Before the Olympics began all the talk surrounding the men’s figure skating was about the quad. Consisting of four full rotations in the air, this mega jump was supposed to decide the winner. Pull it off and the gold is yours. Fail to land it and settle for second.
Well, last night’s result shows just how much the experts know. American Evan Lysacek stood atop the podium last night after turning in a nearly-perfect and quad-less routine. In second place? Defending gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko, the only skater to nail a quad.
When I caught up with Lysacek before the games, he admitted there was pressure to try the quad. But he wasn’t sure if he’d be ready to try it:
“The quad, for me, has always been about the risk vs. reward. If I’m hitting 50% in practice, I’m not going to try it in competition because it’s not worth the risk. But if I’m hitting 90% I will try it. I think at the Olympic games someone will skate clean with a quad in their program. I would love for it to be me.”
In the end Lysacek didn’t try the quad and he didn’t need to. Almost everyone is in agreement that from start to finish his program was stronger.
The one man who wasn’t so sure? Evgeni Plushenko. After the competition he was a pretty sore loser.
"I was positive that I won," he said. "If the Olympic champion doesn't know how to jump a quad, I don't know," he said. "Now it's not men's figure skating, now it's dancing."
I’m sure it’s very disappointing to finish in second place, but Plushenko should know you need more than just one good jump. A wide receiver in a football game can make a great TD catch, but if he fumbles the ball three other times, no one will care.
Plushenko looked great twirling through the air, but Lysacek looked better with gold around his neck.