Why don’t black and brown kids ice skate?
While many racially homogeneous sports, such as gymnastics, tennis, and golf, are seeing an increase in the diversity of black and brown athletes, the sport of figure skating has remained stagnant. In some areas, the sport has even taken steps backwards.
While figure skating in America is undergoing significant challenges in popularity and ratings, an even greater challenge is the issue of race. The sport could see an insurgence if its national governance made efforts to create a diverse pool of elite athletes.
Unfortunately, at the national level there hasn’t been any concerted effort to reach beyond the typical figure skater – historically wealthy and predominantly white. Often cancelled out of the sport by high costs, access to ice rinks and even music, clothing or body types that go against the norm, people of color rarely make it to the national figure skating stage. Those that do are rarely seen by the masses. With America’s demographic rapidly changing, figure skating in America needs to adapt and cultivate minority participation in order to survive.
In Joel’s new book, “Why Black and Brown Kids Don’t Ice Skate,” Joel outlines many of the issues plaguing the sport and provides strategies for infusing diversity and reinvigorating the sport overall.