Based on the criticism of Canadian figure skater Katelyn Osmond’s performance at Skate Canada, it would have been easy to believe she had just become the Miley Cyrus of the sport. The 17 year-old performed to music from the Cy Coleman musical Sweet Charity (about the romantic ups and downs of a prostitute).
Despite the fact that she successfully landed four jumps, the choice of her music became a lightning rod for controversy. Wearing a black dress and white gloves, the criticism was that she was acting too sexy for her age. To add insult to injury, a reporter asked her if she thought the act was appropriate.
In a world that has been much more desensitized to sex appeal in society, it would appear that there is still a prudish approach in certain areas. If teenage girls can be models, what is the concern over Osmond? She has never been involved in any type of scandal during her career, therefore, the attention garnered over her program is unfair. Her coach, Ravi Walia was equally taken aback by the criticism.
Declaring herself as a mature skater, today’s youth are a lot more street smart and wiser than the previous generation. If she was in a bikini or exposing her midriff, there may have been cause for concern.
As Canada’s hopes for a figure skating medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games (she finished in sixth place at the 2013 World Championships), this unfair criticism has the potential to derail her momentum.
No one ever criticized Katarina Witt for being too sexy. A few weeks ago, Joanie Rochette appeared in a state of undress for Clin d’Oeil, a fashion magazine from Quebec. There was certainly no widespread criticism regarding the photo spread whatsoever.
Rather than criticize, the media (especially in Canada) should be working towards applauding her comeback from injury and the potential of competing for a medal at Sochi. After a stress-reaction injury from a summer training session, her problem was not correctly addresses until September. Rather than celebrate the fact that she is able to bounce back and perform, criticism which can hinder her confidence seems to be the treatment of choice.