I've been a competitive figure skater from the age of three. Ask me anything!
Hi reddit! I'm not very good at this, so let's hope I'm doing it right.
I'm Georgie, and I'm a nineteen year old figure skater. I became a USFSA gold medalist at the age of fourteen. I have competed in singles for fourteen consecutive seasons, as well as five seasons doing synchronized skating, and I have experience in both solo and partnered ice dance. I have also done some professional work, appearing in TV episodes of "Sesame Street", "Instinct", and "Mysteries of Laura", and various skatewear modeling jobs. I am a performing apprentice with the Ice Theater of New York, and I have appeared in some of their exhibitions, both as an ensemble member and a soloist.
You can find me on instagram if you want to see my skating, https://www.instagram.com/georgieonice/
I don’t really know if there’s a way to make skating judgeless. A good portion of your score is artistic, which is obviously very subjective. They have tried to standardize it, but of course it will never be perfect. Even the technical score is calculated by grade of execution, which has some level of subjectivity.
To the second question: absolutely. I wouldn’t say unfair judging, but there have definitely been calls that I and my coaches don’t agree with, but there’s not anything you can do about it. The only thing you can really do is prepare for the next competition so well that there’s no opportunity for the judges to make deductions.
I'm not trying to be mean when I ask this, but I have to ask: Why do 99% of figure skater costumes look like cast-offs from an Eighties child beauty pageant that was sponsered by Bedazzler?
Honestly, that’s a totally valid question, because I agree. I’ve actually discussed with my friends. I think some people have this idea in their head that if they have a memorable costume, the judges will score them higher. Of course, that is entirely false. I think it could have something to do with the age of the parents and dressmakers, as they would’ve grown up in the age of those over the top skating dresses.
One issue though, is whether you can be seen when you’re competing. For example, people tend to not wear light colors without beading, because it makes you look like you blend into the ice.
I try my best to not go too over the top, especially because all that beading is literally so heavy it weighs you down.
I guess another question would be is 'why are the skirts short (not that I am complaining.)'. Why not pants. If I was to fall, I would want pants.
Most people wear pants to practice. You can technically wear pants in competition, but they have to be attached to a bodysuit, which I don’t personally find flattering. The skirts are short because longer skirts are less aerodynamic. I once had to do a show with a flowy, knee length skirt and it makes a huge difference in your balance. Also shorter skirts make it easier to see a skaters line. There’s technically no rule saying that skirts have to be short, it just says that they must fully cover the skaters “hips and posterior”.
Plus when we wear skirts we always wear pretty thick flesh colored tights underneath, so falling isn’t an issue.
What’s it like to compete at the age of three?
I always loved competing when I was little because I loved showing off my little routine and getting to wear a pretty costume, and ending up with a trophy. I'm lucky in the sense my parents never forced me to compete, it was my choice so it was pretty much always a fun experience. I feel like it definitely helped me with being able to be calm and confident under pressure.
How strong are your legs from all the skating? How much can you squat?
I don't actually know how much I can squat because skaters tend to not do much lifting, but it's estimated that skaters land jumps with the force of 5 to 8 times their body weight. I'd say my legs are quite strong, but not always in typical ways. For example, one legged squats come super easy, whereas I might struggle with other seemingly easier things.
This first part is completely unrelated to my question (sorry!) but I find it really cool that you have appeared on Sesame Street, I grew up with that show and it’s always carried a lot of meaning for me. It’s such a special piece of television, so I just wanted to let you know that I’m really impressed by the Sesame Street credential, it’s a big achievement, well done! :)
My question is actually related to your training clothes and performance costumes, if you don’t mind. I have a background in ballet and have always found the skating costumes particularly beautiful. Certain pieces of the ice training wear even seems like it could work well where we rehearse too. So I am wondering where you purchase your training and performance wear? And if you have any tips or recommendations for certain items?
Thank you! Congratulations again, I hope you’re well and safe :)
All of my competition costumes are custom designs from a local dressmaker. As for training, most skaters wear lululemon and chloe noel/mondor. Funnily enough, we also draw a lot of inspiration from ballet. In fact, my competition practice outfit is entirely from capezio, down to the leg warmers!
If there was one song you could skate to in front of the judges, which song would it be?
One song I always wanted to skate to was Exogenesis Symphony part 3 by Muse, but a few successful skaters skated to it recently so I can’t really use it without it looking like I’m copying them.
What do you plan to do after retiring from competition?
Skating wise, I'll probably do more show and professional skating. I'm also in university at the moment studying Applied Math and Physics, but I honestly don't know at this point where that might lead. In the meantime I'm also coaching, but I don't really want that to be where I end up.
After all your years of training, can you pull off the Iron Lotus?
I unfortunately cannot. I can do a death drop and death spiral though!
I happened to watch a skating documentary earlier today, and they showed a 1984 compulsory figures competition. I remember thinking how boring they were to watch as a kid back then, but today I read they are considered a good foundation.
Did you learn how to skate figures, and what is your opinion of them?
I started skating just when they started to do away with figures. They ended up replacing them with “moves in the field”, which have the same general concept, but are less time consuming. They’re essentially a bunch of exercises that you perform in front of judges, and you pass tests with them.
A lot of people don’t like them, but I always liked them because it’s something to do when you’re too lazy/tired to do actual training
How often/long did you practice when you were preparing for important competitions? Do you think that this discipline (and maybe other aspects of figure skating as well) translated over into your daily life?
My training schedule doesn’t really change depending on the competitions I have coming up. During the school year, I usually do 2-3 hours on the ice before school starts, and then 2ish hours of off ice training after school. I think the discipline has definitely translated over into real life, as well as a level of perfectionism and attention to detail in even the smallest things.
Can you describe your perfect sheet of ice?
I usually like ice that’s about 20 minutes after an ice cut, so it’s not too smooth. I feel like it’s easier to grip onto. I also prefer ice that’s not too cold, because when it’s really cold it’s like your blades are gliding on top of it, instead of being able to carve into it.
How often do you get to take breaks from training to do things like go on vacation and get stupid drunk or whatever? Where do you see yourself career wise in 10 years?
Skating is unfortunately a very time consuming sport. I’m lucky that I’m EXTREMELY introverted, so I’ve never been the type to want to party. A lot of people do quit skating in their teen years because they want to spend more time with their friends, but skating has always been what I enjoy the most. There isn’t really an off season for vacations, but the summer competition season is always fun. There are often competitions that span a few days, and they’re usually out of state or in other countries. It sounds so lame, but getting to travel around with all of your best friends, the hype of the competition, and then sightseeing is so much fun for me.
As for the future, I’m currently in university studying applied math and physics. I’m also coaching at the moment because it’s really convenient for both my school and training schedules, but I don’t really want to end up as a coach.
Ever watched A show called ‘Yuri on Ice’? If so, what did you think?
I did watch it, and I actually thought it was really good. Out of all the skating shows and movies I’ve watched, it’s definitely the most accurate. I heard they also consulted real skaters when making it and the programs were made by actual choreographers, which is really cool. Most of the skating and training was almost entirely accurate, with a little bit of exaggeration to make it entertaining.
I've always find it fascinating that tons of duos figure skaters end up dating/get engaged to one another based around that they've known each other for so long from practicing together day in and day out so my question is are you currently or have thought of dating your duos partner? Second question that's off topic, favorite video game?
I can’t say I’ve ever been interested in one of my skating partners. I am really close with some of my training mates, but they’re more like brothers to me. Also it’s sort of an unspoken rule to not really get involved with your partner, because a breakup would be REALLY awkward.
To the second question: I don’t really do much gaming, but I do love animal crossing. It’s so basic but I also have a minecraft server with a bunch of my friends from skating :)
Do you do any rollerblading? I was a figure skater many, many years ago. I just did it for fun as a kid and not to be competitive. Figure skating is actually one of the worst sports for wear and tear on your body, one of my instructors told me that. She kinda talked me out of the sport. I didn't believe it but I read its true. I know with rollerblading stiff boots can cause muscle weakness over time, because of a low range of motion, so I avoid that.
I switched to rollerblading and I like it much better than ice, doing it since the 90s. I mostly endurance/speed skate for fitness, but I'll do some jumps and moves. I do still ice skate in the winter, but it is not my first choice.
Good luck in your competitions!
I have tried it, but I don’t seem to be very good at it. I think it probably has something to do with the fact that the natural way to stop on ice would send you flying in roller skates. I just got these special inline skates that are essentially wheels mounted on figure boots, and I’ve been practicing with those. I’m still a wee bit apprehensive about falling, because on ground i feel like theres more room for injury.
lol I do do them, I just absolutely hate them so i don’t tend to film them ahaha
Hey hey! I’ve skated since 3 as well, and my (then) 75 year old (and blind) grandfather took me through my first six dance tests when I was in high school!
My question: what do you make of the plastic skates rather than the leather boots? Are they lighter?
Also, have you tried the skating roller blades from England?
I’ve used edea since I was around 13, so I’m really used to the plastic boots. I think they are lighter and I really like them. I find that they’re really easy to break in. My one issue with them is that they don’t wear down the same way leather boots do. Its really weird, because they don’t deteriorate at all. They feel perfectly fine, and then suddenly you can feel that they’re dead and they’ve lost their support. At that point they’re pretty much unusable.
Where is the coolest place skating has taken you so far? Is there a dream skating location that you haven't gone to yet?
My favorite place I competed was scotland because it was so beautiful. I was also supposed to go skate on lake louise for a photoshoot back in march, but I wasn’t able to go because of lockdown. Lake louise is definitely my dream location though :)
This is probably not as in depth of a question as most here, but it's a two-parter...
What's your favorite thing about competitive figure skating? On the other side, what's your least favorite thing about it?
My favorite part of competing is the actual feeling of competing. I’m extremely introverted and don’t really like attention, but its a great feeling to know that you’ve prepared as much as you possibly could. I like being the center of attention for that four or so minutes and putting on a performance for the judges and audience. There’s also this great adrenaline rush when you get off the ice, where you can’t help but smile because of the relief of giving it your all.
My least favorite is the waiting aspect. The time between your 6 minute warm up and your turn to compete is the WORST. If you’re not the first skater, there’s about 5 minutes to wait for every skater ahead of you. In that time, you have to try to keep your adrenaline and heart rate going, while at the same time not tiring yourself out too much. Then when the skater ahead of you finishes, you get on the ice while the judges are still doing their thing, so you just do whatever you want. I always feel super awkward in this time, like I’ve suddenly never skated before in my life. This is also unfortunately the perfect time for the nerves to kick in.
During a competition, when a judge says "favorite to win," does that mean the judges are biased twords one person or that the "favorite" is just a better skater?
That usually is said in the second half of the competition, the free skate. It typically means that they are in first place after the first event, and have a large enough lead that they most likely will win.
Another time they say it is when a particular skater has had a winning streak for a while, so it is assumed that they will continue to skate well in this competition. It’s all just speculative, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to win.
Interesting. I still find the term "favorite" in a competitive atmosphere kind of a turn-off. Anyway, one of my favorite statements to aggravate my wife and make her laugh is "super-sow-cow" (not referring to weight.) So thank you ice-skating and be sure to have fun and grow but never grow-up.
I'm 19, and interested in skating in general. Any suggestions?
If you’re thinking of starting skating, I say go for it! It’s never too late to start, and it’s super fun! (I may be a bit biased)
I would recommend looking up rinks in your area and looking into whether they have any learn to skate programs. The USFSA has a great group lesson program that teaches the basics.
Do you have any other hobbies besides skating?
I quite like art, and I do a lot of painting and drawing. I also find that crocheting before a competition calms me down, so I do that a lot. I’m also a huge fan of marvel, so I like the comics and movies. (idk if that counts as a hobby though)
How would describe the figure skating fanbase? Do you have fans that follow you specifically around for competitions? Who is your professional 'idol'?
The skating fans in the US are pretty casual. They might attend an event if it’s in their area, but for the most part they won’t really travel for it.
The Japanese fans are REALLY into it though. The reigning Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu has fans that travel around the world to watch him skate. I once was in the audience at a competition in Japan, and there were grown women with the same level of enthusiasm that I saw from teenage girls at a One Direction concert. It was truly incredible how supportive they were. Loads of them had bags full of flags, so every skater there felt like they had fans. It was really sweet. If you’d like to see an example, look up “yuzuru pooh rain” on youtube.
For my idol, I have quite a few for different aspects of skating. Generally, I’m a huge fan of Jason Brown. I think he has the best artistry out of all the current skaters, and his jumps and spins are gorgeous. Evgenia Medvedeva is also one of my idols.
My daughter is 10 and a competitive speed (inline) skater, and has been for about 2 years. I imagine that most of your talents focus mostly on ice, but do you ever rock the inlines for practice? My daughter wants to give ice a try and I'm curious how a transtion for that may go.
I actually got inline skates in quarantine because I thought it would be a way to train off the ice, but turns out I’m comically bad at it. I think the transition to inline to figure might be easier than figure to inline.
Have you ever hurt yourself out on the ice? Is it a hard sport to train in while you're recovering?
Thanks for the IAmA!
I’ve never had any injuries actually on the ice, so I’m pretty lucky. When I was thirteen I did have to get surgery on my ankle, and I was off the ice for the month. I was able to still do some conditioning at that time, so it wasn’t too bad. We tend to get a lot of stress injuries in our joints. The skates we wear are extremely stiff, mine are made out of this extra strong plastic-ey material, so our ankles aren’t as strong as you’d think. I have to work a lot off the ice on ankle strength, because constantly wearing those boots with limited range of motion is like wearing a cast on your ankles.
For the most part, you don’t have to miss too much training if you have broken bones. I’ve skated on a taped broken toe, and trained with a broken tailbone. There’s padding that you can get that helps a lot.
What is your favorite potato?
favorite preparation: roasted favorite type: sweet
I’m a figure skater too! (14 and only just landed double sal so nowhere NEAR your level) What have you been doing to keep fitness levels up during lockdown? (Also if it’s possible could u recommend any exercises that you do?)
I’ve been doing zoom off ice with my coaches and trainers, and practicing rotations and spin positions off the ice. I’ve been keeping my stamina up by sprinting for the length of my programs, and just generally doing quite a bit of cardio. I also just got inline skates a few days ago, so I’m not really good at it, but hopefully that’ll help.
how would you do as a hockey player? have you tried hockey skates?
I’ve never tried it, but I have a feeling I would be terrible on hockey skates. Figure skates have a toepick on the front of the blade and a well defined heel on the back, while hockey skates don’t. I think if I tried hockey skates I’d probably alternate between slipping forwards and backwards lol
As a casual watcher who tunes in every so often I find that the whole judging bit in skating really is holding it back from being a more widespread and viewed sport.
If you could change the rules have how would we decipher winners without judges?
Also have you ever been royally screwed over by to you unfair judging if so? Is there an appeal process or is there nothing you can do?
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