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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Russian figure skating chiefs were planning their own Crime Scene Investigation on Thursday night, as accusations of sporting robbery followed Evan Lysacek's dramatic victory in the men's long program at Pacific Coliseum.
The American star's triumph sparked a furious reaction from Alexei Mishin, the coach of silver medalist Evgeni Plushenko, with Mishin claiming his athlete had been unfairly "robbed" of a second consecutive gold.
"This is nonsense," Mishin told Yahoo! Sports. "It is wrong. It is criminal. How can it be like this? They are killing figure skating and taking it back 20 years. They have robbed him of his destiny.
"There is nothing we can do but we want to know what happened because this is not right. We will investigate. Someone needs to explain to me how this is possible. I cannot believe it."
Mishin was disgusted that Lysacek was awarded an overall score of 257.67, enough to overcome his 0.55 deficit from the short program and push him ahead of Plushenko, the sport's shining star.
Mishin's ire centered around the quadruple jump, the most difficult maneuver in the sport. Lysacek opted not to include one in his program but was awarded higher marks for his clean execution of simpler elements. Plushenko nailed his quad, but it wasn't enough.
Plushenko felt he had performed strongly enough to clinch gold with his routine and even jokingly motioned to step on to the top level of the podium during the medal ceremony.
"I was certain I had won," he said.
Plushenko had previously claimed the quad and its variations are the future of figure skating. Mishin focused his accusations of thievery on the judging panel.
"Any judge who thinks this is the right champion is a Cyclops," Mishin said. "Without the quad, there is no difference between the men's competition and the women's. Why not let them skate together? Why not have it as a unisex competition in the Olympics?"
The Olympic competition has only served to put the controversial current judging system under further scrutiny. The complicated marking format, which replaced the old and popular 6.0-is-a-perfect-score method, has alienated some fans and made figure skating a nightmare to understand for the uninitiated.
However, Lysacek's coach Frank Carroll was adamant that the right man had won.
"I looked at the performance of Evgeni and Evan, and I saw strengths and weaknesses in both," Carroll said. "It was up to the panel to sift through it and see who came up with the most points.
"There were things about Evgeni's routine that were weaknesses. It was up for grabs and we didn't know how they were going to go through it."
- Alexei Mishin