Sport (n.)

| March 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Anyone who thinks figure skating isn’t a sport is wrong, and also the worst, and here’s why.

This goes one out to you, Edward Egros.

A few weeks ago, the Fox Sports anchor tweeted out his opinion (which is wrong) that figure skating isn’t a sport in response to a tweet by @StatsInTheWild that argued “if you need to pick a song as part of your sport, I’m not going to respect your sport. I respect your art.” Egros was evidently feeling very validated by Stats’s hot take, because he took to the Twitter skies with a tweet of his own.

Predictably, he faced some backlash from the figure skating community and Olympic fans alike. Though he apparently couldn’t fathom why. As people explained to him why figure skating qualified – by definition – as a sport, he rushed to reassure them that he wasn’t saying it wasn’t hard. Just that it wasn’t a sport.

Which begs the question: what is a sport, according to Edward Egros and his supporters? He clearly doesn’t subscribe to the dictionary definition, because several people sent it to him in screenshots, which he ignored. He tries to argue that figure skating doesn’t qualify because it’s “too subjective,” even though figure skating has a famously strict criteria for its technical components (oh, was your landing five degrees to the right? there go half your points). Saying figure skating isn’t a sport because it’s “too subjective” is like saying soccer isn’t a sport for the same reason. Referees make subjective calls all the time, but no one argues that that disqualifies the sports that they call from being considered sports. So why does the presence of judges in figure skating suddenly make the whole thing too opinion-based to be a real competition?

Or is it the issue really just having music involved? Would having runners run the 400-meter to music suddenly transform track from a sport to an art?

The amount of athleticism that goes into skating is insane. As someone who’s taken a few semesters of beginners classes, I know the amount of work that goes into those crazy jumps and spins. To argue that it’s not a sport – which, according to dictionary.com, is by definition “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature” – is to be dismissive of the years of effort these athletes put into perfecting their technique.

People have been discrediting figure skating as a sport for years, for a multitude of reasons. And one of them is really simple: it’s a ‘feminine’ sport. Of course, the gender split in figure skating is actually relatively even, but the fact of the matter is that when people imagine a figure skater, the first thing they’ll probably think of is a woman. And sports associated with women, like gymnastics and cheerleading – aka sports where you “need to pick a song” -  have historically faced repeated challenges to their sporthood.

While I don’t know whether that is the reason Edward Egros thinks that figure skating is not a “real” sport, I’m not having this bullshit either way. Go back to your boring corner of the athletic world, Ed. The rest of us are going to have fun watching people fly on ice.

featured photo credit: Sangudo Silver Skate Festival via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Sports

Isabella Amorim

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Isabella "Izzy" Amorim's hobbies include writing for Culture Shock, spending inordinate amounts of time in BU dining halls, and purchasing children's tickets at movie theaters with her baby face. Play the system, kids.

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