First of all, a word about figure skating. I am very patriotic; I love my country super-lots. July 4th is my favorite holiday, and even when I had issues with Bush, I still respected the office of the presidency. I am a proud American. And when it comes to the Olympics, I root for USA pretty much all the way ... except when it comes to figure skating. I love the beauty, artistry and sport of figure skating too much to just base it on my country. (Not to say that I don't admire when other countries' athletes do an amazing job in other sports, I just don't actively root for non-USA.) So, bear that in mind when you read my figure skating comments.
I went into the men's round liking four different skaters in this order: Johnny Weir (USA), Jeremy Abbott (USA), Patrick Chan (Canada) and Daisuke Takahashi (Japan). So thoughts on each of them, and others that aren't on my list.
Johnny Weir, I thought, did a WONDERFUL job, and was criminally underscored. Grrr! He has such artistry, flair, beautiful jumps, etc. and to see him so discounted was very, very frustrating. But, Johnny was happy with his performance and that certainly matters.
Oh poor, Jeremy Abbott. It's over for him (unless by some crazy happenstance all of the front-runners -- and erm, the second-runners, yo, dude placed 15th -- fall apart terribly and Abbott pulls out a Nationals-like long program), and my heart just broke. He singled the triple axle, then doubled his next triple jumping pass and that was it. Sigh. And it just sucks so much because it's SUCH a well-choregraphed routine, and so very beautifully skated. He has such incredible grace, flow, and beauty in his skating. I adore his lines, the way every move just transitions perfectly into the next. He's very similar in that way to Oksana Baiul actually; it can't be taught, it just is. (She's my all-time favorite skater -- when she was good, she was OUTSTANDING, or to quote Scott Hamilton: "When Oksana skates clean, no one in the world can touch her.") Oh, but those missed jumps were so very costly. Oh, Jeremy! *sigh*
Patrick Chan, on the other hand did mostly well. But he made a few errors, and of course, finished after the music. Such a shame, because that's another brilliantly choreographed program and Chan skates the hell out of it. And he does (as well as Abbott and Takahashi) something I appreciate so much as the daughter of a dancer -- he times his blade movements, his spins, his arm movements, his jumps to the beats of the music. Very rarely did you see him throw an arm out randomly, or go for a spin, or series of footwork without it matching the beats of the music. But he made errors. Ah well.
But you know who didn't? Daisuke Takahashi is who. Oh, he was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant and SHOULD have scored higher than Plushenko DEFINITELY, and arguably, above Lysacek. Like I said above about Chan, Takahashi skated pretty much every movement (no matter what part of his body he was moving) to the beats of the music. He was powerful, dynamic, charismatic, his jumps were gorgeous. His skating was filled with artistry, style, beauty, power, everything. He was AMAZING! Loved it. My favorite routine overall of the night, bar-none.
As for the other guys? Plushenko has great jumps, and that huge quad combo, BUT his footwork and spins are barely above level one, let alone anywhere near level 3, plus, he flails his arms about, does not match musical beats, etc. He is a graceful, powerful skater, but he doesn't have the overall package, and that judges reward him so handsomely just because of those awesome jumps is simply not right. He didn't deserve first place. I would have ranked him fourth or fifth personally.
Then there's Evan Lysacek. Like many, I don't like him, partly because of his douchy-attitude, intended or not, and partly (for me) is because he's very much a Frank Caroll-coached skater (I still can't believe I love Mirai Nagasu as much as I do considering she's trained by Caroll), whose skaters have technique and power, but are robotic, and by-the-numbers. Still, I'll give him this ... it was one of Lysacek's best performances ever, he did a fantastic job and his love for the sport shown through (it rarely does to me). He should have been first or second (I'd go with Takahashi just because I think he's a stronger artistic skater, but the short program has always been considered more the technical routine, so, either way ...). He was DEFINITELY better than Plushenko.
Actually, I think it's almost insulting to Takahashi and Lysacek's performances that Plushenko is scored anywhere near them, let alone above them. Pfft! Other than these routines mentioned, no one else really grabbed my attention. We'll see what happens tonight.
HOLY ^&*%)! SHAUN WHITE IS AWESOME. Erm, yeah, snow boarding, baby! Dude, that was him going conservative!?!? CONSERVATIVE?!?! This guy deserves all of his acclaim and those two gold medals, because DAYUM!!!! Just, no words. No. Freaking. Words.
And that is all, although, I could have sworn that Apolo's final two competitions were last night and I was looking forward to see if he'd get another medal or two. If it did happen and NBC just didn't air it yet (stupid tape-delayed NBC), please don't spoil me.