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The leader after the short program, Evgeni Plushenko, was up last and started out by nailing a quad toe/triple toe combination, but he nearly fell on his subsequent triple axle. In fact, he struggled with the landing on most of his jumps. That said, I thought his artistry was much more apparent than it was in the short, and his footwork looked much better to me. But I wasn't a huge fan of the program itself. The last minute of it contained absolutely no jumps. There were parts where he was trying to be "sexy," but to me it came off as very creepy, very "I'm here to eat your children." The commentators argued strongly that his program was nowhere near as complicated as Evan's, and that his jumps were also not close to what he's capable of achieving. And apparently the judges agreed: Evan won the gold by more than a point.

Since then there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth, exclaiming that Plushenko got robbed. And no, he did not get "robbed." I think what it comes down to is what you think good ice skating should be. Should good ice skating be programs so stuffed with tricks that the competitors can barely land them? Or should skating be thoughtfully conceived, varied programs that show off a skater to his best ability? In other words, do you want programs filled with skaters struggling to land jumps, or, more realistically, falling on their asses? Or do you want programs that show people at the height of their craft skating flawlessly?

I'll tell you what I want: I want to watch the Olympics and see people skating beautifully. I don't want to watch the Olympics and seeing skater after skater biting it on jumps they can't realistically execute. This is supposed to be the best of the sport of figure skating, and yet the majority of the men in last night's competition fell. This is the best of the world? Really? I cannot remember an Olympics with more falls than this one. I'm all for impressive tricks - but only if the skaters can execute them. Plushenko DID land all of his jumps, including his quad, but he struggled with almost every one of them. I don't want to see struggling. I want to see mastery, I want to see perfection. That's what Evan served up, and I think that should be rewarded.
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