Outspoken and flamboyant Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko won gold in Turin in 2006 and has since gone in and out of retirement before returning to Vancouver in an attempt to be the first man to win back-to-back gold medals in figure skating since Dick Button did it in 1948 and 1952.
But, his raw athleticism and showmanship wasn’t enough to beat out American Evan Lysacek, who skated flawlessly, and by most critical accounts, more “artistically.” Plushenko was upset by the results and refused to participate in the traditional victory lap, removing his second-place silver medal from his neck immediately following the awards ceremony.
According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti:
Plushenko called Lysacek’s performance “a dance” rather than “men’s skating.” He also said it “raises questions when a person performs a quadruple jump, which is contested by a triple, and [both contenders] gain the same points.”
Sarah Morris from the L.A. Times blog had a different take:
Plushenko came into the Olympic competition over confident. No other skater can jump like Plushenko. Though Thursday night he had many awkward take-off jumps, he always landed on one foot. He wasn’t graceful. His footwork was dull, and his spins seemed slow and not inspired. Except for his exceptional jump ability, Plushenko’s performance wasn’t memorable. He will go into figure skating history as the greatest jumper. This wasn’t what he wanted. Plushenko needed to prepare better for the Winter Olympics to repeat as a gold medalist.
Sounds like sour grapes to me! I think Plushenko needs to let this disappointment go and focus on regaining the perfection he demonstrated at the 2001 World Championships during his Exhibition performance set to the song “Sex Bomb” by Tom Jones:
WOW! That must have set figure skating back 2 million years as far as heterosexual male fans are concerned! It looked like a blond version of “Jersey Shore on Ice!” I kept expecting another magician to come out with two white tigers. Yeah, he definitely should have brought that routine out of retirement for the Olympics with just a few tweaks. Although the Vegas camp charm of Tom Jones cannot be denied, Evgeni could have stuck with the “out of retirement” theme by rounding up the Weather Girls and had them revamp their classic gay anthem as “It’s Snowing Men.” (The song was co-written by Canadian Paul Shaffer – nice tribute to the hosts of the 2010 Winter Olympics!) So many missed opportunities…
Top photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Bottom photo: Brian Bahr/ALLSPORT
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