Monday, November 28, 2005

Female coaching Part I

[I added the part I because I anticipate future entries on this subject. I limit this entry, however, to a short anecdote, followed by an even shorter comment.]
I was watching the Grand Prix ice skating event which is taking place in Paris this week when I was at the gym yesterday afternoon. I have been out of the ice skating loop (both the double and the triple loops--ha!) this season and since it is an Olympic year I thought I would see what was going on and who was hot/injured/without a coach/etc. I turned it on during the men's short program which frankly is probably the least interesting to me. But I stuck with it (Sunday afternoons do not offer great programming variety). The actual performances didn't really impress me but as usual what comes out of the commentators' mouths is always of interest and worthy of comment.
Gheorghe Chiper was skating first. I had never heard of him. He happens to be having a good week--he got the bronze. Chiper is 27 and from Romania where he has won their national chmapionships seven times and he is coached by his wife. The commentators--all men--gave a chuckle at that last piece of information and said facetiously--I can't imagine how that works.
My guess is that it works just fine given that he's one of the top twenty male skaters in the world. Women coaches are not as anomalous in figure skating as in other sports but apparently it's not okay, abnormal, unnatural, for a woman to coach a man, especially if you're having sex with that women. Never mind that men frequently coach their wives, or daughters, or that men are most often those that sexually abuse their pupils. These things are all apparently much more normal than wives coaching husbands. Good grief! In arguably the gayest sport in the world, we still have to deal with all this gender norm bullshit.


Amateur said...

ken -- I have little to add except that this is a fascinating story!

Anonymous said...

I do love your way with words. Very interesting and sad, too, about the gender situation and how badly the commentators strive to add their little tidbits in order to make the show more titillating.


Anonymous said...

I'm usually not into figure skating (as you know, ken), but I do appreciate male athletes who don't kowtow to gender norms. Count me a Chiper Fan!

Amateur said...

ken, I don't know if you will get this comment, given it's late date... but here is a story about a similar husband/wife arrangement ... but in the manly-man sport of shotput.

I've had it on my drafts list to write something about it but with the winter Olympics coming up I don't think I am going to get to it any time soon. And you could probably make more out of it, anyway.