Friday, February 19, 2010

Batman Beats the Russian King!

Evan Lysacek wins GOLD!

I get as obsessed and tense about figure skating as other people do about football and hockey and other sports. To me, the men's free skate last night was pulse pounding. I don't know exactly what it is about figure skating that so enamors me, but the agility, grace, composure, and artistic expression (especially in men, which we don't see a lot of public outlets for in this country) always snares my heart and hopes. I literally become breathless with each set up for a jump.

All of the figure skaters did wonderfully, including American Johnny Weir who got a shockingly low score. The internet was immediately on fire with "he was robbed because he's GAY" posts, and while I wouldn't 100% rule that out (especially with international judges), most people crying "foul!" on their blogs have no knowledge of the sport. It's a combined event. His scores in the short program were low, so even if they were great in the free skate (which he was), he'd score lower than guys who -- yes -- fell on their asses. I love Weir's individuality and kinda hoped that he'd somehow win gold, just to see the look on Plushanko's face when he realized he'd not only been out-skated by an American man, but by a gay man.

Awaiting the scores for his free skate last night

Note: this is all speculation because Weir doesn't comment on his sexuality, so I'm making the same assumptions here that many others have over the years. Maybe he's just a really flamboyant individual. Either way, Plushanko would not enjoy being bested by someone who skated with a pink tassel on his shoulder. And yes, Johnny, you so rocked the tassel.

Rocking the tassel in his short program

Who we were really rooting for, however, was Stephane Lambiel, The Little Prince! His artistry and musicality always far surpass his rivals, and he delivered both in his short program. Unfortunately, he was a little too tense in the free skate, and his personality didn't come through as much. Yet 4th place in the Olympics is not bad at all! We got to see Lambiel perform when the stars on ice show came to town back in 2007. I hope it happens again! We love the Little Prince!

For whatever reason, pictures of him performing last night are almost impossible to find at the moment, so here's a shot of him in his super snazzy outfit from Torino.

Check out how gorgeous the end of his short program was here.

And then came "Batman," as we call Evan Lysacek. His coach, Frank Carroll (Alfred to us), also coached Michelle Kwan and Timothy Goebel, two amazing skaters who never won gold. Like Bruce Wayne, Lysacek is obsessed with what he does. He's determined to be as fit as possible, and his coach often has to tell him to stop practicing. In his own words, he works so hard that he can barely make it to bed every night.


Batman and Alfred

...I don't know how that one got in here

And at 71, Carroll knew that he shouldn't have his hopes too high. But then Lysacek cut across the ice with a strength and fluidity largely absent that night. He skated in a dark outfit to dark music, and nailed every jump. As soon as the music ended, the sheer joy on his face was priceless. No matter the outcome, Master Wayne had done his very best.

"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!"

And Plushenko... his name has been commonly-spoken in our house since his debut Olympics in 2002. I remember going to 4-H snow camp that year and making a snowman of him (to knock over). His nose and his string cheese hair are like no other. His attitude tops both, however. I'll never forget him discussing his 2002 rival, Alexei Yagudin, saying "I will crush him beneath my skates!"

In Salt Lake City, 2002, with Alexei Yagudin and Timothy Goebel

Ever since Plushenko stood on that podium, refusing to look at Yagudin (who won gold) as the anthem played, I have loved him. Not a stereotypical type of love. A love to hate type of love. The same love I have for Michael Shanks and David Thewlis and all manner of other people. But anyway, Plushenko is an extremely talented skater. There will never be another like him. His short program was nearly flawless. His free skate was nearly strained. His cockiness was palpable.

Talk to za hand.

I knew he couldn't hold it in when he lost the gold. He's already saying that if a man doesn't do a quad in figure skating, then it's not figure skating, it's dancing. He also ran onto the podium and pretended he won the gold for a little while. Yes, I wouldn't love him if he wasn't so annoying and had the promise of being a terrible loser. And though he's 27 (old age for a figure skater) I'll bet he'll be back in 2014. The games are on his turf then, and he'll be looking for a way to win another gold.

I vin za gold! Or... maybe not...

This might not be it for Lysacek, as well, for in an interview this morning he stated: "I love skating. I can't at this point imagine my life without it. I know I'm 24 … but I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. … And right now, pending any other major events in my life, that's my plan … to keep competing." If anyone can hold their own against younger competitors in 2014, it's Batman. And what an achievement it is -- to win gold in such a fiercely talented, competitive generation of skaters, possibly the best there's ever been. That is no small feat.

Awesome job, Evan! We're so proud of you. You earned it!

Woo hoo!

You can check out his free skate here.

Other athletes I'm rooting for are Alpine skiier Bode Miller who has returned to his third Olympics with a new attitude -- way to go, Bode! And, of course, my love: Apolo Anton Ohno. His race on Saturday will be a thing to see, for certain. I mean, obviously it's a thing and if you watch it then you're seeing it, which could be anything, like two ants walking on a piece of cheese, but never mind. It should be epic, is what I mean.

Go Chunkles, go!

the other amanda -- Thanks, hun! The Smeagol ones were the funnest to shoot, so maybe that's why they turned out best. ;)

Mackenzie's Momma -- Too hippy to be a stage model? Pshh. You'd be doing them a favor -- most of those girls don't have hips. That's great about your play -- how exciting!!!

Tracie -- Thanks so much! Unfortunately, I think I'm too little too late for the Hobbit casting, but since they needed people with New Zealand work permits and visas, it was a super long shot anyway. But oh well, at least now I have a head shot in case anything else pops up!

Anonymous -- I know you are a robot, I just can't figure out what you're gaining by spamming. With proper punctuation, too. Go away.

1 comment:

Mackenzies Momma said...

I just watched that (men's figure skating) this afternoon (thank goodness for DVR's :))it was amazing.

I used to be into figure skating but not so much anymore.

Oh so this would be the part where I mention I once saw your other favorite Apollo in passing. You know since he's from Seattle.

As for the hips thing, it actually sucks. I have these *huge* hips and teeny tiny waist, and long legs. Makes buying pants a pain in the rear I tell you ;)