Monday, February 22, 2010

Controversy Lite - Olympic Gold

Because it's Monday morning and we're all a little tired after the weekend, the topic is: Figure Skating!

Yevgeny Plushenko won the Silver medal in men's figure skating at this years Olympics and then said of Evan Lysacek, the gold medal winner, that he wasn't "a true champion" because he didn't include a quadruple jump in his routine. The quad is comprised of any jump where the skater rotates 4+ times before landing the jump. Understandably, Plushenko feels that expectations should grow as skill levels increase, otherwise the sport isn't progressing. Plushenko performed a routine that wasn't missing any elements, incorporated his best skills and didn't include any flaws that he felt would exclude him from winning the gold medal. Then further, Lysacek gave a performance that, while a great performance, was simply missing key elements Plushenko felt should have been included to warrant the gold. Plushenko made the statement that reducing the importance of the quad jumps inclusion made the sport comparable to ice-dancing.
When this situation developed, Shaun White had just discussed a similar topic regarding his own February 17 medal run in snowboarding. He pointed out that if he had done the same routine that earned him a gold medal in 2006, he probably wouldn't have even qualified for the finals this year. Your competitors get better and you have to rise to the occasion.
Many people feel the same way. Yahoo! sports writer Elvis Stojko says "Sorry, Evan Lysacek. You’re a great skater and all. But that wasn’t Olympic champion material."
So did Lysacek deserve the gold medal? Or was Plushenko's shock justified?


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