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Thread: Clapping when skaters fall

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    Clapping when skaters fall


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    Why do we do this? I always though it was to encourage them when they get up and keep skating. However, when I was in Lake Placid in early July, the audience was clapping as the skater fell and way before he/she shows signs of getting up. And, it was often the most applause they got during his/her program --which just seemed wrong.

    My husband asked me about it and I want to make sure I gave him the right answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bevybean View Post
    Why do we do this? I always though it was to encourage them when they get up and keep skating. However, when I was in Lake Placid in early July, the audience was clapping as the skater fell and way before he/she shows signs of getting up. And, it was often the most applause they got during his/her program --which just seemed wrong.

    My husband asked me about it and I want to make sure I gave him the right answer.
    Yup, normally it's meant to encourage a skater who has made major errors early on (e.g. a skater with 2-3 major errors/falls will often get a sympathetic audience to cheer them on). It also happens after a hard or scary fall. Programs are not only physically but also mentally taxing, and the audience understands the effect that multiple errors can have on a performance. It's a typical thing I see in sporting events where an athlete almost gets injured or is facing a tough task/turning point, that the audience claps to spur them on.

    Of course, then you also get instances like Sochi where part of the audience is actually hoping for certain skaters (namely visiting skaters) to mess up, and cheer/clap when they do. But for the most part, audiences keep it classy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bevybean View Post
    Why do we do this? I always though it was to encourage them when they get up and keep skating. However, when I was in Lake Placid in early July, the audience was clapping as the skater fell and way before he/she shows signs of getting up. And, it was often the most applause they got during his/her program --which just seemed wrong.

    My husband asked me about it and I want to make sure I gave him the right answer.
    I'm certain it is meant to encourage the skater to not give up and to finish the program in style. Under these circumstances, applause can give a little boost to the skater, which is probably needed since they've just ended up on their backside in front of an arena full of people.

    I can't imagine anyone clapping gleefully that a skater has fallen, although I reserve the right to do this if the skater in question is Alexei Urmanov.

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    I've clapped for a skater who has fallen hard because I know how much it hurts physically. I also know that it takes guts to get back up after missing a jump or element that you've done a thousand times in practice.

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    I had one of those moments at the beginning of my Showcase FS program during my club's year end skating show. It happened on a nothing move, I stepped forwards to backwards on a slightly loose blade that badly needed tightening and sharpening and down I went onto both knees and stretched out fully forwards. Huge applause just for getting up and more for finishing my program (all elements went off fine). Huge bruise on my knee that didn't start to heal until after my competion was over 2 weeks later. Applause is much appreciated.

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Depends on the level of the skater and what they are trying.

    A very beginner skater will probably get alot. If a skater is trying something above the norm for that level, they also tend to get alot. The same logic goes to any skater who tries a quad and fails or any lady that tries a triple axel and fails.

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    #ButThatsNoneOfMyBusiness Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    The loud encouraging chants and clapping is what helped Jeremy Abbott get up after that horrible fall in Sochi Mens' SP.

    That would be the only kind of instance I would clap for a fall though.

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    I'm always a bit hesitant to do this as well, but from personal experience at Worlds in Helsinki, the crowd had to clap and cheer Anna Pogorilaya on to finish her free skate. She looked like she wanted to quit part way through, it was tough to watch.

    When I played tennis in high school our coach taught us to cheer a good shot, but not when a point was won because of a player error (like an out, or double fault), so this cheering after a mistake always feels a bit contrary to me.

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    Tripping on the Podium macy's Avatar
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    in my years of competitive skating it's always been a form of encouragement. as others stated, most of the audience understands how physically and mentally tough programs are, and how much more difficult they can be when a skater misses elements. it's meant to give the skater a boost and an attempt to help them finish on a strong note. same goes for clapping after a skater is finished and did poorly, it's more appreciation for what they did or attempted to do. sort of like a "we appreciate that you tried and feel for you" thing.

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    Do you older fans remember when Maria Butyrskaya fell during her final footwork sequence at Worlds in 1998? It was so shocking that even the commentators gasped. I remember screaming OH NO at my TV because it happened out of nowhere. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq3nY97PwPY

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    Seems a really obvious and standard tool for an audience to express encouragement to the athlete. Happens not just in skating but in other performance arenas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrice View Post
    Do you older fans remember when Maria Butyrskaya fell during her final footwork sequence at Worlds in 1998? It was so shocking that even the commentators gasped. I remember screaming OH NO at my TV because it happened out of nowhere. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq3nY97PwPY
    I just loved how she proved Uncle Dick's retirement prediction wrong and came back to win worlds the next season.

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    I don't believe she fell, but I believe it was Tessa Hong who doubled jump after jump until the crowd willed her to hit that next triple! It was one of the more memorable moments from last years US Nationals for me. She was so exhausted, but crowd participation pulled her through. It was quite a sight to see

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    On the Ice cinnamon's Avatar
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    I think this is relatively a new thing. Back in the time when we were competing, we didn't experience this. So I'm not sure if the audience claps when I fall, I will be encouraged or embarrassed.
    Of course today every skater understands this as a sign that the audience wants to help him/her to get up and keep going, it a good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiches View Post
    I'm always a bit hesitant to do this as well, but from personal experience at Worlds in Helsinki, the crowd had to clap and cheer Anna Pogorilaya on to finish her free skate. She looked like she wanted to quit part way through, it was tough to watch.
    This was the applause moment I would refer to as well. I'm not the biggest Anna fan but no real skating fan wants to see any skater fail or get into as much trouble as she did in that free skate. The encouragement she received in the arena that day was fantastic - not a hint of anyone clapping because they were pleased she fell but rather a collective willing her on to do well. Even when I'm at home, I find myself doing it...

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