It's been almost two decades since the end of the Cold War, but for two Olympic figure skatersat the2010 Vancouver games, the war of words is still raging. American Evan Lysacek won the Gold medal last night in men's figure skating, defeating Russia's Evgeni Plushenko. The Russian known for his bravado was respectful in accepting his silver medal, but he was simmering on the inside.
Plushenko told the media today that Lysacek was not a "true champion" as he had not successfully landed a quadruple (four rotation) jump, choosing instead to perfect several triples instead. The judges did not feel the same way, putting Lysacek's total score of 257.67 in the short and long program above Plushenko's score of 256.36.
"Maybe, I think, we need to change the system, the judging system, because quad is quad," said Plushenko to the media after the event. "If Olympic champion doesn't know how to do jump quad … I don't know. Now it's not men's figure skating. Now it's dancing. That's my point."
The streets of Moscow were similarly boiling with outrage. Fans told ABC News that Plushenko was "stolen!" Even Russia's Prime Minister, and former President, Vladimir Putin jumped in the ring. He sent a telegram to the Russian skater, telling him "your silver is worth gold. You performed the most accomplished program on the Vancouver ice."
"What he is failing to mention is that he got beaten on the technical side," ESPN analyst George Smith said. "The footwork, the jumps, the spins – he got beaten at his own game."
Analysts told ABC News that relying on the quad was a sort of Russian roulette that didn't pay off. Right after successfully landing the quad, Plushenko had a shaky landing on the triples. The judges ruled Lysacek's landings superior.
Late today, the Olympic champion responded with a gold-standard comment. He said of Plushenko, "He's a great skater, I've always admired him."
The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, so expect more fireworks. Lysacek joked that he would be there "if I can get a visa."