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 Post subject: The Price of "Progress"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2001 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
In the thread under Great Skating Choreography, in the Miscellany Forum, Christina brought up the sad story of a skater who because of the need for triple jumps her hip has degenerated, she was 15 yrs. old. <P>It reminded me of an article I read in U.S. News and World Report many years ago - well several years ago anyway - in which a study had been done comparing the "progress" in sports between animals and humans.<P>The study said that in horse racing, for instance, there is not very much of a time difference between those horses who were winning races many years ago as compared to horses of today. Some difference - but not that much. I am not into horse racing so I am only reporting what the article said. This also seemed to hold true for horses in jumping, and dog racing, etc.<P>However, in physical activities where humans compete - or dance - there has been tremendous change in race times, heights of jumping, numbers of rotations, leg extensions, ad infinitum. <P> In the ballet I remember reading of, I believe it was Lydia Sokolova, dancing in The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps, Massine's version) (I am going on memory here from a reading of many years ago), that she danced the longest solo on record up to that time- and I think it was 6 minutes long.<P>It was considered a real test of stamina. As I remember it, two male dancers had to come out and hold her hands while she took her bow, in case she collapsed. Yet, that time is not considered so very extraordinary today. I believe "Cry" is longer and also "Lark Ascending", too. I could be wrong.<P>However, back to the main point. Human accomplishments at sport by any measure have drastically improved. But we have to ask ourselves at what price? And is that price worth it?


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 Post subject: Re: The Price of "Progress"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2001 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Maybe a good one to ask is Michelle Kwan. She's still injury free with her silver medal, while Tara has the gold medal, plenty of money, and an equal amount of pain. <P>I also remember watching Kurt Browning backstage while a trainer worked on his hip. I recall his horrible grimace of pain, as he exclaimed, "And that's not even the bad one!" One clearly got the impression that he lived with a certain amount of pain on a daily basis. <P>That's why I expressed particular kudos to Christopher Dean for his choreography in one recent, highly innovative number, that had ZERO jumps. Nada. None. You weren't even aware of it until afterwards because the movements and mood drew you in so much. <P>Reminds me of the new take on an old expression: "No pain? No pain!" I love that.


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 Post subject: Re: The Price of "Progress"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2001 3:12 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
And yet, Christina - we need to ask ourselves from whence cometh the demand for this?


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 Post subject: Re: The Price of "Progress"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2001 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 270
Location: Wisconsin
Yes - I was reading an interview with Tara Lipinski, and she said she "had to turn pro right away" because her doctor said that with her hip problems (caused from doing triple jumps), her career as a competitor might not last much longer! She is so young...if you really LOVE skating for the love of skating and NOT for the gold medals you can win, wouldn't you quit doing the triples so you can keep your art for the rest of your life?! I quit doing heavy-duty piano competitions because I had no more cartlidge in my wrist - I would rather lose the glory and keep my art...even if it's only to play for myself.<P>Where does this push come from? I don't know if you can pinpoint it to just one source. Competitions (in my opinion) play heavily into this - the group with the most fouettes wins (not always, I'm just generalising for the moment) - so everyone tries to include them in their routine...including the younguns. Tara Lipinski herself got so much coverage because she was the YOUNGEST skater.<P>I shudder to think of all the young children being put en pointe because their parents want them to be superstars!


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 Post subject: Re: The Price of "Progress"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2001 4:48 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
And all the teachers and coaches and others who go along with this are as much to blame. These things don't happen in a vacuum.<P>And how about the audience demand?


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 Post subject: Re: The Price of "Progress"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2001 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Not everyone intends to pursue something for a lifetime. Some people are fine with moving on to other things, which can be difficult to understand if you are the type of personality that sticks with it for as long as possible. It could be that Lipinski is fine with skating for as long as she can and then doing something else. I hope so because if she really is in such rough shape, she's in for a heck of a psychological ride when she's physically unable to continue.<BR>The media plays in to this somewhat too, IMHO. It's rare that you see a pre-show before a television broadcast of everyone getting their physio/massage/chiro or whatever they need to get through what they have to do. On the other hand, maybe the media is just a reflection of our desire that one should achieve at the highest possible competitive level no matter what the personal cost.


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