Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

February 17, 2010 - 9:13 a.m.

Ooh, I've been waiting for the men's figure skating competition all year! And it was worth the wait. Last night was in-flippin-credible. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I don't think there's ever been a field this deep and this strong. And oh, the pain. Joubert. Abbott. Ugh, you knew the instant the kid stepped out on the ice, his face looked terrified. I wanted to reach through the screen and hug them all.

One oddity: watch how many skaters have dark eyes. For a minute, it felt like walking into Randland. Beautiful dark eyes, and of course expected from many of the ethnicities, but I was just startled and wondered if they reflected the figure skating population statistically.

I always change favorites from year-to-year. Last year, I loved Lysacek and Contesti for their long programs. I hoped they would ditch this year's long programs and go back to what I think of as "classic hollywood" and "spaghetti western" because this year's just aren't as strong for me.

But this year, after the Grand Prix, I think I was turning Japanese. Daisuke Takahasi wrapped my heart around his little finger, even if he didn't win. He's such a beautiful, passionate skater. And Oda's long program is fantastic.

And I still like Lysacek. It kind of frustrates me that he's so underrated. He's World Champion (I never get sick of the clip where he's fist-pumping coming out of his sit spin--victory in his home town must have felt incredible) and Grand Prix Champion. He posted the second highest total score for a program all year--beaten only by Pluschenko at Russian nationals (and everyone knows the scores at national championships are inflated.) Yet he doesn't get any of the sponsorship or love that some of the other figure skaters get. Maybe he has a nasty personality, or maybe he just doesn't get the respect he deserves, I don't know. Maybe no one wants to be represented by a guy with puffy sleeves and feathers on his wrists. When I saw his short program last night, I almost jumped out of my seat and cheered.

In contrast, I've always thought Patrick Chan is overrated. He seems like a nice kid, but there's room to grow, and I never bought into him being a favorite to win, despite the Canadian media's swoons. He just...didn't do very well this season. I hope he grows from it and that his country will lay off on the expectations. You can't expect someone who's struggled all season to win games against juggernauts like Pluschenko.

At any rate, however good my three favorites are (who ended up 2, 3 and 4), I doubt they have a realistic shot at Pluschenko. The man is just too good a jumper. I admire his take-no-prisoners on the ice attitude and got amused by NBC's package showing him as a villain, but he lacks so many of the things I love in a figure skater--the footwork, the spins--that I can't help hoping for an upset. Even if it's an unrealistic hope. Pluschenko is just too great in terms of consistancy--though he looked surprisingly vulnerable last night, didn't have his usual verve.

I suspect he'll come back with a vengeance Thursday. Hopefully my favs will still be able to walk home with silver and bronze.

One figure skating program that you won't get to see Thursday, but that I love, is from0 Ryan Bradley, the alternate for the U.S. men. He's not as good as Abbott, Weir, or Lysacek, but he's still a sentimental favorite of mine anyway for his long program. The skaters who can use humor in their programs are always golden in my books.


  1. Luisa Perkins said...

    Loved it. Takahase was phenomenal.

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