(Evan Lysacek, Head of Slytherin House and rumored parseltongue, took down reigning champion Yevgeny Plushenko - without the use of a Confundus Charm! Above, he shows off his ability to fly sans broom.)
Congrats to Evan Lysacek who won the gold medal in men's figure skating last night. He becomes the first American man to win the gold since Brian Boitano in 1988, and the first reigning world champion to win the gold since Scott Hamilton in 1984.
Also of note in terms of streaks and records, Lysacek's coach, Frank Carroll, has been to 10 Olympics as a coach, but has never had a skater win the gold medal. Michelle Kwan won silvers. and Timothy Goebel won a bronze. Now at 71, Carroll has coached his way to the gold! Good on him!
Lysacek's win also brought him a victory over Yevgeny Plushenko, skatings self-appointed villain. He came back out of retirement just to win this gold medal and repeat his title from Torino in 2006. No man has been able to win back-to-back Olympic golds since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952, but Button continues to stand alone in that regard. (Yeah, Dick Button!) If at 28 in 2014, Lysacek wants to come back to defend his title, he can try to match Button's feat then.
Lysacek skated the short program dressed up in a raven-costume designed by Vera Wang while skating to "The Firebird." I love this song, but it needs to be retired from competition. It's overdone (also the music from Swan Lake needs to be banned for the ladies.Same reason.). Then he skated the long program to "Scheherazade" but I like to think of it as "Severus Snape: Friend or Foe?" because Lysacek once again was decked out in black, but instead of feathers, he had silver snakes wrapped around him. Regardless of the actual theme, he had a remarkable free skate, and finished with a score of 257.67 points overall. Plushenko also skated well landing a quadrupile jump, but his footwork overall was not super-impressive. He wound up with 256.36 points, landing him the silver. Russian skaters had won the gold medal in the men's event at every Olympics since 1992. The streak is over!!
Plushenko was hardly gracious in losing, calling out Lysacek for not attempting a quad jump and pretty much saying that an Olympic Gold Medalist who could not land a quad was not worthy of the title. Now, there are several issues with this. First, it's really a dick thing to do to say the guy who beat you didn't deserve it, just because you did a trick he didn't do. Secondly, Lysacek CAN do a quad and has landed one in competition before, but designed his routines for the Olympics for maximum point totals without it. He found a way to take the point advantage of the quad away from Plushenko. If Plushenko had skated better overall throughout his routine, and planned his routine more strategically, he would've won. However, he didn't, and the best overall skater took home gold. That's how it should be. Plushenko needs to swallow that bitter pill and not try to rain on Lysacek's parade. Just because Plushenko values jumps over everything else doesn't mean that the judges ought to. Japan's four-time national champion, Daisuke Takahashi,won the bronze, after falling on his opening quadruple jump. So quad's aren't everything.
It was very exciting to see an American atop the medal platform again for the men. I'm glad that Lysacek achieved all he set out to do. Unfortunately, his US teammates Johnny Weir and Jeremy Abbot had a harder time in Vancouver. Weir's a three-time United States national champion, and he finished sixth this year. I really feel he was underscored in both events, because he's a polarizing persona off the ice. Jeremy Abbott, the reigning national champion, finished ninth after nerves really hampered his performance in both programs. Hopefully he'll get another chance for gold 4 years from now. Let's keep the streak of Americans winning gold going! Accio, Gold!