Lysacek takes gold; Plushenko gets silver
USA’s Evan Lysacek edged out Russia’s defending Olympic Champion Evgeni Plushenko, becoming the first U.S. man to win Olympic Gold since Brian Boitano in 1988. Daisuke Takahashi claimed the bronze, the first Olympic medal in Men’s Figure Skating for Japan, while Stéphane Lambiel of Switzerland came in a close fourth.
Lysacek gave a solid performance which featured eight triple jumps, including two triple Axels, in his routine to Sheherazade. The U.S. silver medalist also produced three level 4 spins as well as good level 4 circular step sequence to earn a new personal best of 167.37 (84.57/82.80) for first place in the long. With a total score of 257.67, he edged our Plushenko by a mere 1.31 points to win the gold.
“That’s my best free program this season,” said the 24-year-old . “To do your best when it counts most. I tried not to get too excited after each jump. I probably knew it was my best skate ever. It was not just one section of the program that was strong, but it was strong from start to finish and I guess that was the key tonight.”
Plushenko placed second in the long with 165.51 points (82.71/82.80), and with a total score of 256.36 points, slipped to second overall. While the Russian had the same program component score as Lysacek, his technical element score came up a bit short. While he landed a quad-triple toeloop combination and six triple jumps, his jumps did not garner as many positive Grades of Execution (GoE), and his flying sit spin was only a level 3.
The 26-year-old now has three Olympic medals, including a gold from 2006 and a silver from 2002. “I was sure that I had won my second Olympic Games,” Plushenko admitted. “I thought it was enough and it should have been enough. As I said earlier, I’d accept any result and silver is great, but nevertheless it was a defeat today.”
Takahashi fell on his opening quad toeloop, but otherwise landed seven triple jumps in his routine to Rota’s La Strada. The Japanese Champion also earned high positive GoEs for his circular and straightline footwork, and placed fifth with a new personal best of 156.98 (73.48/84.50), earning the highest program component score of the evening. With a total score of 247.23 points, he maintained third overall to claim the bronze.
“When I knew that I had won a bronze medal, I was so emotional,” said Takahashi. “I was in tears. There were parts of my program that weren’t perfect, including the quad, but to finish where I am in the Olympic Games feels so good.”
“I was injured a year ago and couldn’t skate,” the 23-year-old added, referring to a knee injury. “I never thought that I would recover well enough to be back here on the Olympic stage.”
Lambiel appeared uncertain throughout his La Traviata routine, putting a hand down on his opening quad toe and two-footing the second. The 2006 Olympic silver medalist otherwise landed six triple jumps and received positive GoEs for his spins and footwork. Despite the errors and lack of a triple Axel, he finished third in the long with a personal best of 162.09 (78.49/83.60) and moved up one spot to fourth overall (246.72).
Patrick Chan stepped out of a triple Lutz and fell on a triple Axel, but otherwise gave a solid performance in his routine to Phantom of the Opera. The Canadian Champion landed six clean triple jumps, including a triple Axel in combination with a double toeloop, and received level 4 on all other elements except for his circular footwork (level 3) which still received positive GoEs. He finished fourth in the long with a new personal best of 160.30 (79.30/82.00), and moved up from seventh to fifth overall with 241.42 points.
U.S. bronze medalist Johnny Weir produced a hauntingly beautiful routine entitled Fallen Angel which featured seven solid triple jumps, including two triple Axels. The 25-year-old also produced good spins and footwork to place sixth in the long with a new personal best of 156.77 (79.67/77.10), maintaining sixth place overall with 238.87 points.
Nobunari Oda finished seventh in the long with 153.69 (79.69/77.00) and overall (238.54). The Japanese silver medalist fell on a triple loop and then had to stop the program to fix a broken boot lace which resulted in a 2-point “interruption” deduction. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old gave a solid performance which featured seven triple jumps as well as good spins and footwork.
Teammate Takahiko Kozuka two-footed the landing of his opening quad toeloop and fell on a triple Axel in his routine to Guitar Concerto by M. Kamen. The Japanese bronze medalist otherwise executed six triple jumps and earned a level 4 on all three of his spins to place eighth in the long 151.60 (78.40/74.20) and overall (231.19).
Jeremy Abbott showed good effort in his routine despite falling on his opening quad toeloop. The U.S. Champion landed six clean triple jumps, including two solid triple Axels, to place ninth in the long with 149.56 (71.56/79.00) and overall (218.36).
Michael Březina of the Czech Republic gave a good performance despite a fall on a triple Lutz and a popped double Axel. The 19-year-old finished 11th in the long (137.93) and 10th overall (216.73).
Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten placed 11th overall (211.25), followed by Florent Amodio of France (210.30).
France’s Brian Joubert struggled once again throughout his skate, finishing 16th in the long and overall.