In an article with New York Magazine, Gold Medal-winning figure skater Evan Lysacek talks about Rise, a documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of a tragic plane crash that killed the entire 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team, and talks about how figure skating is misunderstood.
A particular part of the interview stuck out to me, especially his references to tennis and his comparison of the sport to figure skating and gymnastics. While I don’t 100% agree with his opinion, implying that your performance in tennis is based on very few moments throughout the year (has he never seen the tennis season schedule?), I appreciate his love for tennis and respect for the sport:
Speaking of films, you must have related to Black Swan.
I liked it for, I think, different reasons than other people maybe enjoyed it. It showed a really accurate side of trying to succeed in an individual sport. Ballet is a tough sport, and I think people don’t realize this, and it’s kind of misunderstood in the way skating is. Skating is only in the spotlight every four years. You see such a minuscule moment of that athlete’s career and the hours that have gone in. But you know, we’re dressed up in our suit and we have our music and we’re ready to go and we have to make what we’re doing look easy, because that’s how we score points. If it looks difficult, we’re not doing our jobs. There’s, you know, a lot of positive emotion that goes along with it, but there’s a lot of deeper stuff. There’s a fear that it’s never going to happen, and there’s a lot of isolation in individual sports, and I think there’s a desperation, because sometimes you can’t explain why one person is able to do something and another person not. So you’re desperate. You want to do everything that anyone else can. And you want to succeed, and you want it to be you who is up there. But on the flip side, the margin for error is zero, and it takes absolute perfection. Tennis and gymnastics are the same way. When the cameras are rolling and your name is announced, you have to be perfect in that moment. It’s brutal. And I think people look at Blades of Glory and they’re like, “Oh, that’s ice skating.” That has absolutely nothing to do with competitive figure skating.
Read the full article here.