I’ve always liked Evan Lysacek’s figure skating. I like his style so much better than that of Evgeni Plushenko and one thing that bothers me about the new system of scoring is that it tends to reward skaters who just do jump after jump, but have no real style. Of course, my other big problem with scoring is that a skater can fall (sometimes even more than once) and still rank higher than someone who didn’t fall (Patrick Chan coming in 5th and Johnny Weir ending up in 6th is a good example of this in the most recent men’s figure skating).
When Evan Lysacek won gold in Vancouver, he kept the streak alive for the American skaters. Every men’s skater from the US to go into the Olympics as the world champion has defended his title by winning gold. The last skater (from any country) to defend his world champion title at the Olympics was Scott Hamilton in 1984.
Lysacek’s win with the new scoring system surprised me for a couple reasons. Though Lysacek clearly deserved to win from my perspective, I was concerned when Plushenko skated that he’d be rewarded for more difficult jumps or something. I don’t understand the technical aspect of ice skating as much as I do hockey, gymnastics, and some other Olympic sports. I just know what I think looks good and can’t really imagine how a program where someone falls can be better than one where someone doesn’t if they’re in the same general category. I’ll never be able to understand that aspect of the new judging, I’m sure. Figure skating frustrates me now, since the judging makes no sense a lot of the time.
When Lysacek’s scores are compared to Plushenko’s, Lysacek beat Plushenko in the technical score. That really made me happy; as I’m sure it did many who prefer his routines to Plushenko’s. What surprised me is that Plushenko and Lysacek tied in the artistic score for their routines. I don’t think the judges could have possibly seen the same two routines I did. Sure, Lysacek skated quite a bit earlier than Plushenko, but how could they think Plushenko’s routine was as artistically pleasing?
It’s sad that the current figure skating system is such that I’m shocked when they get it “right” from my perspective and the person I think deserves gold wins. I agreed with the winners of the medals almost all the time with the old system.
As much as I’ve always liked Evan Lysacek on the ice and in interviews, the way he handled Bob Costas throwing Plushenko’s comments at him on national TV again and again gives me even more respect for the young man. Lysacek should have been on NBC celebrating his gold medal win, not responding to a bunch of childish remarks by Plushenko. The fact that NBC spent so much time with Lysacek discussing Plushenko’s remarks is embarrassing. I’d say it was a bad sign from NBC, but since their coverage has been so horrible it’s not really surprising at all. Lysacek handled himself with impressive grace and poise, praising Plushenko’s skating and even defending some of Plushenko’s comments. Evan Lysacek exceeded my expectations in that area and always seemed to have the perfect response as Bob Costas went on and on about something that was so childish it should not have been given prime time coverage.
As usual, NBC falls short of my expectations and Evan Lysacek proved that he’s not only a world class athlete. He’s also a very classy guy.