With a column titled “The Night They Killed Figure Skating,” Canadian figure skating legend Elvis Stojko joined critics—including Russian prime-minister Vladimir Putin—in slamming Evan Lysacek’s gold, calling the decision to award Russian Evgeni Plushenko the silver, “ridiculous.”
He said Lysacek’s program was on par with a junior program, and it was no more developed than what gold-medallist Brian Boitano did in 1988.
For days, debate has been boiling away over the quadruple jump (who can do it, who can’t, whether you need to land it to take gold), and whether the new scoring system is killing the sport. The so-called Code of Points system, which replaced the old, 6.0, was brought in after the infamous judging scandal at Salt Lake; it is said to have shifted the focus away from jumping, to a more balanced program.
But Stojko says the International Skating Union has taken the risk out of figure skating, and it makes him sick.
“Figure skating gets no respect because of outcomes like this. More feathers, head-flinging and so-called step sequences done at walking speed—that’s what the system wants.” Stojko also said he was going to watch hockey where “athletes are allowed to push the envelope—a real sport.”
“Just doing nice transitions and being artistic is not enough because figure skating is a sport, not a show,” Plushenko told a Russian TV station; he too has slammed Olympic judges, and has threatened to quit the sport over the outcome in Vancouver.