What is an Athlete??

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Can anyone give an accurate, acceptable definition of what an athlete is?? or what includes a person to be an athlete?? We all think that it is very simple….we all know what an athlete is…right?? But if someone walks up to you on the street and asks you to define it…you won’t be able to. It is much more complicated than it looks, and what is even harder is categorizing who is an athlete and who isn’t.

Dictionary.com defines an athlete as (even though they have 6 different/similar definitions):

“a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.”

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Well this is all well and good….but how do we go and define what each of these is? Is a figure skater an athlete?? are they more of an athlete than a hockey player? if so, why? I think that in a sense, the both are equal. They each have different strengths and weaknesses, but when looking at them overall, they are both sports, and the people who are involved in these are athletes.

And just because a particular sport doesn’t use all the terms that are defined in the definition of an athlete doesn’t make it not a sport. Race car drivers are athletes, figure skaters, ringette players, soccer, runners, football players, and I could go on and on, and yes I’ll even include the ever so boring golf as well.

All I want people to do is just to think about who they consider an athlete, and what they consider a sport…and then try looking up on-line what specifically these ‘athletes’ have to do for them to be where they are today.

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My Top 10 Funniest/Great Figure Skating Moments.

Enjoy!!!  

1. Figure Skating Cowboys – this is a fun one to watch 😉

2. Evgeni Plushenko performs at the Gala….after the World Figure Skating Championships

3. Jamie Sale and David Pelletier at 2002 Winter Olympics…long program

4. Brasseur And Eisler – 2003 Salute To American Music EX

5. 1999 Improv on Ice Kurt Browning Meditation

6. Kurt Browning 2000

7. 1999 Stars On Ice Clowns

8. Kurt Browning – Singin’ In The Rain

9. Brasseur & Eisler: Patricia The Stripper

10. 2002 Stars On Ice Scott Hamilton Figaro

What is Synchronized Skating?

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Anyone and everyone knows what figure skating is….but not everyone knows what synchronized skating is, so I’m going to try and explain it. In a way its similar to synchronized swimming….but on ice instead of in the water.

Instead of skating by your self or with a partner, imagine skating with 12-16, or 20-24 girls or guys. And the system is similar to that of the singles/pairs skating. There is competitive strand….which goes to worlds, and then there is non-competitive route..which only goes to Nationals.

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Haydenetts, 2008 US Synchronized Skating National Champions

The competitive strand, has 20 girls that skate at competitions, and allows for 4 alternate skaters, in-case one gets hurt or sick or something. The team, trains together, has a regular competitive season, just like the singles and pairs skaters. They practice and compete a short and a long program, with around 2:30 minutes for the short, and around 4:30 minutes for the long. The scoring system is exactly the same, but what they are marked on is different. In the competitive strand they are allowed to do some jumps, bust just a select few. They do footwork throughout the whole program, while attached in various ways to each other, different arm and hand holds, and they perform maneuvers like a circle, a line, wheels (pin wheel, four pin wheel, parallel wheel….), a block, an open block, lifts, moves in the field….and so forth. It is very interesting to watch, because even though these teams are doing the similar things, they all have a different take on them…..so no two are the same.

Here is the Haydenetts short program from this year….they are currently the US Synchronized Figure Skating Champions.

In the other strand of the synchronized skating, is the non-competitive. They only differ slightly by the number of skaters, 16 allowed to compete, the moves that they are allowed to perform, no lifts or jumps, and then they only compete one program instead of two, and the music lengths vary according to the level of the skaters.

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American Women Too Young for worlds?

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   Emily Hughes  

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 Kimmie Meissner 

At the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating National Championships, the medalist in the women’s even were not eligible for worlds because of their age. Seriously….I found this out and this is just plain stupid of the USFSA to allow women, not even women, girls, just girls, to compete at this level and then they aren’t even eligible to compete for the U.S. on a world stage. Really!!?? They need to go back into their rules for the Senior women rules qualifications and change them!! I’m curious to know where

Emily Hughes  was?? She did not compete….and as for Kimmie Meissner ….she might of throughout withdrawing, cause the World Champion finished 7th in the Women’s Senior event.

     

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Sasha Cohen
I also wonder what long time competitor Sasha Cohen is up to….she isn’t competition…but why not?? Just look at what is left to be represented at a national level….that’s just embarrassing for anyone in the figure skating world. I’ll be the first to admit that she is not the most consistent skater in the world….but no one can compare to her skating style….she is unique in her own fashion, and you cannot take your eyes off of her when she is on the ice.  

If you want to check out the results and scores from the 2008 US National Figure Skating Championships…..click here. And I also hate how you have to find any information about the competitions in the US by going through a site called icenetworkd.com

Canadian Championships: Men

Jeffrey Buttle    Patrick Chan

So I was looking over the skates of Jeffrey Buttle and Patrick Chan, at the 2008 Canadian National Championships, and even though Chan had the cleaner skate, Buttle should of clearly been the winner. Although he did have the mistakes in the long program, his over all performance, artistry, and spin quality were far better than that of Chan. Chan is an young skater, new to the stage and still needs a little polishing, but Buttle has been here before, and just needs to work on his consistency, that has been said time and time again, so why does he still seem to cave under pressure?? Being a figure skater, I know what pressure can feel like, the trick to the whole thing is just being able to control it and being able to get into the groove on the competition ice, it may seem easy to say on paper, but in reality it is much more difficult.

But don’t leave it up to me, here are both of their final skates, let me know who you think is better, overall. Don’t just see who lands the most jumps, but look at the entire program as a whole, did one do better artistry, spins, emotion?? Let me know!!

 Jeffrey Buttle

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Patrick Chan

Johnny Weir vs. Evan Lysacek

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The United Statues Figure Skating Championships have just concluded on Sunday January 27, 2008, with a very unusual situation in the Men’s event in Saint Paul, Minnesota. At the top of the score board were Johnny Weir and Even Lysacek, who after the short were ranked 1st and 2nd. Because of flaws in the free skate, Johnny Weir had a lower free-skate score than that of Evan Lysacek, who was in second place going into the free-skate, and by 1.35 Evan had won the free-skate. But the interesting part of the event was the total scores for both men were equal. The deciding factor, and deemed by the ISU(International Skate Union) was that Evan had won the overall event due to a higher score in the free-skate.


I thought that the new system that has taken forever to get into play, as well as for people to learn and understand lets this happen?? Both of these skaters were thrown into a position that was clearly confusing and difficult to understand. But why lay the deciding factor on the Free-skate?? why not on the short, or the qualifying?? or have them skate again?? who made the rule that it was the free-skate that made the deciding factor??? I have to wonder about some of the people in the ISU as well as in the USFSA (US Figure Skating Association), cause they are not the brightest bulbs in the cab-net.

Johnny Weir

The only thing that is worse, is the way that Johnny Weir handled the situation, especially when he commented about Evan Lysacek. The New York Times coverage of this event was more than interesting to read, and provides one with a sense of who these men are down inside, to what type of person they are. Weir said when asked about Lysacek: “I respect Evan as an athlete, but as a person I don’t really like him,” Weir said in the interview. “There’s nothing special about him to me. We would never be friends, and I wouldn’t even know who he was if we weren’t competing against each other.” Who does that?? Johnny Weir is no pretty boy who is king of the world, especially when it comes to skating. He has a very odd, or unique style to be politically correct, that just is very very flamboyant. What’s next?? Going back to the time to Tayna Harding and Nancy Kerrigan?? seriously people.

Evan Lysacek

But when looking at Evan Lysacek, he is a true gentleman. When Evan Lysacek was asked about Weir, all he had to say was: “Oh that’s nice. Thank you for sharing that with me.” He refused to attack Weir, adding, “I’m not going to say anything bad about him, because I admire him.” His skating style is also one that you cannot help watch. This is Lysacek’s second US Men’s title, and he deserves every bit of it.

Synchronized Skating vs. Singles/Pairs Skating

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It always manages to astound me that the synchronized skaters of the world don’t get near the recognition that the singles/pairs skaters get, and yet when watching them, its amazing. The moves and the abilities that these skaters require are just as important as those of the singles and pairs skaters. By having to be able to skate with 16-20 other girls all at the same time, doing all of the same intricate footwork, pass-throughs, lifts, arm-holds, and many other requirements, they bring something fresh to the sport, and is far more interesting to watch, even after 10 teams have already gone. Because they have so much more diversity and are able to be more creative with what they have to incorporate within their programs, it give new meaning to the sport.

This is a video from the 2006 Canadian National Championships. Nexxice , the team being shown, finished in 2nd place due to some falls in their long program, clearly should of been the winners, and by watching this program you can understand why. Even though synchronized skating doesn’t mean that the skaters, coaches, and fans don’t have to put up with the same bull that other figure skaters do, it just means that the world doesn’t hear about it as quickly. This part of the sport needs to be more recognized because it is truly beautiful and requires so much more than just flapping your arms and making a pretty face.

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