Kaitlin Hawayek: “Fan whispered in my ear ‘I have a secret to tell you my dear, you need to lose a lot of weight.’ As a spectator, a fan of the sport, a coach, a judge, or even a bystander that has no personal relation to the sport, it’s never your place to make a comment about athletes’ body period.”
Kaitlin Hawayek shared quite personal story of a fan who suggested her losing weight and spoke about the impact such words can have for an athlete, especially young one.
Kaitlin Hawayek: Hi everybody. I just wanted to make a quick video about something that is really close and important to me. But first, I want to say thank you to everybody that has just shown so much support this past weekend at Skate America both in the audience, everybody that was there cheering and supporting, we felt the energy, and those who were not there but sent us such nice kind messages afterwards. You know, we perform for ourselves first, but to hear from other people that we’ve touched them and made an impact on them through our skating is the ultimate compliment. So first, thank you guys.
I did wanna share a quick story. So when we finished our competition that we were on our warm-up practice for the exhibition gala that was happening the last night at Skate America and we were skating around and some people were asking for photos. So we stopped, somebody waved us for a photo and while we were taking that photo the person kinda pulled me close and whispered in my ear “I have a secret to tell you my dear, you need to lose a lot of weight.”
And while I really contemplated whether or not I wanted to talk about this because at the end of the day I don’t come to Instagram for reassurance and sympathy. I have my own team of support and I have experience that will last a lifetime in terms of being able to deal with comments like that. But the truth is that not all athletes do have that experience and support and I feel extremely extremely passionate about protecting the younger generations of skaters that are coming up. They don’t have experience or necessarily have the tools to create the right team around them that will provide them the support to be able to deal with comments like that.
And at the end of the day I wanted to share this because if we don’t share our experiences and talk about them then how can we ever expect the changes that we feel are necessary in the sport to happen?
As a spectator, a fan of the sport, a coach, a judge, or even just a bystander that has no personal relation to the sport it’s never your place to make a comment about an athletes’ body period. Every single athlete out there on the ice has things that they’re dealing with beneath the surface that you can’t see or know about. And speaking from experience, negative comments can lead to so many feelings of shame and feeling like you need to fix your body. And as a young athlete I didn’t have the knowledge that I do now to know how to deal with those comments in a healthy way and it led to many years of many different ends of spectrum of an eating disorder. And that’s something that although the eating disorder behaviors have left me, there’re still so many things that carry long with athletes post having an eating disorder.
And not only negative comments, but for those people who feel the need to make comments in a positive critiquing manner about someone’s body, you have no idea what that person is going through. For all you know a person could be having in a middle of an eating disorder and by positively reinforcing that your body looks good you’re reinforcing that the eating disorder is the right behaviour and that’s not ok eathier.
I’m so passionate about this as you can tell I’m shaking and at the end of the day it’s our responsibility as those who have been in a sport as long as I have to start the conversation and to those athletes that have gone through the same things, have had the similar comments made, I just want you guys to know that you’re not alone and you’re exactly enough, exactly as you are. And to those people who are part of our sport but aren’t necessarily the ones on the ice, I just ask you to please consider that the impact that you words can have and please just know at the end of the day that every athlete that’s out on the ice or in any other sport, every single day is doing the best that they can. Thank you.
FS Gossips totally support and so proud of Kaitlin Hawayek for speaking on this!
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