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The Connection Between Ice Skating and Flowers


From tulips to chrysanthemums, our sequence “The Language of Flowers” explores the whole lot from contemporary flower care tricks to flower symbolism and which means. On this story, be taught in regards to the longtime affiliation between ice skating and flowers.

Nobody is aware of for sure how the custom of gifting flowers to determine skaters began, however a great guess is that it’s rooted on this planet of ballet.

In 19th century Europe, widespread – however usually poorly paid – dancers acquired furs, cash, and jewellery from rich patrons, whereas on a regular basis balletomanes threw blooms at dancers’ toes. Beginning within the Nineteen Thirties, prima ballerinas acquired elaborate bouquets once they stepped out from backstage to take their bows, a convention that continues in the present day. In recent times, it’s sometimes prolonged to male dancers as properly.

Ballet influences a lot of determine skating, from power and conditioning coaching to posture to strikes like spirals, pirouettes, and even jumps. So, it’s not stunning that by the Nineteen Fifties, crossover followers have been showering the ice with blooms after their favourite skaters competed.

Photo of ice skater with flowers

The golden age of ice skating and flowers

Skating’s reference to flowers reached its top within the Seventies by the primary half of the Nineteen Nineties. Followers of that period have indelible recollections of swish champions, gliding elegantly to their music earlier than quadruple and triple axel jumps dominated the day. Typically, flowers are entwined inside these iconic pictures.

There’s Dorothy Hamill, America’s girl-next-door, gathering up daffodils and carnations after her golden efficiency in 1976, clutching the blossoms shut as she squinted to view her marks. Or skating’s siren, Katarina Witt, accepting a gold medal after her attractive routine to Bizet’s Carmen, holding a dozen crimson roses that completely matched her costume.

Girls weren’t the one recipients. In 1984, Nice Britain’s nice ice dancers, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean left the ice after their unforgettable Bolero free dance with half of their torsos obscured by freesias and carnations. (Satirically, one other one in all their applications that 12 months was set to Jerry Herman’s “I Received’t Ship Roses.”) “Scott Hamilton, who reigned supreme from 1981-1984, usually discovered himself maneuvering round flowers on the ice whereas waving to followers.”

The flower custom continues

Photo of a bouquet of flowers thrown to ice skaters

The connection between flowers and skating stays robust. Skaters obtain floral items from officers – bouquets, and sometimes necklaces or crowns – once they step as much as the rostrum to obtain their medals. Skaters on the current U.S. Determine Skating Championships in Nashville, Tennessee, have been awarded bouquets of white tulips and crimson roses together with their medals.

“Clearly, you possibly can’t all the time convey the flowers dwelling, particularly if in case you have an extended worldwide flight. So typically I convey them all the way down to folks working the entrance desk of the lodge,” newly topped U.S. champion Mariah Bell stated. “However I all the time hold the ribbon, and I’ve a group of ribbons from the entire bouquets. I additionally take photos of the bouquets, to maintain as recollections.”

Skaters nonetheless usually obtain floral items from followers. When Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier carried out a free dance tribute to Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, they collected sunflowers wherever they competed.”

Officers awarded U.S. ice dancers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker with flower crowns once they gained a world competitors in Japan in 2018.

“I bear in mind standing on the rostrum and seeing myself on the jumbotron, and by no means earlier than had I imagined I might ever put on a flower crown,” Baker stated.

“Flowers definitely have a particular connotation of gratitude and appreciation, and I’m all the time so grateful to get them,” Hawayek stated.

Flowers say ‘I really like you’

Skaters on the grass-roots stage usually obtain floral items, as properly. A current journey to a membership present in Hackensack, New Jersey, discovered mother and father and grandparents congratulating their younger skaters with items, and a smattering of bouquets stood out among the many brightly wrapped packing containers and stuffed animals.

Holly and Martin Valero, from close by River Edge, offered granddaughter Emma with crimson roses.

“She used to do dance, after which she converted to skating,” Holly stated. “It’s simply one thing small, a memento for in the present day. She’s 13, so she is a little bit previous (for) a luxurious toy or something like that. She’s form of over that.”

“I assumed flowers can be extra applicable,” Martin added. “I simply thought it will be good for her to know we love her.”


Olympics ad with sunflower bouquet and text "For Your First-Place Partner."

Lynn Rutherford is a contract author primarily based in New York Metropolis, with an emphasis on sports activities. She has been a contributor to Staff USA, U.S. Determine Skating, NBC Sports activities, USA Gymnastics, and different organizations.

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