November 21, 2012

Podium Etiquette

Scanning through the endless photo albums available online which are cropping up seemingly exponentially as we advance through the Grand Prix season, there is always one thing that shocks me on the images. What gives with non-gold medal winners, who look like their world just ended?

I thought the subject of podium etiquette merited an albeit short, post, because it has such an impact on on-lookers, whether at club-competition or international-star level.

Reaction, And What It Says About The Skater
All skaters in a competition have worked hard, and all want to do their best. Some skaters have higher expectations than others, and while a bronze medal may be a dream-come-true for one little ice star, it may be the colour of disappointment for another. But, at the end of the day, what's important is how a skater handles a situation. This is especially true for disappointment, but also applies to winning.

Of course it's always a bitter pill to swallow when you place lower than you expected. But if you're up on that podium, you already have the majority behind you, and envious of you what's more.

I am always shocked when I see kids up in silver medal positions with faces as long as a crocodiles. I have numerous podium photos to prove it, me in the 3rd medal spot grinning, the silver-medallist skulking. Although it can be easy to get caught up in placings and how your results will reflect on your season (especially for events which allow you qualifications, and the like) it's important to keep sight of the bigger picture.

Ultimately, the skater is doing this because he or she loves to (in a perfect world). Winning medals, being told you're a star, and all the other trimmings are bonuses. If a skater can keep a hold of the fact that the performance is more important than the result (both in terms of pleasure, and self-betterment) then they are already winners in life.

Winning And Loving It
We've all heard of sore and graceful losers, right? Well there's such a thing as a graceful winner too, at least in my eyes.

Did you ever see that little kid (or not so little a kid, for that matter...) bragging wayyyy too much after a win? Strutting around a little too much with the trophy, and being a little too condescending with the other skaters? Yeah, of course you have. I lost gold medals to those kids just plenty when I was starting out, and plainly put it made me feel jealous and sad.

Of course now I have hindsight on my side, and I know that those skaters who acted in this way had been trained to think winning the ultimate goal. That somehow, winning made them better than me.

It's just as important to stay graceful during a win, as it is when you're accepting a 3rd place spot (or lower, for that matter). No one wants to see a skater who thinks too highly of his or herself, and quite frankly, those types of skaters will end up with a reputation (diva, anyone?).

"Box" Etiquette
So what's the nicest way to act while climbing a top the box? Here are some simple rules to stay elegant and become known as the kind, mature skater:

♥ Smile (yes, it's that simple)
♥ Congratulate your fellow medallists (and be genuine)
♥ Shake their hands (a show of sportsmanship and solidarity goes a long way)
♥ Hold your winnings in a modest manner (if you're older than 5, you really can't pull off the holding-trophy-over-head-look-at-me-I-won pose)
♥ If you're the gold medallist, lend a helping hand to others (literally, put your hand out for them to hold as they grapple onto the box)
♥ Make sure your feet are held in a pretty pose for photos (everyone will thank you when the photos are published)
♥ Smile (yes, again) even if your heart feels like it's bursting (you'll be glad you did in 10 years time when you look at the photos, especially if you "make it")
♥ Descend with grace (no running screaming to coach or mum shouting "I won!")

Hopefully these few pointers will help you or your little one become a podium princess (or prince!). If you have a pointer that you think should be added to this post, just let me know via one of the contact means below.

Until next time, keep smiling (smiles make the world go 'round!),

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for this post, I'm a first time skater, wish me luck.

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