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The Day Elvis Stojko Killed Logic

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I used to really root for Elvis Stojko to do well.  Sure his programs were not the prettiest, but the man really did go for it, technically.  He never quite got his gold medal but he had that valiant free skate in 1998 despite injury.

But today, Mr. Stojko has gone too far.  He has an article in Yahoo! Sports titled "The Day They Killed Figure Skating."  It's interesting - I thought the day they killed figure skating was maybe one of the many judging scandals, or other blatant displays of politics over the years.  But no, it was last night.  Because a skater who did a quadruple toe/triple toe (and kicked up more snow in that quad landing than the downhill skiiers) was not automatically given the gold medal.  Stojko even argues that Daisuke Takahashi should have been placed higher than Lysacek for merely attempting the quad. points for trying are allowed?  If someone tried the quad eight times, and fell eight times, would he also have deserved the gold medal over someone who landed eight triples?  There is no logic in that argument.

A choice excerpt:

Plushenko had a great performance. His footwork was great and maybe his spins weren’t quite as good as Lysacek’s, but it wasn’t that big of a difference. He also had a quad toe triple toe that wasn’t even attempted by anyone else. He did both triple axels, so all the jumps were there.

But the judges’ scoring was ridiculous.

I didn't agree with all the judging last night.  And I believe that skaters should be rewarded for trying difficult moves that no one else does.  If Stojko truly is criticizing the code of points, then that's fine - but back your argument up with a comparison of points awarded for each move and why you believe that the quad is undervalued.  Don't just essentially say that skating is dead because Plushenko did this one awesome jumping pass but he lost anyway. 

The hilarious part about this is that last night, Evan won on the technical score!  He won because Plushenko's jump landings were not as technically sound as Lysacek's were.  He won because he received higher scores for his jumps, because he tried more jumps in the second half of the program than Plushenko did. There's a reason that they give a bonus out for landing jumps in the second half of the program, and that's because it's much more technically demanding to land them then.  And Stojko knows that...he may just be too blinded by his quad love to care.

The truth is, this did not damage skating.  There are and always will be plenty of Lysaceks and Plushenkos to go around.  And if Takahashi had landed the quad and done the rest of his planned jumps, he would have beaten both Plushenko and Lysacek, judging from the scores.  So in that case, a quad might have made the difference, and Stojko could have rejoiced.  Or if there had been someone like Alexei Yagudin there last night, he might have beaten everyone handily with both artistry and technical ability.  But one jumping pass in a program full of other weaknesses should not determine the entire competition.