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Jo Ann Schneider Farris

Reality TV Can Be a Good Thing For Figure Skating

By September 18, 2011

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Figure Skaters

This week, it was announced that Lifetime Television is looking for figure skaters to be part of a reality series called Kids On Ice.  When I shared this news, the reactions from people in the ice skating community varied.

Some people feel that a reality show would show a bad side of our sport.

The casting announcement asked for "very involved moms" and for "coaches with strong personalities" who are serious about competing and winning. To some that translated to "nutty skating mothers" and "figure skating coaches that lie, steal, or cheat for their skaters." One person reacted with this statement: "It's a trap!"

Others remembered The Learning Channel's 2005-06 figure skating reality show, Ice Diaries, that showed the stories of four young women who hoped to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics.  Although none of the featured skaters qualified, the show did give figure skating some great and positive exposure.

What are your thoughts?  My thoughts are that a reality show about the figure skating world could be a good thing.

(In fact, my family has already applied to be a part of this project. I was told by two former Olympic figure skaters that we are "perfect" for this show! I do admit that my family may be a perfect choice for a show like this. My enthusiasm about figure skating is infectious and our dedication to the sport is not only interesting, but entertaining!  I've been told that certain people log into Facebook on a daily basis to find out what's happening in the"next episode" of the skating Schneider-Farris family!)

I also want those who don't know much about our sport to know that figure skating teaches great life lessons.  The hard work and dedication that is required can be taken from childhood into one's adult life.

I do hope that Kids On Ice becomes a reality and I do hope that the skaters and coaches chosen to be part of the show can also show television audiences the wonderful things our sport can bring into one's life! I hope my motto "Happy Skating!" can be passed on to everyone since our sport really does bring happiness!

Happy Skating!

Figure Skaters - Photo by David Madison/Getty Images

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September 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm
(1) sk8rmomp says:

Be very careful! I think that anyone going into this should go in with their eyes open. Before they sign up for the project watch “Dance Moms,” another Lifetime offering that is in it’s closing episodes.

This is the type of entertainment they are looking for, train wrecks that you can’t stop watching. Unfortunately this is what sells.

I am probably naive, but I do hope that good examples of Skate Moms and Coaches will be shown, but lets face it, unless there is a hook, they probably will not be too interesting to producers.

As long as the kids, coaches and parents know that the media can and will script, spin and manipulate things in the way that gets them ratings, and are willing to take that chance for their own goals, then good luck! It would be great to get some good examples out there.

September 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm
(2) Lindsay says:

Sadly, a show like this will not air unless there is a substantial amount of drama, nutty parenting/coaching, and other bizarre occurrences/intentional scripting by the show’s producers. I’m not saying it would be the worst thing in the world to be selected to appear on this show, I would just be careful and make it clear from the very beginning that you and your family are not interested in being portrayed as nut jobs by the producers. Still, as long as we don’t take it too seriously, a show about competitive skating would be a lot of fun!

September 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm
(3) Christopher Hyland says:

I see your point Jo Ann. I hope your very positive and up beat take on this proves to be correct. I myself am more skeptical. My big concern is we’ll get a show that focuses on all the craziness and we’ll end up scaring potential skaters away.

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