Some additional thoughts on the men's short programs last night. Overall, I thought it was great and I might have some of the skaters in different orders, but I could not have asked for a more compelling situation at the top of the leaderboard, with less than a point separating Plushenko, Lysacek, and Takahashi.
I like Johnny Weir's attitude in the press so much this week. He's almost "post-medal." He knows he's unlikely to medal and he just wants to skate well and have fun. I thought Weir was underscored last night. He got a wrong edge call on his triple flip, but the judges really went to town with the grade of execution deductions, he lost 2 points there. Please!
Gossip from Christine Brennan: Reporter Christine Brennan was sharing some gems with us last night through Twitter (@cbrennansports). She questioned Weir's recent criticism of U.S. judge Joe Inman:
82.10 received some boos, but 5th place is right. #Weir criticism of US judge Joe Inman didn't help. Other judges love Inman.
I don't care where he placed, but I think he deserved some higher points, especially considering how others were scored. Which brings me to...
Chan had a noticeable stumble on his footwork, and he received no grade of execution deduction for it? You could see that stumble from Manitoba(don't know where that is but I like the name), don't tell me he didn't deserve some negatives.
Inman Wins the Short Program
American judge Joe Inman, who is not judging at these Olympics, got flak for sending out an email essentially questioning Evgeny Plushenko's transitions scores (Plushenko himself has admitted to not having transitions). Well, the judges definitely scored Plushenko's transitions much lower than he has been scored in other competitions. Although a 6.8 was still kind of high. But other skaters definitely benefited on the closer attention paid to transitions.
Brennan had something to tweet about this, too!
Asked #Plushenko coach if 6.8 score for man who says he has no transitions was gift? "I don't understand English," he replied. :)
HA. Anyway, it was really great to see the transitions and other program components receive some fairer scoring overall.
I'm Obviously a Takahashi Fan
But I still think I can complain about his transitions only receiving a 7.50. They should have been at least a point higher than Plushenko's.
I also thought that Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel, who nearly sat down on his quad toe and doubled the jump on that combo, combined with not even attempting a triple axel, was propped up a bit by the judges. A 9.15 for interpretation was a tad high... And it's an absolute travesty of this scoring system that he scored higher for his double axel than Weir did for his (wrong-edged but clean) triple flip. I really liked Lambiel's program, and I love his footwork and presentation, but I wasn't quite as impressed with him last night as I expected to be, even with the footwork. I think it's obvious that the judges would really like Lambiel to repeat as a medalist. If he lands enough jumps on Thursday, they will try to make it happen.
More Random Christine Brennan Tweets - this time about Brian Joubert:
Gotta say no tears being shed in press row over this performance. Wonder how Didier Gailhaguet is handling this debacle?
The press row might not have minded, but it was sad to see such a great skater break down like that! He's not my favorite by any means, but it's still a terrible sight.
Speaking of breakdowns, where does Jeremy Abbott go from here?
Whether he can't handle the pressure or he leaves his best performances on nationals ice, Jeremy Abbott has a problem. He acknowledged it all season, but he hasn't made a change, I guess. I am hoping he can recover and provide a heartwarming performance in the free skate, but that's irrelevant at this point because he has no chance to medal. There is just too much potential there in his skating for this to happen continually. Last night was a complete mental breakdown. I could barely watch the end of the program, I was so depressed.
I was so worried about Lysacek losing grade of execution points on jumps (the judges' favorite way to keep him down in the past) but that did not happen last night. His performance was so exhilarating and the jumps were perfect - he would not be denied a great score! I will say that I got worried at his final spin - on replay I realized it was a bit sloppy at one point and it was a little all over the place (I wonder if they took off grade of execution at all for that? His grade of execution for the spin overall was positive). But that is a nitpick. He really just performed the heck out of it and I couldn't have been happier. If he brings that emotion to the free skate, then a medal is his.
Do the NBC ratings go up whenever Dick Button is on the screen? Because they really should. The man is honest, and I have always loved his crankiness. Dick, you can go on tv and complain about Plushenko's crazy arms any day of the week. I would watch.
Is ridiculosity a word?
It is now. There comes a point where you have to stop analyzing the wonderful skating and just take a look around at what you just spent the night watching.
A six-foot-whatever guy crying into feathered gloves at the end of a performance...greased lightning Nobunari Oda looking like he got botox, as he had a complete inability to make a facial expression...Daisuke Takahashi looking like he robbed the Bedazzler factory...Plushenko brandishing a sword ad nauseum after his program was over (someone get the hook!)....and the fact that I've seen Johnny Weir in a corset with tassels so many times that I no longer think anything of it. Welcome to men's figure skating, everyone.