Irrelevant Information

Sep 1, 2017

Adieu, adieu

As you are probably aware, Julia Lipnitskaya announced her retirement from competitive earlier this week after receiving treatment for anorexia. It's been a sad week learning about the Sisyphean weight of all Ms. Lipnitskaya's struggles, but there's also relief mixed in there too, knowing that finally, Ms. Lipnitskaya may finally be able to find peace away from the perpetual glare of public scrutiny.

What can I say about Ms. Lipnitskaya's short but extremely eventful career as a competitive figure skater? For many, it's easiest to remember Ms. Lipnitskaya's meteoric 2013-2014 season, that year when she won a slew of gold medals (both her Grand Prix events, Europeans, and the team gold medal at the Olympics) and became the darling of the Sochi Olympic games with her iconic Schindler's List long program:

The power of Ms. Lipnitskaya's Schindler's List program cannot be denied. At the time, I called it a triumph of superbly clever packaging, but there was something else there too. Hardly anyone I know in "real life" watches figure skating (as an example of how well-versed my friends are about skating, many of them regularly ask me if Michelle Kwan is still competing), but in February 2014, my Facebook news feed--99% comprised of North American millennials not particularly inclined towards Russian skaters--was exploding with videos, memes and GIFs of Ms. Lipnitskaya skating to Schindler's List, along with a good amount of gushing posts. Some may brush this off as argumentum ad populum, the pedestrian tastes of the unwashed masses, but to paraphrase Roger Ebert, saying what you want to say in a way that millions of people want to hear is a gift too. The art of figure skating does not live apart from its audience.

But for me, personally, what I'll remember most about Ms. Lipnitskaya is her fight and determination against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (irrational judging, crushing public scrutiny, questionable coaching, etc.), the way she worked hard--with little reward from the judges--to develop her skating, shut up her critics (well, me) and transmute them into full-fledged uber-dom (also me):


  1. Юлия Королева льда! Наша Первая и единственная ОЧ!

  2. Yes! Thank you for your opinion on our talented star!

  3. @rjn1 and Unknown:

    Thank you both for reading! Spasibo! :)

  4. Спасибо за то, что любите нашу Юлю!

  5. Yuzuru is a very serious man...too serious and very strict toward himself.
    Wish he can act lightly like the story you wrote here sometime. My best wishes for him spreads recovery from the injury.