muscle building) etc. Due to her unusually slim body from childhood on, she has been largely spared overuse injuries, one wonders how much longer (an estrogen deficiency due to performance stress as well as other hormonal disorders reduce the stimulation of the bone system, the consequences can be osteoporosis and stress fractures). But she is 23 years old, fully responsible and she does her thing because she has made the decision to take on this strain. With underage athletes this is naturally impossible. My personal attitude to it: "Senior" high performance elitesport in childhood is a disgrace and should be forbidden in all sporting disciplines. A society that blatantly violates this is a shitty society. My hope, however, is that this process can be reversed, otherwise (as it says in German) I see black or rather conclude with it.
 
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Weve3

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This topic is like a dog chasing his/her tail.

On one hand, you’ve got the crowd that says if a skater doesn’t perform the maximum allowable jumps, a quad, etc., they’re setting the sport back and then getting criticized for taking the safe and easy program route - which is (currently) allowed per the rules, but will most likely keep that skater off the podium.

On the other hand, you’ve got the crowd that says if a skater can reel off the maximum allowable jumps, a quad, etc., they’re doing so at the cost of any kind of artistic creativity and maturity and then also being lambasted for possibly being too young to deserve what they’ve accomplished at the age in which they have accomplished it.

We have Olympic champions who were 15 and we have an Olympic champion who was 24. The former catch grief because of their age and the latter was criticized because of her program’s content - or lack thereof - according to some.

So long as the current age-eligible rule remains in place, any age-eligible skater can win it all, honorably, regardless of the comfort zone of their skating peers, coaches, fans or whether (or not) these people approve.

Also, Korpi’s comments pertaining to various abuses within the sport and its training environment, these are well-documented. So, until people move beyond simply commenting into actively pursuing meaningful change to unacceptable practices and behaviors, that’s all it will ever be, comments and opinions.
 

Japanfan

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But why hold back on regurgitating negativity and lies against Russia at every opportunit, and while keeping German, Japanese, American, Finnish abuse in skating issue in a general topic single out the Russian issue once again. and then some call me paranoid..:D
So was the article telling lies about Tuberidze (sp?) ? If so, please explain.

Abuse in skating outside of Russia is well known to occur. We've got an entire thread on the subject in GSD.
 
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starrynight

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The only thing about this BB is that a lot of children in sports will get up to several months away from their training environments, coaches and competitions to evaluate things and experience an alternate way of living. It could lead to some different perspectives.
 

hanca

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So was the article telling lies about Tuberidze (sp?) ? If so, please explain.

Abuse in skating outside of Russia is well known to occur. We've got an entire thread on the subject in GSD.
The article is written in such a way that it is misleading.
For example, one could write an article about how top sport is damaging to health (which is a fact).
Then mention how frequently athletes are injured (also a fact). Mention that in some training groups the training get so fanatic that the athletes are injured every season (a fact). Then continue how two time olympic champion Yuzury Hanyu is injured very frequently (a fact) and in the same group there have been other injuries, for example Yuna Kim was overcoming injuries within her first years of moving to Brian Orser. Medvedeva who also skates with Brian Orser was also struggling through injuries during her last season, and another fellow skater from the same coach, Jason Brown suffered concussion.

So now we have an article full of truthful facts, but it has been so cleverly put that any reader will get the impression that even though injuries in top sports are common, in some groups are worse than anywhere else, because the article concentrates on one coach and his students. It forgets to mention the fact that many skaters had concussion in the past few seasons, Medvedeva could have the injury from her stay in Moscow and Hanyu’s injuries may have nothing to do with Orser...

That’s the way how to write a misleading article, and this way was written the article about the Russian dolls. Sour grapes. If one can’t beat them, let’s try to act so concerned about the health of the young skaters... I wonder, if one is so concerned, would they want to cancel all sports at elite level? Or do they think that skaters would be healthier if they were jumping the same content but in juniors?
 

muffinplus

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So was the article telling lies about Tuberidze (sp?) ? If so, please explain.
Throwing around extreme terms and beating around the bush/implying Tutberidze is "emotionally abusing" her current students in her "child factory" as a path to success sounds borderline libelous unless Korpi is ready to offer up some evidence for this currently occurring.. until then, she should stick to making generalized comments.
 

Wyliefan

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@Weve3 The argument is not about athletes being too young to deserve what they've accomplished. Any athlete who accomplishes the feat deserves the reward. The argument is about them being too young to be able to push back against coaches who mess with their heads and put too much stress on their bodies, and too young to understand what the mental and physical strain is doing to them.
 

Japanfan

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@Weve3 The argument is about them being too young to be able to push back against coaches who mess with their heads and put too much stress on their bodies, and too young to understand what the mental and physical strain is doing to them.
I would imagine this is true of young athletes in all sports, all of whom put 'too much' stress on their bodies.
'Too much' is open to interpretation but I do get the general idea that it is stress that causes harm. But most athletes young and older put a lot of stress on their bodies. Just as people in other, non-physical professions put too much stress on their minds.

A lot of skaters have survived their competitive career okay, although they may have prolonged physical issues. There are costs to being an elite athletes, just as there are costs to other professions.
 
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Wyliefan

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As you say, the question is how much is too much, and are the coaches even giving any thought to the issue.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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Actually these three are a unique phenomenon. When have we had 3 Sarah Hughes', or Midori Itos at the same time, from the same country?

In the next group there are a few girls from different countries with 3A's or 4's. By next winter a couple wunderkind will have dropped back and there may be room for women again on the podium.
 

hanca

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Actually these three are a unique phenomenon. When have we had 3 Sarah Hughes', or Midori Itos at the same time, from the same country?

In the next group there are a few girls from different countries with 3A's or 4's. By next winter a couple wunderkind will have dropped back and there may be room for women again on the podium.
You may not have had three Sarah Hughes, but you had Kwan together with Lipinsky, Japan also had in the past Ando and Asada 1st and 2nd at worlds and Nakano 5th.
 

Wyliefan

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And we had Kwan, Cohen, and Hughes, who may not have swept a podium (I don't think they ever did, did they?) but were still pretty dominant.
 

TygerLily

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First indication that this article wouldn't be great: the giant bloody EWWWWWWWW that is the title. "Russian dolls"? Really?!
Agreed that the title is gross, but I thought it was attempting to be clever with the matryoshka doll metaphor.
 

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