Friday, February 19, 2010

Poster Boy

Last night at Pacific Coliseum an American star was born.

The last time an American man managed to take the top spot of an Olympic Podium, the Olympics found themselves in Canada. Then, in 1988, it was Calgary and Brian Boitano won the "Battle of the Brian's" in a close match with Canadian favorite son Brian Orser.

Since then, Soviet or Russian skaters have dominated the Men's Olympic Figure Skating Podium. Viktor Petrenko in 1992, Alexei Urmanov in 1994, Ilia Kulik in 1998, Alexei Yagudin in 2002, and Evgeny Plushenko in 2006.

Now Plushenko was back for seconds in Vancouver and was the leader after the short program but two skaters were right on his heels; American Evan Lysaccek and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi.

In the free skate, Plushenko and Takahashi were good, but on this night Lysacek was great. With that great free skate, he won the men's title with Plushenko only grabbing the Silver and Takahashi the Bronze.

Everywhere I turned this morning I saw pictures of Evan Lysacek. Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White have been the American face of these Olympics...well...move over, Evan Lysacek has arrived!
You can read this and all my other blog posts at the One Winter Five Dreams Gold Blogger Site!


Tonichelle said...

he is so well trained on the ice and off - as in PR trained. Holy Cow it's almost verbatim what the USFSA would want their Olympic Champion to say

If he plays his cards right he'll rank right up there with Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano. As well he should.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you on Plushenko and Takahashi were good. They were just ok. Had they been good, Evan would not have won. Last night's men's lp was a total blow out. Very disappointing. I find Evan's skate mechanical. There was lack of free spirit. It was like he was on an auto pilot. He was clearly nervous. Everything was deliver and nothing more. I didn't see the joy in his skating like when I watched Sarah Hughes' or even Tara Lipinski's gold performance. You feel the girls' total abandonment. You can tell they just had the skate of their lives. You were cheering along them and jumping up and down. With Evan, you were nervous for him because he was so stiff and hoping he doesn't fall. And at the end, you were relieved that he didn't make any major mistake. I seen him done this program better this season. Both Sarah and Tara had the skate of their lives at the Olympics. I would not say so of Evan's. He won because everyone pretty much sucked. Even with Plushenko's quad triple, he was off on most of his jumps even though he landed them. They looked bad. I didn't expect Takahashi to have a clean skate. He hasn't had one the whole season and there is no expectation that he would had one at the Olympics. I find it particularly bothersome that in the past three Olympics, all the gold medal champions had at least one quad in the program. You would think that by now, people would be doing quad quads. Instead, we went back to triple triple. Sean white told one of the NBC commentator that had he snowboarded his less technical programs four years ago now, he will probably in the final group but definitely not win gold. He up the game by throwing in even more difficult tricks this time. It's call progressing. In sports, you break records by going faster or do more technically harder tricks. And now you wonder why many people don't consider figure skating a sport! Very sad day indeed in figure skating in my opinion. Evan deserved his gold but at the same time, he brought down men's figure skating.

BTW, I understand there is a lot more to figure skating than just jumps. But jumps is the easiest and least bias barometer of measuring of this sport called figure skating thus in a way, it becomes the de facto measuring standard. To have an Olympic champion who brought this measuring standard down a notch is a travesty. And yes, I would say the same about Shizuka Arakawa's performance four years ago.

Anonymous said...

Evan skates with so much emotion and desire, you can see it all over his face, and in ever movement on the ice. I wa truely impressed with him on the ice, but what really blew me away was his attitude and stage presence. Pleshenko knocked me down with his attitude toward the judging results when he used the "scoring system" comparison to make excuses for himself. Pleshenko had a couple interviews that did not go well and Evan responded so well by complimenting him and speaking positively about Pleshenko. That is a true champion. If Pleshenko had won gold, there would be absolutely no question about the judging and scoring system because Evan would have accepted his placing gracefully and happily.

Pleshenko also stated that "without a quad, figure skating is not moving forward." I agree that a quad is an advancement in pushing the boundaries in figure skating but I beleive that a solid, clean run is better than a routine filled with sloppily exected tricks.

Anonymous said...

I do think Plushenko's comments afterward was unacceptable and diminished in my eye of his great accomplishments. He desperately needs a PR person. Evan, on the other hand, spoke with grace. But I do wonder how much of it was coached. He never answered Bob's question about figure skating regressing. Just skirting around the question which makes me think that he was told of the questions before hand and how to answer them appropriately. If those questions were thrown at him without his PR or usfsa telling him what to say, then I say him and Michelle truly are great representatives of this sports. But I guess we'll never know if his answers were prepped or not.

Keira said...

Congratulations to Evan and team USA! I think Evan skated well (he and Frank thought so too) so whether he got the gold or silver or bronze, he should be happy.

Plushenko's elements (particularly jumps) were technically more difficult , but he didn't skate his best (no falls, but wobbly here and there) and the short program scores were so close, so he couldn't have been 100% confident that he would get the gold. He should be content with silver nonetheless.

Takahashi deserves the bronze, although he fell, he skated a good program.

In fact, I was hoping for some sort of tie between Evan and Plushenko. Because Plushenko does quads and his program is technically more difficult, but he didn't skate too well. Whereas Evan skated very well but his program wasn't as difficult technically.

I just hope that after this Olympics, the men continue to attempt quads and not just very clean triple programs. Perhaps women may start attempting quads soon!

Through random searching on Facebook, I found an unofficial fan page for Christina Gao, which currently has 0 fans o.O

Keira said...

Following up about the tie, Plushenko's jumps were decent and he landed all of them, but not perfectly.

Vlad said...

Evan was really the best!Great victory!Also it was a historical event!

Anonymous said...

Evan deserved to win after everyone skated either bad or so so lp. It was historical because men's jump has regressed from quads (kulik, Yaguden, Plushenko) to triples instead of quad quads.