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

hanca

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I guess it feels differently when you country has those top skaters (then it is of course absolutely fine), and when another country has them, and even worse, (gasp, clutching my pearls), the bloody Russia has them. Then it must be work of the devil! Abuse! Move the age limits! Limit the number quads they are allowed to do! Ban them from the sport! Forbid Tutberidze create a factory for jumpers!
 

Weve3

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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.
Yes, I am fully aware of that, and I did address it via Korpi’s comment, albeit briefly.

Then again, I am free to expand or go off-topic if I feel the underlying complaint or concern goes much deeper than what is being presented on the surface.

Youthful skaters are more susceptible to injury, but then again, the older a skater gets, they too are injury prone and vulnerable. I do not dispute any of that, but I think injury risk is once again being used to control or manipulate age-eligibility rules.

For the record, I believe that Kiira Korpi is speaking out with true intentions and legitimate concerns.
 

Wyliefan

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I guess it feels differently when you country has those top skaters (then it is of course absolutely fine), and when another country has them, and even worse, (gasp, clutching my pearls), the bloody Russia has them. Then it must be work of the devil! Abuse! Move the age limits! Limit the number quads they are allowed to do! Ban them from the sport! Forbid Tutberidze create a factory for jumpers!
Nonsense. As I said in another thread in another context, you should police your own side, always. It doesn't matter which country has a coach whose methods are questionable -- you call 'em out.
 

hanca

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Nonsense. As I said in another thread in another context, you should police your own side, always. It doesn't matter which country has a coach whose methods are questionable -- you call 'em out.
I don’t remember you policing young Kwan and young Lipinsky. It seems to me that the policing is very selective.
 

Wyliefan

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I don’t remember you policing young Kwan and young Lipinsky. It seems to me that the policing is very selective.
Are you serious? Twenty years ago? You remember what I was and wasn't doing twenty years ago? I barely even remember what I was and wasn't doing twenty years ago. :lol: Give me a break.
 

BlueRidge

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bah the Guardian styles itself as progressive and yeah I get the "Russian dolls" thing but I wondered what century this was from calling females "dolls." :blah:

Carry on about the actual article...
 

MacMadame

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I don’t remember you policing young Kwan and young Lipinsky. It seems to me that the policing is very selective.
Lipinsky was a direct cause of raising the age limits. There was a lot of discussion at the time about young bodies and her hip issue with the end result being an actual rule change. People's memories are selective and sometimes say more about their own issues than about what actually happened.

Some people love watching the young whippersnappers push the technical element and some people worry about injuries and destroying young bodies and think there should be limits. These debates occur constantly and always will because sport is about pushing the envelope and that has long-term implications for people's bodies including young bodies. We struggle to find a balance between protecting minors and advancing the sport and there are no easy answer so the debate will never end IMO.
 

starrynight

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I know I keep harping on about this, but if we are going to have a giant global recession, I don't know if as many parents are going to be in a position to pay enormous sums of money to coaches who treat their children badly.

And really, when many nations prepare their budgets to deal with the aftermath of this, I expect sports funding will be the first thing to be slashed.

As also, we talk so much about these elite skaters, but I think some of the worst stuff is when it happens to kids with middling talent, who were always destined to finish sports after school. For what purpose did any of that occur?
 

Tinami Amori

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Korpi has absolutely NO EVIDENCE or PROOF for the accusations she makes. She is making her comments based on hearsay, assumptions and personal opinions, and! STEREOTYPES AND RUMORS AND LIES. For example she has no proof nor real indicators, that at Sambo-70 skaters suffer mental abuse... That requires a study, individual interviews and lengthy observations by a psychiatrist...

Tatiana Tarasova was absolutely right when she said in the recent interview - that Korpi never was inside the rink where Tutberidze's training took place, she never witnessed the training process, she is not a coach herself. Korpi is basing her accusations on the headlines from yellow press and personal enemies of Tutberidze.

Korpi is just looking for attention and wanting to be someone with a voice. Picking Russian sports issues - is a cheap and easy target.

If Korpi really wants to look into "abuse in sports" or any of the "eager beavers" - it is best to start with Chinese gymnastic schools..... the treatment of children is DOCUMENTED ON VIDEO...

What is documented on video at Khrystalniy is a complete opposite - skaters training, laughing, having fun, horsing around, and disobeying the trainers in how many jumps they can practice... :D Japanese made dozens of videos, with an open and a hidden cameras. All is very normal, and often fun....

Besides.... No matter what Korpi writes, she has no legal power over how training will be handled in foreign countries especially since her accusations are assumptions and lies and the "students themselves deny such treatment". So her stuff is nothing more than an entertainment for some Russia-hating very envious of Russian success sofa-fungus... :D
 

Weve3

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I believe Kiira was making a sport-wide observation re physical injuries and mental abuse. Not intentionally picking on one specific country or their skaters.
 

starrynight

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When all this is over, if I was a coach and I had students whose parents were still able to pay my fees, I'd be pretty careful not to break the kids.

And I'm struggling to imagine the world flinging open borders any time soon to allow international sporting competitions and wholesale travel of athletes and spectators without restriction.

It's just entertainment at the end of the day and none of it is essential to anything.
 
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muffinplus

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I believe Kiira was making a sport-wide observation re physical injuries and mental abuse. Not intentionally picking on one specific country or their skaters.
Calling Tutberidze school a "child factory" isn't picking on a specific school or their skaters?
 

Weve3

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Calling Tutberidze school a "child factory" isn't picking on a specific school or their skaters?
If age is the underlying issue for Kiira, she could have said “child factory” about the majority of countries, not just Russia. It’s not like Russia is the only country that has had young, successful skaters. However, I think her interview was aimed at suggesting neglect and abuse across the board.
 
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MacMadame

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I know I keep harping on about this, but if we are going to have a giant global recession, I don't know if as many parents are going to be in a position to pay enormous sums of money to coaches who treat their children badly.
I wish I could believe this. But the reality is, there are parents out there who will push their kids to the breaking point if they think their kids have extraordinary talent. (Even if the kid doesn't actually have extraordinary talent.) I have seen parents berate a 4-year-old for not working hard enough during skating practice. That's right, a FOUR-YEAR-OLD. That is just insane. And it was the parent, not the coach.

Then there are parents who may not do these things themselves but believe that this is the best way for a coach to behave in order to get the best out of the athlete.

The only way to stop abusive behavior in sports IMO is to both make it illegal (not necessarily with the law for everything, but the "laws" of the sport) and to do the studies showing that there are more effective ways. People are motivated by results and if you show them that not abusing students gives better results, they will (eventually) change their ways.

Frank Carroll has talked about how he used to weigh his students but stopped when he saw the damage it did. He learned that it wasn't effective. So he stopped. As long as people think yelling, keeping students from drinking water, weighing students and punishing them if their weight goes above a certain arbitrary number, training too many hours in a day and other harmful practices get results, they will keep doing those things.
 

starrynight

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@MacMadame I was raised in a household where my father (while he enjoyed watching football on tv) believed kids seriously training sports was a waste of money and time.

So this whole idea of parents pushing kids in sports and expending huge quantities of money to do so is strange to me - because I don't see where the return on the investment is meant to come from. Maybe in a handful of countries there might be some monetary reward or scholarships, but mostly its a blackhole of money. Especially in figure skating where there's only very limited numbers of athletes on teams and little money outside of maybe Russia or Japan.

It's very different to pushing a child to get good marks in school, because the likelihood of a decent return on your investment is much higher.

Of course, if a family has plenty of money and the children love doing it - why not. But the stories am I always hearing of kids being put through physical, mental, sexual abuse for what really should be a hobby for after school is insane.
 

MacMadame

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Of course, if a family has plenty of money and the children love doing it - why not. But the stories am I always hearing of kids being put through physical, mental, sexual abuse for what really should be a hobby for after school is insane.
I completely agree with you.

As a parent, I see two things pushing this. The first is that some people do believe that it is their duty as a parent to nurture their children's talent no matter what it takes. And there are kids who are very focused from a young age who respond well to this investment.

The second is that people see a few skaters getting big rewards and it warps their judgment. They think their own child will get those rewards and will do anything to get them and don't have a realistic risk vs. rewards analysis.
 

starrynight

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@MacMadame Yes. Of course, I will specify my earlier comments and say that skating ought to be the best kind of hobby for children (and adults) - what fun to be able to choose music and a costume and learn a routine. It's just a shame when it turns from something that ought to be enjoyable to being something that becomes negative to the welfare of children.

But anything can be like that, I guess. One of my colleagues has some stories about training gymnastics a kid - literally down the local community hall - that were quite eye opening. A bit of that was caused by a local small time coach thinking they were training the Olympic team.
 

kwanfan1818

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First indication that this article wouldn't be great: the giant bloody EWWWWWWWW that is the title. "Russian dolls"? Really?!
Authors of articles don't write the titles: editorial staff does, and there can be little correlation between the title and content. Titles were the original physical, not virtual, click bait. I thought this was going to be a positive article when I clicked on the link, and I didn't think it was going to be focused substantially on one person's opinions.

A Q&A format, at minimum, would have shown what the interviewer asked. There's a big difference between, "What do you think of Tutberidze?" / "What do you think of the latest dominant Ladies skaters?" and "What do you think of Ladies skating since you left?" in terms of what she volunteerd, or the range of her answers and what was edited down or cherry-picked. We don't know whether the author's premise was based on her answers, or whether it edited to support a conclusion the author already had. I don't think this would change Korpi's opinions, but it would provide a context. We have entire debates here about whether someone should have offered one line of criticism, and whether it was an answer to a direct question or volunteered without being prompted.

I thought the title metaphor, however clunky, described the idea that when one is removed, there's another to take its place inside, not women as fragile objects or the use "dolls" as in "Guys and Dolls."
 

muffinplus

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Well, this sure looks like an emotionally abused skater from the Tutberidze child factory (one whose parents evidently don't give a hoot about their child getting injured and one, who according to the very reliable The Skating Lesson, is not allowed to weigh more than X Kg by her coach).... :violin:


Sorry this should probably go in the Russian thread... but you know.

Oh... and the article's title is indeed stupid. There is literally nothing clever about the reference to Russian dolls, it's a cliche by now
 
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ErikWilliam

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Well, this sure looks like an emotionally abused skater from the Tutberidze child factory (one whose parents evidently don't give a hoot about their child getting injured and one, who according to the very reliable The Skating Lesson, is not allowed to weigh more than X Kg by her coach).... :violin:
I'm glad you mentioned TSL. If anyone hasn't seen that ridiculous video he did on Eteri and her broken students, you would understand the annoyance if not outrage from us Russophiles. He painted this ominous, dark, portrait of Sambo. Even pretended to have a broken Russian accent when trying to make Eteri seem like some monster witch. I wonder if anyone would have been as offended if he faked and made fun of Nobuo Sato's English skills? It came across as petty, offensive, and well, a "lesson" on how not to blog internationally. He's terrible at impressions (and singing) yet thinks he's hilarious when he's pretending to speak like Eteri or sing like, what? Better than the worst drunk at a karaoke? That's aiming high for his talent level. But no, he has attacked the Eteri school and with what knowledge? Skating gossip? That whole video he did made no mention of two of America's brightest hopes, Ting Cui and Hanna Harrell, who were amazing in 2019 Nationals but have now been sidelined by what are now being describes as career ending injuries. Karen Chen and her injuries? But nope, he focuses on Eteri skaters only. It's kind of boring and tiring.
 

Wyliefan

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Who's describing Ting's or Hanna's injuries as career-ending? They both say they'll be back next season.
 

Aerobicidal

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I can't stand Dave Lease and I would never watch one second of TSL, but he's not automatically on the wrong side of every controversy (Cf. John Coughlin).
 

skatingguy

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That whole video he did made no mention of two of America's brightest hopes, Ting Cui and Hanna Harrell, who were amazing in 2019 Nationals but have now been sidelined by what are now being describes as career ending injuries. Karen Chen and her injuries? But nope, he focuses on Eteri skaters only. It's kind of boring and tiring.
That video was about the Russians, so it would have been weird to mention Cui or Harell. But if you go back to the summer there were TSL videos where they talked about Cui (I don't remember anything about Harrell, I know the name but honestly couldn't pick her out of a line-up.) and her ankle injury, that she was still training on it when she had been told not to, that the physio took her skates away, and her father had her use an old pair of boots anyways.
 

VGThuy

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I also think throughout the decades, people are becoming more aware of long-term trauma that happen to children pushed to the brink. There’s tons of discussion and policy changes proposed about the way the NBA exploits youth of certain backgrounds, and then there’s the NFL who are actually worried about all the concussion and injury talk how it’ll affect the pool of young athletes they can continue to push through the system. So the conversation is happening domestically too, but as always it’s slow moving because want to believe all of this is relatively harmless to most people. People have a hard time believing in systemic-wide harm when it interrupts the things you enjoy.

But then to be truly great at something like ballet, skating, gymnastics, etc. you really have to start early. A lot of these young athletes truly do want to do it and are willing to go through the rigors of training to accomplish their goal. I think we should encourage them but a wise coach should also look out for the best interest because they are kids and trust their adult authority figures to look out for them. I don’t think skaters even as they’re older compartmentalize their coaches from like their teachers or whatever because they trust them and think they care about their well-being. They don’t just think, this coach is only narrowly-focused in making sure I win a gold and it might be a detriment to my ability to walk later on. Kids will always want to do things all the way and that’s why they need adults who know what they’re doing to say “no”.

I remember in our sexual offenses class, we talked about the fact that prostitution is illegal for many reasons and one being that people shouldn’t be exploited or have their value tied to their bodies, but then we do that with athletes and even child athletes and we think it’s acceptable. Then we got into a discussion of other jobs where people use their body and labor in exchange for money. This was more of an aside, but I think it’s worth thinking about one way or the other.
 
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kwanfan1818

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Korpi has been very critical of abuse in Nordic countries, so it's not like she specifically has it out for Russian skaters or for Tutberidze alone and thinks the situation in her country or "The West" is great.
 

Winnipeg

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This topic is nothing new. It certainly is not restricted to one country either.

Athletes train to win. Otherwise why train so hard. The sport's ruling federation sets out the rules to win and the athletes take those rules and use them to plan a way they can best win. In the case of FS, with current rules, the jumps equate to winning.

In all cases, parents are responsible for the well being of their kids. If there are abuse concerns, they should act accordingly.
 

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