Sexual Harassment in Skating

Ninety percent of senior figure skaters have had pressure put on them to perform or at least submit sexually in return for scoring. Increased scoring. Keeping your scores the same. Or even staying in the competition at all.

Ninety percent.

Ninety percent.

Ninety percent.

A skater's parents tried to stand up to the federation to keep judges from harassing their child. Pinching their butt. Grabbing their thighs. And other, even more inappropriate stunts.

The skater's parents have been threatened with severe lawsuits. Their house has been threatened several times. The skater themselves has been threatened.

(Sorry about the "them" bit. Hides gender. They can reveal names if they want to.)

Unfortunately, I have only seen two other sets of parents take action like this. And even they did not push it as far as these parents did. And our parents were merely taking what I consider to be necessary and appropriate steps to keep their child from being hassled.

One set of parents. One.

Getting sick yet? Good. I'm getting through.

Ninety percent.

I have heard skaters (and not isolated cases) talk about how good they had to be with a judge (or judges) the night before to be assured of a certain point score. One girl even had an unofficial system. She laughingly described to me, "I do (this), I get (this). I do (this), I get (this)" And so on. About ten ratings. Even the more sophisticated of you might be shocked at some of what she was describing. And it worked. Trust me. She could predict her scores to within a tenth of a point. I personally saw her nail her scores at least three times. Telling me about it. Not demonstrating. She was even willing to coach other skaters. "Make it worth it for them," she said.

You will not be seeing her on television here. But she tried. I am an experienced gymnast. I could not believe some of the things she was describing.

As I watched the Opening Ceremonies last night, I could not help but snicker a little and rewrite the words of the judges' oath. "I will forget how the skater was in bed last night?" What a waste. I've seen some skaters spend more on bedroom outfits than on costumes. Again, they got their scores. Sometimes against vastly more talented skaters. It was funny watching the judges defend their scores. Just funny. Hilarious. Sooner or later you're going to have to give it up and start paying for it. Save your reputations. Get out now. Go find someone else.

As in any human scope of behavior, there are those who do and those who don't. Federation officials who at least try to say something. Coaches who stay clear of their charges. But there ain't many. Not near as many as you'd think.

Ninety percent. Ninety percent.

I have seen skaters' costumes specifically requested. By judges. For "ease of judging routines."

You don't want to know whose. No, you don't indeed. Might disturb your day. Can't have that, can we? Oh no. It would be inconvenient.

What else is on TV?

Or do you even care?