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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Plushenko and Lysacek start a 'cold war' of their own

He didn’t have a lead pipe but his words had bad intentions and now we’ve got the best rivalry since 1994 when a couple of ladies, a thug, and a lead pipe were the story of the games. Now we have the defending Olympic Champion, Evgeni “King of the Quad” Plushenko and Evan Lysacek who seemed to come from nowhere. Like a great title fight, it had it’s ebbs and flows. Round 1: Plushenko wins the short program by .55 over Lysacek and heads into the Free Skate looking untouchable because only one other person can pull off a ‘quad’ and he’s in 5th place. Round 2: Lysacek skates the “routine of his life” and takes the lead, without any quads but with flawless execution. Plushenko does pull off the quad but stumbles just a bit and ends up losing the lead and the gold by a pretty wide margin (1.31) so not only did Lysacek come from behind but covered the teaser bet as well. Now let the fireworks begin. Well, it really hasn’t been an exchange, as all of the whining has come from the Russian camp, including the Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin. Firstly, EP accidentally on purpose steps on the Gold Medal stand when stepping up to accept the Silver. Then fires shots in both the US and Russian press conferences: “You can't be considered a true men's champion without a quad," and "For someone to stand on top of the podium with the gold medal around his neck by just doing triple jumps, to me it's not progress, it's a regress because we've done triples 10 or even 20 years ago," and lastly, "Just doing nice transitions and being artistic is not enough because figure skating is a sport, not a show,". Then VP chimed in from Sara Palin’s back yard, "You were able to overcome all the obstacles in your brave comeback and performed the most accomplished program on the Vancouver ice." Meanwhile, Lysacek has just been doing victory laps on TV and radio, and not having one cross word to say about EP or his comments, showing the class of a champion. Ok, everyone understands the heat of the battle, and that anytime you have an arbitrary system of scoring there’s going to be a margin of discrepancy the size of the Grand Canyon, but this guy simply thought all he had to do was get out there and do one trick then call it a night. Don’t get me wrong, the only skating I normally watch also involves an occasional fist fight, and that’s why it makes perfect sense to even a novice like myself. If the program is over 4 minutes long and the that jump takes about 10 seconds of it there must me more to winning than just jumping and landing. In fact even if you pull off the quad, you only pick up .5 more points in the maximum scenario so obviously your own rules EP leave a pretty big window that you’d better bring some other stuff to the table if you want to walk out with some industrial metal. Just because you knock the guy down in one round doesn’t mean you don’t have to fight the other 11, and Plushenko lost the split decision and the ripples are being felt from here to the Kremlin. The good news is we’re just getting started as both have committed to skating again in 2014 but next time Plushenko will have home Ice advantage and based on Putin’s words(if he’s still around) it will be a big one. Do you remember Rocky IV?

1 comment:

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