If you've been watching the Olympics over the past few days, you may have heard that men's figure skating silver medalist Evgeny Plushenko is having a case of sour grapes. He's commenting all over the place that Evan Lysacek is not a true champion because he did not do the quad. You can read some of this helpful fan post, courtesy of reader Freesia39.
Now, International Olympic Committee President Jaques Rogge has chimed in, according to Phil Hersh in the Chicago Tribune. But Rogges isn't too upset by Plushenko's antics:
...Rogge pretty much gave Russian figure skater Evgeny Plushenko a pass for repeated comments disrespectful of his opponents and his sport after losing the Olympic men's figure skating title Thursday to Evan Lysacek of the United States.
Plushenko, the 2006 Olympic champion, also made light of the awards ceremony and the traditional medalists' victory lap.
In the awards ceremony, he jumped up to the gold medalist's step on the podium, grinned and then walked to the lower silver medal step. He tried to avoid the victory lap and wasted no time removing the silver medal from his neck once leaving the ice.
Asked by the Tribune Saturday for his reaction to Plushenko's behavior, Rogge said, ``I think he was very disappointed, obviously, and some times in disappointment, you express things you wouldn't express at another time.''
Rogge said he did not know that Plushenko said a competition in which the winner did not try a quadruple jump was ``not men's skating. It is dance.''
``If that is the case, it is ill-advised, of course,'' Rogge said.
Rogge asked to be told what Plushenko said. After hearing it, the IOC president said.
``He should respect his competitors, which I think he does. He has probably pronounced some words in the emotion of disappointment, but definitely he has to respect his opponents, of course.''
Since I was under the impression that sportsmanship was part of the Olympic ideal, I'm glad that Rogge did say that Plushenko should respect his competitors. But Hersh compares Rogge's reaction here with Rogge's repeated criticism of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt's victory celebrations during the Beijing Olympics. Hersh speculates that "Of course, it certainly is a lot easier to take on a little Caribbean island than mighty Russia, once an Olympic superpower and host of the next Winter Games."
I also wonder whether the fact that Plushenko lost the competition has anything to do with Rogge's lack of comments. He seems more worried about someone being an obnoxious winner than someone else being an obnoxious loser. I don't really care at this point what people say to Plushenko. He has never been a great sport about anything. And all he is doing now is making Evan Lysacek look better, because Lysacek is not only a great skater, but he is also being a complete class act about this situation as well. The only thing I hate is that so much of the post-competition interviews have consisted of Lysacek being asked about Plushy's digs. It's too bad the focus can't just be on Lysacek's amazing skate.