How important is this damn jump? The quad is of course what I'm talking about.
You'd think it was the most important thing in Men's figure skating considering the dust up it has caused between Joubert and his closest rivals for two consecutive World Figure Skating Championships. If you remember, Joubert had a bit of a temper-tantrum post event last season in Goteborg after being smacked by Canada's Jeffrey Buttle in the free skate, sans quad. Fast forward to L.A. last month and apparently Joubert wasn't over his defeat from last season when he brought the topic up again. This time, American Evan Lysacek and Canadian Patrick Chan worked him over, again with no quad.
For the record, at both events, Joubert hit gorgeous quads in his free skate.
Back to the question, is the quad ultimately so important. There has been so much chatter about in the blogosphere and other media outlets, but this season it has been kind of like, "Great if you got it, but really not necessary." The judges are as apt to greatly reward a fantastic footwork sequence as they are a nice quad.
Where I have seen the quad given its due is when it is combined with remarkable artistry...that's rare however. Think about the last time you saw a program with a quad that made you sit up and go "Whoa...that was amazing!" In recent memory I can only come up with two...Daisuke Takahashi's 2008 Four Continents Cup performance and Brian Joubert's 2006 Cup of Russia performance (the program was really helped by the fact that he hit 3 quads...only two other men have done that; Timothy Goebel and Takeshi Honda).
In the end, I guess the quad can be a great separator of equally matched talent. It can lend a great performance an extra nudge and make it the best performance of the night. However, if you are using the quad to overcome other shortcomings in your skating, it really doesn't get the job done and becomes almost obsolete...as a competitor like Joubert can no doubt tell you.