Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weekly Op-Ed: To Sequin...or not to Sequin

I was reading one of my favorite blogs and was catching up on a little Stars on Ice review when I noticed a quirky little icon next to the post.

In fact, this blog has lots of fun, little quirky skating icons (and blog posts to boot!) that are quite fun but one in particular caught my eye. It was a pic of Evan Lysacek and the caption was: "Sequin-Free, Keep Fighting the Good Fight." What a great icon, but it made me think...

That's a profound statement and it breaks down one of the biggest disconnects between fans and men's skating. There seems to be this issue about what guys should be wearing on the ice.

For the record, the aforementioned blog owner has every right to post any icon they'd like, and I applaud them for making their opinion on the topic known. Here here for Free Speech!

Back to my rambling, NBC has brought us figure skating coverage of the last two Winter Olympic Games and I can't tell you how many times I heard Sandra Bezic praising skaters who come out in a simple outfit and skate, allowing their program to do the talking, not their costumes.

On the flip side, you have skaters such as Johnny Weir, who are very vocal (but when isn't Johnny vocal ;-)) about how skaters need to get the sequins, feathers, gloves, and velvet together to get respect from the international judges.

Really, I could care less what skaters are wearing on the ice, just skate great! I can remember performances in very simple outfits that I loved, and performances in really hammed-up outfits that I loved equally. JUST SKATE GREAT!

I think really this boils down to a much larger issue, that has less to do with sequins or not but more to do with an overall image of strength vs weakness, masculinity vs femininity, man vs wuss!

This issue is beginning to rear it's head (haven't decided if it's ugly yet or not) in Canada, where Skate Canada officials are attempting to get more men to tune in to figure skating. How to do that? Ditch the sequins and become men on the ice. Use words like 'power' and 'strength' when athletes are describing their performances. Why can't all the skaters look and skate like Elvis Stojko?

Me, I think if Skate Canada, like much of the world, wants more people to tune in to skating...fix the judging system. But that's just me...

My own thoughts, again, I don't care what you wear...just impress me.


Ice Mom said...

Great commentary, Aaron. I've added it to the bottom of my post - Crystals: Are They Really Necessary for Figure Skating Competition Dresses? http://icemom.blogspot.com/2009/03/crystals-are-they-necessary-for-figure.html

My post doesn't address men's skating; I'm glad yours does

Anonymous said...

When I was at Adult Nationals last year there seemed to be an inverse relationship between the amount of crystals and the skater's ability. When I design my own costumes I leave off the sparkles or at least limit them to a tasteful few.