Dating for skaters
Across town, the junior men — the second-highest level, eligible for some international competitions but not the Olympics — compete in the short program.They're older, in their late teens, and fighting to control themselves: Where the juvenile boys seemed precociously unwieldy, these men's movements are careful, decided.It wasn't really until three-time Olympic champion Sonja Henie came to Hollywood in the '30s — bringing with her short skirts, white skates, and a whole lot of sultry cuteness — that skating became, in the public eye, a primarily girls' sport.Already by mid-century, Skating magazine worried about the lack of boys.One of the group's representatives, who asked to not be named, tells me, “Everyone assumes all male skaters are gay. I don’t understand this impulse, particularly from figure skaters, to hide their sexuality.You can’t tell me that if Jeremy Abbott came out as gay that it would affect his standing in the skating world.”To insiders, though, it's no surprise that skaters are reluctant to speak out on LGBT rights, let alone come out themselves.I skated for 10 years growing up and have spent a lot of time in ice rinks, but I’m still surprised, somehow, by how fast these guys are — I can hear the wind as they pass, and their blades leave inch-deep slices in the ice.
Until the early 1900s, figure skating was mostly a way for wealthy men to show off their aristocratic grace and ample spare time by skating elegant figures and positions on the ice.They're doing moves that are often reserved for women, layback spins and spirals, curving their arms and cocking their wrists.One boy spots his upright spin, whipping his head to face the same wall with each rotation, a move classic to ballet but atypical in skating.And last month, after 1988 gold medalist Brian Boitano was named to the U. Olympic Delegation to Sochi, he announced that he, too, was gay.Boitano's enough of an established legend to be on the safe side, but it seems that in general, gay skaters are just a tad too implicating of the male skaters around them to be seriously endorsed. One pump-up video montage at nationals showed clip after clip of top male skaters performing one enormous jump after another, but depicted Rudy Galindo crossing himself and Johnny Weir bursting into tears.