You’ve Been Warned – The Dangers of Flash Photography in Figure Skating

Let me tell you a story.

In 1990, at a skating club competition, a figure skater – who was bound to win the gold medal – threw herself into an Axel. At close range, someone flashed her in the face with a camera.

The skater lost consciousness in mid-air and tumbled to the ice.

The other skaters watched in horror from the sidelines. The audience was silent. They probably thought, “She’ll get up. She always does. Right?”

camera flash ss No. She didn’t even move, and then our coach ran to her.

And I was numb when my sister was assisted off the ice. I cried when she withdrew from the competition. And ready to scream at the people who shot that camera. But someone beat me to it.

A flash is a flash. Your 2016 flash isn’t kinder, softer, gentler, etc., than a flash from 1990. It’s like saying your cat doesn’t shed. It’s a cat. It sheds.

It’s a flash. It blinds people.

And it has no place in a well-lit arena during a skating competition.

But we see people flashing skaters at all levels, whether intentional or not. From regionals to the Olympics, the crowd glitters like a strobe light.
NoCameraSign - ss
I understand. You want the best photo possible. Competitions and ice shows are special, and you want to document them. But not with a flash camera.

Especially if skaters are in close range.

If that “golden” moment happens – turn the flash off. No exceptions. Parents. Relatives. Friends. Media. If a skater is preparing to perform, or about to step on the ice – no flashes. You try skating while seeing spots.

Skaters are spinning at high speeds. Entering jumps with extreme concentration. The last thing they need is for someone to “capture the moment” flash-style and throw them off in the air. Or travel in a spin.

ipod flash - ssWorse is Smartphone video with an enabled flash. Disable the flash. You’re at a skating competition. Save the iPhone light ode for a Taylor Swift concert.

When I announced the 2015 Interlake Regionals, not two minutes after I repeated the flash photography warning – someone whipped out their iPhone. A light saber beamed onto the ice during a warm up. I quickly snapped on the mic and reminded the audience about the flash ban as I stared this person down.

They quickly slipped the phone in their pocket.

Please keep the skaters’ safety in mind. Please remember to turn off your flash.

And remember that 15-year-old girl who passed out because someone used a flash camera.

Because her sister will never forget that moment


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