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?”
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.
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.
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