15 Things Figure Skaters Need To Know To Make It Big (Like Michelle Kwan)

Well, I'm not sure if you knew this, but there is one hell of an underworld in the figure skating scene. It's not like the mafia; it doesn't have vampires. It's not that sort of underworld. It's more the kind that is littered with all sorts of drugs, alcohol, hired hits, huge expenses, bankruptcy, abusive parents, poor education, and very short careers... it's actually very much like the mafia and vampire underworlds... crazy.

Don't get me wrong here. Both male and female figure skaters typically go through some pretty bad situations in life. Both have to start young. Both are pressured by parents. Both are often mocked by their schoolmates (though men tend to get that one a bit worse)... it's not an easy life for anyone. But there's no denying that there is a greater female population in figure skating, so we're going to focus on that.

I mean, the men do have expensive outfits but it seems like the smaller and skimpier outfits of the ladies cost way more than the jumpsuits the men wear. The men do have to do some crazy moves, but there are some that only women can physically do. So, let's have a look at something that female figure skaters don't want you to know (or they might want you to, but can't say for themselves).

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15 Skaters Could Lose Points For Their Costumes

This is something I definitely didn't think was a thing. I just assumed that figure skating, along with cheerleading (which is also a brutally competitive sport) promoted the idea of dressing skimpily in order to get more points in the eyes of their viewers. It just seems to make sense considering how people treat women in sports...and everywhere else. I'm glad that's not the case, but I'm sure that competitors don't want you to know that they can lose points if they dress too seductively if it doesn't make sense with the choreography that they have for their performance. I really am happy that they make a point to ensure women aren't objectified in that way. They certainly are in other ways in this business, but not in this way...though it doesn't stop skaters from trying to push their luck.

14 Many Skaters Quit School At A Very Young Age

This is kind of depressing because it ultimately screws figure skaters out of much of a future. Or at least it makes it much harder for them once they have to finally retire from skating. What's also sad about this is that many parents have a hand in their kids quitting school in order to spend more time skating so they can compete, win and eventually go to the Olympics. Basically, if these ladies don't end up coaching, teaching, or doing Stars or Disney on Ice...then they pretty well have no prospects. They have to go back to school or get a sh*tty job at Tim Hortons. This includes a lot of women who have competed and won at the national level. It's a sad life to be a figure skater. You're basically done in your 20s and then you have to really figure out your no longer regimented life.

13 Figure Skating Is Super Expensive!

I can't imagine a figure skater wanting anyone to know just how much their parents have dropped on them to perform. Once they hit teenage years, there are a number of skaters who do go out of their way to try and hold a job while training as hard as they do...but otherwise they have to be pretty dependent unless they're somehow independently wealthy. Either way, think of the breakdown of cost. You have to pay for skates, lessons, outfits, competition fees, and that's before even mentioning the added costs of travel (which can be pretty nutty). Some lessons are paid for by every 15 minutes of teaching. That's crazy! Especially since it can be more than $50 every 15 minutes. And that's before the rental of the rink on which they train. It makes me want to weep just thinking about the amount of money they spend on this. Hundreds of thousands is not an unusual dollar amount to spend.

12 These Girls Don't Really Make Friends

The term I've been reading a bunch when researching these figure skaters is "frenemies". Sure, they travel with all of these women or meet them at competitions and know them and/or respect them to some extent. But they don't typically make friends within these figure skating communities. You can hardly call them communities for that very reason. And these same girls just have a ton of abuse heaped on them by their parents, often. And the parents of other girls obviously don't like them. Pretty well the only person that a skater can even hope to trust and be remotely close with is her coach. And let's be honest, how many football movies have you seen where the coaches were all just really nice and never yelled at their players? I imagine the same goes for skaters a lot of the time.

11 Don't Fight Figure Skaters... They're Jacked!

They may not want to admit to this or go out of their way to brag this, but it doesn't matter how small a figure skater is... she's jacked. Hands down. No matter what. If a girl is a genuine figure skater, she could probably take you down in two seconds. They train on the ice and off the ice every single day for hours each day. They are physically in their prime. Sure, their careers are pretty damn short, but while they're training I am willing to bet that they could kick your ass (especially if you're just sitting in your parents' basement trying to ogle hot pics of figure skaters). I bet Nancy Kerrigan could have taken on the guy who bashed her knee in if she saw him coming in the first place. That's just my assumption, but I dare you to pick a fight with a figure skater and then you can tell me what you think after you get handed.

10 Tonya Harding Hired Someone To Injure Her Competition

Alright, everyone already knows about this one. I figured this is just something we should get out of the way. While competing, Tonya Harding fell a bunch of times in a performance and she ultimately lost her shit over it and though she was even given another chance at it...well she still went crazy. She denies that she had a hand in the planning, but she knew that her ex-husband and some of his buddies planned to injure Nancy Kerrigan to get Harding on the American team. Well, she was found out, and while she still denies any wrongdoing, she was banned from the American skating association. And what probably makes things worse for her is that she had to watch Kerrigan ultimately win a silver medal at the following Olympics.

9 Nicole Bobek Was Caught Up In Illegal Substances

Drugs are a huge issue when it comes to figure skating. Apparently, especially in the Disney on Ice community (which is just a whole other article in and of itself). When your parents and your coach and all the people you compete with and against are stressing you the f*ck out...where can you turn? Chances are most of the girls don't have great relationships outside of that world...so drugs are a very easy way to deal with everything. They have to pay so much for the careers already, they may as well budget in a drug habit. In the case of Nicole Bobek though, I guess once she got off the ice, she decided to try and turn that habit into a money-making deal. She was caught involved with a meth ring that sold over $10,000 each week in meth. She didn't do jail time, but she was definitely caught.

8 Some Skaters Get Surgery To Stay Tiny For Competitions

This is probably one of the most depressing things I've ever heard. I always knew that figure skating was a hard job and the life of a figure skater was even harder than their work, but this is just... wow. This comes from Annika Danielson (a sad story of a figure skater herself) "I remember when I was down skating in Rockford with Gene, one of the girls, who was about a year older than me, had a really, really big chest. She had Ds, and at that age, her mom took her and got them completely removed because it’s such a problem." That is completely messed up! I can't even imagine being that poor girl. The skater that Danielson is talking about here never ended up in the Olympics...which means that her mother had the poor girl's breasts removed for nothing.

7 Start Young Or You Won't Make It...

If you don't start figure skating by the time you're eight years old...you're pretty well screwed. And even then, eight is actually apparently pushing it a little. That's crazy. That basically means that girls have to get started in skating before they are even able to really make the decision that they want to skate. I don't understand why a parent would ever want to put their child through something like that, but there are crazy people everywhere. Either way, the only way you can really make it as a superstar in figure skating is by being practically tortured as a child. That's pretty well the only way I can put that. The amount of pain that figure skaters put their bodies through is just not worth it...I don't think anyway. But I guess a piece of metal around the neck means more than a functioning body in the future.

6 Many Just Can't Get Work After Skating

This is probably one of the biggest problems in the figure skating world...aside from drugs, booze, abuse, broken bones, and lack of education. Once skaters finish their pretty short careers...what the hell do they do? If they don't get into coaching or teaching...what can they do? What are they qualified to do? Many of them have dropped out of school so they don't have the basic education required for even some of the simplest jobs. They need that piece of paper to get hired. They might be lucky enough to get in with Disney on Ice, but then they may just end up hating their lives more and drinking or taking drugs even more. It's not just a hard life for them when they're training and competing. It's pretty hard when they get out. But they don't want to think about that, and they don't want you reminding them.

5 Dorothy Hamill's Depression And Bankruptcy

Dorothy Hamill is an Olympic gold medalist in figure skating. But that didn't make everything in her life easy or enjoyable. In her own words..."I would describe it as I'd be sitting there having a conversation. Everything would be fine and then I would just be in tears. Uncontrollable tears, and you know, wanted to sort of - suicidal times. I was in my car and I just kinda wanted to drive into a wall, a cement wall, and be done with it." That's what happens when depression takes hold of you. To be fair, you don't have to be a figure skater to be depressed, but the stresses of her life didn't help anything. Her Ice-Capades project went bankrupt, she lost nearly everything, and all she had was a bit of gold on a ribbon to show she had done anything. I bet that is not a great feeling.

4 Figure Skating Drains You

Figure skating is all-consuming. It basically runs your life. Of course, figure skaters who are really trying to make it in the industry definitely don't want you to know that they're suffering. They want you to think they are the fittest, best conditioned, most beautiful, and most elegant figure skaters in the world. The truth is that they are hurt every day, the push through their pain, they are depressed and/or wrecked on drugs and they really just need to win to justify all the pain they deal with. I can definitely see why a figure skater might not want you to know something like that. After all, they need to believe that what they're doing is ultimately for some great achievement of their own. And it could lead to that...but most figure skaters don't make it to nationals, let alone the Olympics.

3 Many Skaters Develop Drinking Problems

"When I was going into my senior year of high school, my parents actually put me in an alcohol rehabilitation program. I showed up to school drunk and had some problems with that. I live in the party world now. It’s fun—it prevents you from having to figure out what you have to do for the rest of your life." That's a little piece from an interview of Annika Danielson who was once a figure skater. So, booze wasn't just a part of the process while training...she now basically spends all of her time partying just to forget about the fact that she couldn't take skating to the level she wanted. And she's not the only one to turn to booze while competing or sticking with booze after retirement. Danielson even found a former idol of hers who was a gold medalist while she was partying. Apparently, she ended up the exact same way (just with a greater accomplishment).

2 Many Skaters Have Moms Who Overdo It... Just Like 'Dance Moms'

Have any of you ever had "dance moms"? You'd know right away what I mean if you had. Well, for those of you who aren't familiar with what that is, let me enlighten you. A "dance mom" is basically that mom who always pushes her daughter to be the best at any cost. That could mean anything from getting implants or reductions to hiring someone to beat up the competition. Their daughter has to be the best or else. And they heap so much abuse on their own kids to get something out of them. I think that "skate moms" are the same thing and I think the reason they're like this is that they want their daughters to have what they never could. Unfortunately, a lot of mothers lose out on some pretty important time with their girls because of how intensely they drive their kids.

1 Some Skaters Have Weight Issues Even After They Retire

Some of you may know who Michelle Kwan is. She's a very well-known and accomplished figure skater. Now, as it happens, she put on her weight after she was done skating professionally. And that's not unusual for many skaters. When they stop training so hard their bodies decide to say "screw it" and go about storing all of the nutrients they can. Not to mention that the physical training these lovely ladies do is just incredibly intense. So it makes sense that a lot of skaters put on weight once they end their careers. However, some people actually put on weight because of depression. They sustain an injury and are out too long to save a season of training or they find out that they never can skate again...and then they turn to laziness, drink, and comfort food. Considering how damn fit they are in the heights of their careers, I can't imagine any figure skater wanting you to know that they are bound to lose that amazing skating figure.

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