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vagansmom

Figure Skating: Skate America

56 posts in this topic

Cohen said that the stress fracture in her back was due to an injury she sustained while doing Pilates.

Lambiel was injured last year, and just announced that he is injured yet again. He may be in shape for Euros and/or Worlds, but he's pulled out of his Grand Prix events.

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I don't suppose that new system will put back in the compulsory figures? That would truly make a difference. Scott Hamilton was one of the most vocal opponents of the removal of this aspect of the judging. He said the judges could now fit in one more cocktail party instead. Do you all remember Peggy Fleming's nearly perfect compulsories?

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Is anyone besides me a little curious about the bone density of some of these youngsters? That perhaps there might be some overtraining going on in the quest to excel at an ever younger age in a sport that considers someone over the hill at 22? I'm rather unnerved to hear about a stress fracture occurring during Pilates.

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I take that Pilates was the cause of a stress fracture with a giant heap of salt. It is skating that requires repeated landings at high velocity onto a hard surface. That is where I would expect the stress on the bones to occur.

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I know of 12 year olds with stress fractures. Pilates had nothing to do with it. I know of another young and upcoming skater who had to miss Junior Nationals last year because of terrible knee problems (she was 13). Another whose mother was so worried about weight and making Nationals that she actually would take the food right out of her daughters hands. That young girl had 3 stress fractures within one year and looked like she was starving to death. Another 12 year old friend of my daughters spent 3 weeks in the hospital due to weight and stress issues. I could go on but I am sure you get the idea. And this is only at one rink!

I realize there are the same type (or similar) issues in any sport but in most other sports the emphasis on obtaining the "gold" is not at 16 or 17 years of age.

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This is the whole reason I brought up the bone density issue and questioned a stress fracture occurring from Pilates. I think between a high impact sport with lots of repetition, much competition and stress, and dietary restrictions, many of these girls must have the bones of a 75-year-old.

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But a high impact sport often creates very dense bone. Irish dancers are known to have dense bones, so are healthy gymnasts. When that's not true, it's because of other factors, most of which you mentioned, such as dietary restrictions.

Someone at Skidmore College did a bone density study some years ago comparing female gymnasts, college athletes and ballet dancers. The gymnasts had the greatest bone density followed by ballet dancers. In terms of overall strength the ballet dancers were every bit the equal of the gymnasts. The gymnasts and ballet dancers chosen were young adolescents.

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Osteoporosis in young adolescents is generally found as part of a triad that starts with disordered eating, next proceeds to menstrual irregularity/absence of periods and finally osteoporosis. The weight bearing athletics are good for bones, but cannot make up for the loss that can occur due to problematic eating and then the hormonal disturbances that result. Estrogen is so important for bone health. In the absence of periods, the lack of estrogen and its effect on bones FAR outweighs the good effect of exercise itself.

Some girls are tiny due to genetics. They might never reach peak bone mass just due to their genes. These girls might also be poor eaters. I don't mean they are anorexic or bulimic. I mean they take in poor levels of protein, and not a correct balance of good fats and good carbs. Small framed girls who then dance or skate or do gymnastics and who eat poorly will miss periods. The low estrogen levels mean they loose bone. Then, with just the right impact, there is a stress fracture or a compression fracture etc. They will have postmenapausal bones in their teens.

Good eating habits, and a balance of foods can be the most important things for our dancers and skaters. They eat on the run, in between classes. They may skip meals, or eat too much carbs for fuel and not enough protein. And they may avoid milk and dairy as they perceive them to be too high in fats, and they loss out on the opportunity for calcium.

Speak with your doctors if your teens are missing periods. They might just need a DEXA scan for bone mineral density. It is a simple test. Ask about a baseline of spine and hip--not a quicky scan of heel or finger or wrist. It is a very safe test for a teen. And with a diagnosis of amenorrhea (missed periods) insurance should cover.

More info on the web by searching with words female athlete triad.

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Thanks for that comprehensive explanation, nlkflint. I've seen programs on this from time to time about a high impact exercise taken to extremes, resulting in fragile bones instead of the opposite. This -- combined, of course, as you explained, with problem eating and hormonal disturbances. When that body fat dips below 12%, it's time to be concerned. It may seem convenient for dancers and skaters, etc. to be skipping periods, but it's not healthy.

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Wow, this is a great thread...

Thanks, Vagansmom, I'll be on the lookout--

I saw a great tour of the champions some 10 years ago at the Oakland Colosseum - The great thing about it was a Russian couple who cast such a spell over the crowd, there was no applause till the end of their dance. It was essentially one seamless adagio in which every stunt functioned as a grace note or complex ornament -- rather than being THE BIG DEAL, each was subordinate to the ovrall design, like Chopin translated into skating. THe long traverses which usually get treated just as breathers or momentum-gatherers-- by most skater-choreographers-- were phrased as a soprano would spin out a pair of tied whole notes, and the uncanny thing was to see how a crowd of 50,000 responded to these artists -- the same crowd that had been applauding stunts and doing hte wave through the traverses -- was reduced to a total hush by this couple.

The most amazing thing they did was when he let her down into a death spiral -- I think that's what they're called, where she put her feet in second position and dida huge back-bend that then I guess somehow flattened, for they slowed down to a near stop, he let her down onto the ice in a position that had lost all but the last iota of momentum, to a pregnant pause in the music -- and from there somehow she rose again, I cannot tell you how it happened, but nobody who was there will ever forget it..... I don't remember their names, but it was clear to all of us there that the Russians were committed to artistry at a level we could all acknowledge and revere, and recognize that none of the rest (talented and hard-working as they were) were working at anything near the level the Russian coaches had conceived of....

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Paul, your description suggests to me that you had the great treat of seeing the Protopopovs. :lol::lol:

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I don't know if any of you caught the men's competition today. Of all the men, the one who really caught my eye in terms of presence and line was Vlascenko of Germany/Latvia. Not one wasted movement. Every bit of music was accounted for. Although he didn't fall, his jumps were not as strong as those of other skaters, with him singling and doubling many. But the performance quality and artistry were quite beautiful. He had that extra something I didn't see anyone else show. (He came in 4th). His highest standing ever was in 1998 -- 5th at Worlds.

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Skate Canada has been this weekend...did they really schedule two Grand Prix events for the same weekend?? Ack! :thumbsup:

I don't recall this happening in other years...?? :shrug:

I caught a glimpse of Skate America (Pairs) yesterday...am not nearly as enamored of the long-limbed Chinese pair as Dick Buttons seems to be, but then I'm not a skater either. As I watched them, I was struck that the woman's feet always seemed flexed. Of course I know it must be difficult to point those feet in skates, but I remember coaches saying this to my daughter when she was younger so there must be something to it.....

Then today I saw a bit of the dance competition from Skate Canada. The top Russian couple (whose names escape me at the moment) had the most incredibly wonderful line...AND the feet were pointed. I'm guessing the difference is the ballet training the Russians must have. What do others say? I really know so little about skating, it's just something I've always enjoyed watching!

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You guys please talk it up -- my TV was "disabled" and I didn't see any of it..

Thank you for the reports so far. Funny Face, I'm SURE i would have agreed with you... I love it when there's no moment where I have to look away.

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Mom2, competitions are not necessarily aired at the time they take place.

As to the feet pointing or not, as well as other aspects of artistry, it's not really indigenous to any country. I believe it has more to do with what particular coaches emphasize. Case in point, while we often associate Russians with ballet, it is the American women who currently have much better spirals. It almost seems that Michelle Kwan set the bar in this respect. Other skaters coming up the ranks are following suit and trying to emulate her.

One of the things talked about a good deal in the men's competition today was what a difference it makes when a skater looks up and acknowledges the audience (Vlascenko), as opposed to looking at the ice (Honda). When I was watching this, I thought how applicable this was to dancers as well. It's so important to dance in every class with a focus that is outward directed, so that it becomes second nature when it's time to perform.

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Skate Canada has been this weekend...did they really schedule two Grand Prix events for the same weekend??  Ack! :blushing:
One of the most frustrating parts of watching figure skating on US TV is that not only are the events not televised live, but that after Skate America, broadcasts come after the next event are finished. Grand Prix events are scheduled weekly, beginning with Skate America (then Skate Canada, Cup of China, Trophee Lalique, Cup of Russia, and NHK Trophy).
The top Russian couple (whose names escape me at the moment) had the most incredibly wonderful line...AND the feet were pointed. 
Their names are Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin. From the description on the ISU website, they weren't flawless in either program, but even so, I can't wait to see their performances, because they have such superior line.

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Actually, from the Globe and Mail this morning, the Russian ice dance pair was Tatania Navka and Roman Kostomarov. The article goes on to explain a bit about the new marking system and how things unfolded yesterday at the hershey Centre. Navka and Kostomarov finished first, Bulgarians Denkova and Staviyski were second, and Canada's Dubreuil and Lauzon were third. It's interesting to note that when you look at the level of difficulty (out of 3) in 13 elements, the Russians had ones in six elements, while the Canadians had threes in EIGHT elements. Sometimes simplicity is good, I suppose...and this was one of the things I enjoyed about the Russians.

Typically I would say that the Canadians also have good line. In this performance the Russians just stood out more. Perhaps it was the costumes, which on Dubreuil and Lauzon I found quite busy; perhaps it was the "business" of the Canadian's choreography...or perhaps this Russian couple is just unbelievably exceptional in this regard.

That being said, it's hard NOT to be incredibly proud of the Canadians with their third place finish.

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Then today I saw a bit of the dance competition from Skate Canada. The top Russian couple (whose names escape me at the moment) had the most incredibly wonderful line...AND the feet were pointed.

I think that part of the explanation to that is the ice-dancing boots are cut-much lower than the single skates (pair skates) as they don't do jumps and don't need the support. But the I didn't see the performance so I cannot say how flexed their feet were.

And also the lines in ice-dance is generally better than lines of pair/single skaters just because ice-dancing is dancing and the other have more emphasize in jumping and synchronised spins and lifts.

Of course the top single and pair skaters have pointed feet as well as good lines! (Like Bereshnaya & Sikarluidze)

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That's an interesting fact about the boots! Of course, I never knew that!

Thank you!

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I missed most of Skate Canada.....only saw the men's short and the pairs short. My husband and son went Thursday night and saw the same events but more than what they showed on TV. They also went for the practices on Saturday. I would have liked to see more of it but I guess we are at the mercy of the TV stations. At least we are seeing it almost live.(Husband and son left at end of men's short and arrived home in time to see it on TV)

My son says the dance boots are cut lower for the deep knee bends though now-a-days they are not a lot lower than most of the freestyle boots. All skaters are told to point their toes(over and over again:rolleyes: ).....it helps with the jumps as well as improving the line.

3rd place is a good finish for the Canadians. There were some impressive skates from some of the young Canadian skaters. In the pairs....Putnam and Wirtz are going to be the team to watch in the next few years. I saw them at sectionals a year ago when they were a brand new team and couldn't believe the chemistry between them....very exciting to watch.

It should be a good season.

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Paul, to help you (possibly) identify the Russian couple you saw about 10 years ago, here is a link to photos of the Protopopovs, who were at the peak of their competitive years in the late ‘60s, but had (and maybe still have?) a very long exhibition career.

Two very popular Russian couples who were competing at that time were Klimova and Ponomarenko and Usova and Platov. Klimova (she of the voluminous red hair) had longer hair in the days before these photos were taken.

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