Home Athletes Some Skating Mothers Are Like the Mother In “I, Tonya”

Some Skating Mothers Are Like the Mother In “I, Tonya”

Some Skating Mothers Are Like the Mother In “I, Tonya”

Actress Allison Janney won an Oscar on March 4, 2018 for her role as best supporting actress for the amazing job she did at portraying Tonya Harding’s mother in the movie “I, Tonya.”  Janney shows a skating mom who would do about anything to make her daughter a champion.

Although not all the parents in figure skating are anything like Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona (Harding) Golden, some of the mothers (and fathers) of the figure skaters I’ve met in my 50 plus years of skating, are almost exactly like her!  (Well…maybe they don’t all sit at the rink’s rail smoking and swearing, but they can be can be similar…)

I’ve seen that type of “skating mother” in action many, many times.  That type of skating parent is always at the rink watching every minute of his or her child’s practice and lessons.  If the child takes even a slight break or if a coach begins a lesson a minute late, the parents can “fly off the handle.”  The parent may yell across the rink if he or she doesn’t like what he or she sees.  And…sometimes, it is common to see that parent’s child in tears.

This type of skating parent is always in the rink’s lobby trying to find out details of what may be going on with other skaters.  That parent expects a coach to give his or her child the most attention.  If the coach does not comply, that parent make take their “talented child” elsewhere.

Some “skating mothers” are friendly to the other parents who may be sitting in a rink’s stands, but that friendliness is usually just to find out details of what another skater is doing or to learn the latest gossip.  This type of parent also spreads gossip and may even be the source of vicious rumors about other skaters.  This type of parent doesn’t care what others think of him or her; they just do what they need to do to make sure his or her child wins and this type of parent may keep pushing harder and harder.

Like Tonya Harding, children of these type of aggressive skating parents, can be affected in adverse ways.  The child might think he or she deserves to be treated better than other skaters, but at the same time, the child may work extra hard to gain the parent’s approval.  In time, the joy of ice skating may disappear from the child’s life, but since a child of this type of parent raised a child that knows nothing else, the skater will just keep working hard at the sport.

Without the financial support and guidance of at least one parent, there is no way any figure skater could succeed; however,  every once in awhile, all parents of figure skaters should evaluate their behavior and actions.

Happy Skating!

JO ANN Schneider Farris

Further Reading:


Jo Ann Schneider-Farris Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in figure skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author. Jo Ann was the Figure Skating Expert for About.com for 10 years. Jo Ann began skating as a young child. She won a silver medal in the junior dance event at the United States National Figure Skating Championships and is a US Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist. She coached figure skating and has trained skaters of all ages and levels. In addition, Jo Ann taught hockey players to skate and gave instruction in power skating. She is the author of two skating books: How to Jump and Spin on In-Line Skates, the only book of its kind on inline figure skating, and a personal memoir, My Skating Life: Fifty Plus Years of Skating. Jo Ann also has contributed articles that have been included on the US Figure Skating website and the icenetwork.com website, in SKATING Magazine, Ice Skating Institute's magazine, the Professional Skaters Association magazine, and she also wrote about ice skating for Examiner.com. She is a member of the Professional Skaters Association, The Broadmoor Skating Club, and U.S. Figure Skating. Jo Ann is a graduate of the famous Hollywood Professional School, a school that once was in southern California where many serious figure skaters attended, including Peggy Fleming. She is also a graduate of Colorado College and holds a teaching credential from California State University Long Beach. As a figure skating competitor, she trained under World Ice Dance Champion and Olympic Coach Doreen Denny and also Darlene Gilbert, who has trained international and national teams. From JO ANN Schneider Farris: Hi and Happy Skating! Yes, Happy Skating is my motto. I hope to share my love of the sport and my knowledge of it with you and my goal is to link skaters from all over the world on this site. Happy Skating! Please join me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Google+ and Pinterest. Email me at joannfarris@yahoo.com


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