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sportinjury - English 112 Some of the best athletes in...

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English 112 4/7/09 Some of the best athletes in figure skating and gymnastics are young teenagers, but even though they are the best in their own countries, these athletes sometimes are unable to compete internationally. Age limits are set in various sports for many different reasons, but if someone is the best in the nation, and under 16, they are unable to compete at huge events such as the Olympics, or the world championships. Coaches, fans, and skaters wonder why are these age limits set? What are the reasons that made these rules? If someone is able to do a certain skill, then why should age matter? Officials launched back with various valid reasons, for the age restrictions making the rules in figure skating and gymnastics remain intact. Still, countries manipulate and change the ages of their young athletes in order for them to compete, exploiting these athletes who have an unfair advantage. Years ago, figure skating and gymnastics did not have age limits. In figure skating, skaters focused mainly on school figures or compulsory figures. Back in these days usually ladies and men who have been skating longer would prevail in these competitions, and younger skaters did not do as well for they did not have as much practice. When the Olympics began televising figure skating, school figures started to decline in popularity. Fans of skating had no interest in watching the judges scrutinize skater’s edges. Usually older more experienced skaters would win the figure portion of the competition, while younger skaters would do better in the free skating part of the competition. For example, many believed Dorothy Hamill was better in freestyle than figures. Fans would rather watch the more exciting free skate, where skaters jump and spin. A shift started to occur putting more emphasis on the free skate. “ Compulsory
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figures used to be worth 60% of the score in figure skating, but after 1968 they were progressively devalued and finally eliminated completely from international competition after the 1990 season” (Frogs On Ice Pg 1). Today skaters rarely work on figures, and a Moves in the Field program began in order for skaters to work on edges and footwork.
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