Surya Bonaly is the only female figure skater in history who can complete a very illegal and dangerous backflip — yet the black figure skater never won gold. Did race play a part in this?
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Absolutely atrocious reporting.
I liked Surya, and I was always impressed with her backflip. But there were too many problems with her, which the video fails to address. First of all, she was a gymnast who switched over to skating at a relatively late age. There were, thus, deficiencies in her basic skating skills. Her stroking was horrendous, and her overall footwork was so subpar that the only way she could compete was if she landed all her jumps.
In terms of her jumping ability, I'd say that she was very good, especially between 1993-95. The only problem I could find with her jumping was that she would telegraph her jumps, which meant that she would take a longer period of time to set up for jumps, which made it look very obvious that she was about to jump and this affected her choreography and presentation. She was also a good spinner, but she did not hold her positions long enough, and they looked unfinished.
Moreover, she didn't really have good choreography; she would mostly choreograph herself. She also assigned her mother, who was not a skater, as her coach. Again, she did not surround herself with experts that could have guided her better.
There was also the issue of her lying about her roots, and she made it appear that her life was more exotic than it really was. I think that the international judges resented this since it gave skating such bad press when the truth came out.
In terms of racism, I agree that it probably was a factor; but the fact that the video cites the 1994 World Championships as an example of this is strange since the winner was non-white, just like Surya. If you look at Yuka Sato's performance, it was obvious that her footwork, speed, and technique were all better than Surya's. Yuka also landed all of her jumps.
For the video to complain about Surya's 10th place finish despite landing a backflip at the 1998 Olympics, I found this to be grossly irresponsible an analysis since Surya only landed two clean triple jumps for her long program (and those were two triple toe loops --the easiest of the jumps), whereas the top skaters were landing six or seven triples. She also fell, by the way, and she under-rotated and omitted the more important/difficult jumps. She also ended her program with her back to the judges, effectively insulting them.
I think Surya could have been a world champion had she trained better, and really refined her artistry and basic skating movements and footwork. But her rebellious spirit led her to do things on her own terms. Unfortunately, by doing so, she also turned her back on the technicalities and finer points of skating.
I'm not going to say she didn't face racism and defiance in 90s figure skating, because she absolutely did. However, the backflip was banned in 1976 so it really didn't have anything to do with her specifically.
Judges have and always will use bias in scoring, however, it is supposed to be that those figure skaters who medal should have a good balance between artistry AND athleticism. That's why the current scoring system now scores artistry (Component Score) and athleticism (Technical Score) separately and are later combined for the total score.
As for her skating sounding "scratchy" that is something that shows poor balance and edgework so it's definitely not a sign of good basic skating skills, but rather a lacking skating skills foundation. That lady was way too harsh though in saying Surya didn't know how to skate, obvs she's an fantastic skater.
Having said all that, her protest and outspokenness were awesome and she was definitely an amazing skater and badass woman who competed in a sport that is known to be biased and conservative.
Note: I have been a figure skater all my life which is why I felt compelled to clear up some of those technical issues weren't necessarily the result of racism or bias, but are issues in skating that are well known as valid variables or deductions in scoring.
What part of figure skating don't you people get, it's not about being more athletic, if it was then they would call it ice gymnasium or gymnasium on ice...but is not it's figure, figure...it's been this way before the women even existed.
She took a path which demonstrated that she was superior to many of the top skaters, and although the judges had no criteria at the time to reward her with the metals that she clearly earned, many spectators regard her performance achievements as the best.
And we know ......what goes on behind the competitions. Rich kid money....paying for all the ballet lessons and top coaches.
Those difficulty factors were not considered..... Another reason why many spectators regard her as the best.
Figure skating isn't about the jumps and moves, it's mostly about the artistry. I think she is an amazing skater but the video kind of makes Yuka sound like a bad guy even though she actually was a better skater who presented the sport as it was meant to be presented and did a beautiful job of it.
One must give her credit for landing that flip on one foot! - Needless to say, several people could and had done it before in two footed landings, including America's own Terry Kubica doing it first in the Olympics back in 1976! I would argue that landing it on one foot "makes it a legal jump", BUT, we skaters don't make the rules. Technically, they'd want a jump landed on one EDGE of the blade. I would also have to agree with Sandra Bezic, Suria's skating was VERY choppy and abrupt, it was more like a gymnasts floor routine on skates. This eliminated the natural "flow" associated with skating. That said, she was a fierce competitor ... REFUSING a medal however was insulting and a poor display of judgement that cost her dearly. Skating judges NEVER forget!
No matter how much good it is. Its Illegal Move and that how all sports works. You cannot count something if you did something illegal.. If she was injured while doing backflip and landed her neck instead. Whos going to pay for it. U think the media will not protest the skating world if she died due to the backflip. our neck can be easily be broken.
It's sad that she seems to internalize the racist treatment toward her. "When you're black everyone knows that you have to do better than anyone else who's white." I mean, she can say all she wants that racism and gender stereotypes didn't play into her losses- but by acknowledging that she has to be better than white figure skaters to receive the same admiration and recognition...That screams racist to me.
Very illegal and dangerous backflip. You mean totally fucking awesome backflip.
As if doing triple trip jumps or quads aren't "dangerous," right?
That's why ice skating is so badass. 99% of us are soared AF to fall on the ice. With sharp blades to boot. It's slipper it's cold it's hard. The ice when you hit it, and hats to even stay upright on! It's slippery.
And then comes along Syria doing a muthafucling backflip. Idgaf. That is an accomplishment and should be recognized as such.
I think that they would still not allow it even of she was white. But was she ever first on the podium? I seen bronze a lot wtf is that about? I don't know how she didn't get so fed up with the bullshit unfairness and kept skating when she was always being second oelr third to lighter skinned skaters who might not have always been better than her.
Maybe that's why she did the backflip. Like, go head, give that bitch the gold medal, bet she can't do this fuck y'all!
Figure skating is such a beautiful sport but the problem with it is that it involves too much politics, bias views and discrimination. If you can't fit into the mold of what the judges want you won't ever win.
All of the racists trolls in the comments are too stupid to know what a racist "dog whistle" is even though they do it every day of their pathetic lives. "How is it racist?" they ask. Please, don't bother to respond to these bumbling idiots. We shouldn't have to cater to their inability to THINK. Read a book---a real one, and educate your pitiful selves.
They wouldnt give Tonya Harding a chance because she wasnt the kind of white person that they wanted representing ice skating. Now imagine being black and doing this. Good on both these women doing whats impossible and showing their skills regarding of the skewed scoring systems that were in place.
This reminded me so much of feeling incredibly uncomfortable and out of place in ballet lessons to the point I quit a year in. I was constantly told my butt stuck out too much... I have always had a more athletic muscular figure, too. They said it at the end but as soon as I saw the title, I said to myself 'of course, when you're black you have to OVERperform in order to catch people's attention or surpass their expectations'. People are always SURPRISED at my intelligence, artistic ability, equestrianism, piano-playing, that I'm well-spoken etc. I once had a friend's mother watch me eat then congratulate me on having fucking table manners. Every compliment is quietly finished with '...for a black person'. When you're black you always feel the need to impress people or prove them wrong. You start being obsessively over polite, quiet and subservient to not play up to the negative stereotypes. You feel under constant scrutiny and that if you don't excel, it is a poor reflection on your entire race. It's fucking stressful.
I love Bonaly! But I would like to see a video on her that doesn't speak about race for once. Can't we just leave it at "awesome figure skater"?
With her skating style I think it is weird that she didn't go for a more technincal sport like gymnastics. She is a huge athlete and figure skating may have been a bit of a miss match. I'm all for the jumps, but many of the judges aren't.
I kind of wish they would divide figure skating into 2 categories. One for more technical stuff and one more focused on choreography. That would have made it a bit more fair I think.
'Scratchy' skates on the ice?.... *silence*
That coupled with the princess statement, made me choke up a little... Why?!
She obviously loved and lived it, and any female who earns their way to the Olympics is a QUEEN!
LOL....they really want to up what she was. I wonder why? She NEVER dominated anything. The media never waged shit against her. She got a lot more press simply because she was black. The reason the others didn't do a back flip because it didn't matter. Probably nearly every skater could do it with training if it were worth some points. The reason she didn't get high artistic points is because she wasn't artistic. She was a big clunky skater who did jumps and a back flip in exhibition skating. This video is a crock of shit.
The only time she dominated was in the minor competitions when not all the top tier skaters were competing. She never dominated in Worlds or the Olympics. The only time she was on the podium in the Olympics she acted like a self entitled bitch. Breaking all protocol. It's just a fact. I've nothing against her. In fact I love watching her. It's just that this video is a bunch of garbage.
I've been told similar things. I'm no figure skater. Just a regular student in grad school. My dad's told me for years that
"You have to be 10% better than your white friends to be on a fair playing ground."
You know shes that blindingly flawless when they can't even give her the gold. Put your sunglasses on and recognise. She set a standard here AND NOT A ONE OF YOU can live up to it. They made it illegal because its impossible for them, but not this beautiful figure skater.
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