It turns out that Evgeni Plushenko is as gracious after the men's figure skating competition as he was before it. Despite the fact that it was Evan Lysacek who had the gold medal around his neck during Thursday night's, Plushenko says Lysacek is not the champion because Lysacek didn't attempt a quad jump.
“Just doing nice transitions and being artistic is not enough because figure skating is a sport, not a show,” he said.
It's true that Plushenko completed a quadruple jump, but Plushenko probably should have looked at the score sheets before commenting.
If he did, he'd see that he earned the exact same score as Lysacek in program components, the score that measures artistry. Both skaters scored 82.80. It was the technical component score that won it for Lysacek.
You know, the score that measures things like jumps.
What won the gold for Lysacek was execution and strategic choreography. He executed his jumps near flawlessly, earning high grades for execution. Lysacek was also smart enough to backload his routine, putting several difficult jumps in the second half of the skate, when a 10 percent bonus is added to every element. Lysacek is able to jump so well at the end of the routine because he is one of the best-conditioned skaters in the Olympics.
Plushenko, on the other hand, did not execute his jumps as well as Lysacek, and he put his jumps very early in his skate. Even with his quadruple toe loop, Plushenko's difficulty was not enough. The judges look at the entire four minutes, not just one jump.
Plushenko likes to point out that skating is a sport, but he's forgetting that strategy is as much a part of sport as athleticism. Without a good strategy, it's difficult to win in any sport, figure skating included.
It's reasonable for Plushenko to look for someone to blame after a loss, but he has no one to blame but himself.