May 29, 2024


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Figure skating age debate also exposes body image challenges | Health and Fitness

BEIJING (AP) — Some determine skaters are hoping an Olympic doping scandal that is fueling a press to elevate the bare minimum age of competitors will also concentration awareness on what they see as the sport’s most pressing difficulty: body graphic, entire body shaming and disordered taking in.

The sport is beneath scrutiny after 15-calendar year-outdated Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee tested favourable for a banned heart treatment, then failed to medal in an occasion for which she was the overwhelming favorite.

Valieva’s ordeal has led some skating officials to suggest increasing the minimal age for elite determine skating competitions from 15 to 17, forward of the 2026 Wintertime Olympics in Italy.

The age query is inseparable from the sport’s struggles with feeding on diseases and human body impression. Young, less created skaters are accomplishing issues on the ice that far more experienced women’s bodies can’t, notably the quadruple jumps done in Beijing by Valieva and other teen skaters functioning with her embattled mentor, Eteri Tutberidze.

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“We see girls who are definitely youthful and slim and who do really well in our activity,” stated Josefin Taljegård, a 26-yr-outdated Swedish determine skater who competed in the women’s unique function in Beijing. “Probably that’s why they are so skinny – because they are nevertheless youngsters.”

That puts force on older skaters to maintain rate.

“It usually is not like ‘Oh you have to look this form of way’ but sometimes a single can hear ‘Oh if you have been skinnier, you would leap increased or rotate a lot quicker,” Taljegård stated.

Even though the Valieva circumstance has focused the world’s attention on doping, skaters say entire body impression concerns are considerably more pervasive in the activity. The 2014 course of Olympic skaters is proof.

Yulia Lipnitskaya was Russia’s golden woman at the Sochi Games when she was 15, ahead of turning out to be a cautionary tale of serious anorexia when she retired mainly because of her struggles with the dysfunction.

American Gracie Gold’s perfectly-regarded tale of overcoming anxiety and an consuming ailment to continue on competing has been an inspiration for lots of skaters.

U.S. ice dancer Kaitlin Hawayek, 25, said she had an ingesting condition for a number of a long time. Not more than enough has been performed to educate younger skaters to see “their overall body is terrific precisely the way it is,” she reported.

Hawayek feels fortunate to have the aid of her coaching personnel, nutritionist and trainers on the U.S. staff. “I’ve genuinely been ready to see a new frame of mind that has permitted me to embrace my human body,” she explained.

U.S. determine skater Alysa Liu, who is just 16, explained she located a way to cope with adverse remarks about her physique, but it took time for her to definitely realize the dynamic she was staying caught up in. The American prodigy placed in the major 10 for the women’s particular person occasion this 7 days.

“I dealt with a ton of negativity, like two years ago,” Liu stated of the lots of critics who have commented on her extremely community advancement spurt. “At one place, I was like, why are they actually coming for a 14 calendar year previous? That’s so odd. They are just variety of creepy for that. Why are they on the lookout at a minor’s body that way? It’s just a very little strange and sort of improper, clearly.”

U.S. pairs skater Ashley Cain-Gribble believes a greater age restrict would be useful for the activity she practically still left owing to entire body shaming above her toughness and peak. The 26-calendar year-outdated is 5-foot-6, creating her significantly taller than quite a few of her peers.

“Give skaters a probability to let their entire body to establish in a natural way,” Cain-Gribble mentioned. “I know that I did not definitely appear into my own system till several later on a long time.”

Elizabeth Daniels, a psychology professor at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs who reports overall body picture in sports activities, is skeptical that an age modify on your own could address this challenge.

The greater cultural dilemma, Daniels said, is that artistic sports like figure skating, gymnastics and even diving are judged subjectively.

Fifty percent of a skating score is based on how judges watch the efficiency — audio, costume, move and the total sense. A far more concise metric could perhaps enable alter the tradition of dieting and diuretics in skating.

“They’re remaining judged on how they execute a ability, but also how they seem while they are performing it,” Daniels explained. “When you have a sport like that, and you are judged in this creative way, the dilemma becomes ‘Does my entire body conform?’ That, I think, increases the prospective for eating problems.”

Skater or not, entire body dissatisfaction can typically be observed in women as youthful as 5, peak throughout adolescence and continue being regular through a woman’s 20s.

Sporting activities like figure skating cater to human body styles that are tiny and gentle yet in shape and muscular, explained Luke Corey, a sports activities drugs dietitian at the Mayo Clinic.

4 minutes of extreme exertion is extremely hard for even the ideal athletes in the earth, so it is really no shock that skaters might go to extremes if they believe it can aid their efficiency.

“We’re not supposed to see discomfort and vulnerability and all that, so it’s really hard to understand,” Corey explained. “We want even larger, improved but at what value?”

Valieva’s situation shows that the youngest skaters could be particularly susceptible to this kind of pressures from older people pushing a win-at-all-expenditures technique, Cain-Gribble reported. Boosting the minimum amount age would aid.

“You require to be at an age the place you are capable to make decisions and think on your have and be accountable and be in a position to know what is right and what is wrong,” she explained, “and not just be relying on those folks that are in demand of you.”

Related Push writer Candice Choi contributed. Seattle-based mostly AP journalist Sally Ho is on assignment at the Beijing Olympics, covering determine skating. Adhere to her on Twitter at

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