Here's an experiment. Turn the sound off of Plushenko's 2006 Turin SP and LP and play other random music. It all fits about equally well, country, disco, bagpipes. He deserved the gold there but those were joyless jumping pass exercises rather than programs....
Yagudin had a far shorter career, almost painfully short, but not by choice. He had a crippling hip condition/injury and ended up having a total hip replacement at age 27 If he had been healthy, he probably would've stayed until at least 2006.
There's just something about Yagudin's programs that draws me in. He was a total package skater, not just a mechanical jumping machine like Plushenko. His programs had substance, life and passion in them.
I never really cared much for Plushenko's programs; although I will say Nijinsky was amazing. Plushenko peaked during the 2005-2006 season and stayed in far past his prime.
Longevity doesn't always equal better. Give me quality over quantity. If you couldn't tell already, I prefer Yagudin over Plushenko
I totally agree with everything you said, Yagudin over Plushenko, Memelah. But I have to admit I was impressed with Plush's 2014 team performance. I never thought he would get through it.
7 years for an amateur career is nothing to sniff at. For sure, for those liking Yagudin seem too short. He won a lot in this time, so he should be not sorry. If i feel that a career was too short , was for me Kulik. At the moment when he started to be at the peak, he end it. Such a pity he didn't liked to compete.
For me Plushenko didn't only have "quantity" but also amazing "quality". You don't get in FS "quantity" without having "quality".
I suppose he really is not on the american taste, as i am always amazed how can anyone say that he was just a machine. Well, perhaps a machine because of his good jumps but with humour, with charisma, with classical lines (which were more obvious than at Yagudin, who was more about power than ballet). He relates to the public and draws the public in a manner that only few skaters succeded - no machine could do that and for so long. Especially his exhibitions i find memorable, while for other skaters i hardly remember their ex (i can only count on my fingers from all other skaters all togheter the ex in their amateur career, who are really great and welll designed and not just put quick on some "in" ballad).
I don't get it either the crying about him staying "too long". He was still between the best . True, he coudn't bring anything innovative to the game after too many injuries, but there are loads loved skaters outthere who didn't innovate anything (but perhaps where not so long at the top and snatch someone beloved skater the medal ?).
I think it proves a lot of love for the skating to stay so long in the game. He loves to battle against odds, against his injuries. As an ageing person myself, i think this is admirable to be so faithful to your career and to have so much willpower! The sport shoudn't be only for youngster, like music and films shoudn't be as well only targeted to under 30. Do you feel well when looking for a job you are too old for it and someone get it only because is 10 years youngster? No, i bet you don't. So, this outcry that he stayed too long i find very unfair. Someone should stay in sport as long as he things he enjoys it and he can handle it.
We have in literature Rimbaud and Goethe. One who did an amazing work in just few years and quit and one who created for many many years. Can you compare them? I bet a lot of the young people likes Rimbaud much more than Goethe (myself included, guess what, i grew old and now i relate much more to Goethe than to Rimbaud...) Should have Goethe let his work away after 35 just because he was not so jung and innovative anymore? We woudn't have the final Faust in this case....
It should also be noted how influential Yagudin's footwork was in the skating world. His famous straightline steps in his Winter SP made step sequences a highlight element (just watch the step sequences at the prior Olympics in 1998 to see how they were often treated as a throwaway element before) and spawned thousands of imitations that exist even today, often with the same dramatic pause and pose right before the steps start
I did a comparison I watched 7 years of both skaters
Yag's first season 1995/96 to 2001/2002
Rus Nat : 4th place 1 bronze, 4 silver
GP :12 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze
GPF: 2 gold, 1 silver, 4th and 5th place
ECH: 3 gold, 2 silver, 5th and 6th place
WCH: 4 gold 1 silver 1 bronze
OG: 1 gold and 5th place
6,0s: ???( I don't know, probably he had those 6.0s what he received in 2002 )
Plushy's first season 1997/98 to 2003/04 ( 7years)
Rus Nat: 1 bronze, 5 gold
GP:18 gold 4 silver, 3 bronze
GPF: 3 gold, 2 silver, 3rdand 5th place
ECH: 3 gold and 3 silver
WCH: 3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, 4th place, WD( Moscow WCH)
OG: 1 silver
innovations:the first Bilmann and donut spin in men, Bilmann spiral, the first 4t-3t-2lo, the first 4t-3t-3lo,
6.0s: cca 75 6.0s and he was the youngest male skater ever( 16y.o.) who received 6.0 for his presenation.
Sorry, I can't see Yagudin's quality over Plushenko's quantity.. and you called that skater a mechanical jumper who received 70 6.0s for his presentation
and who can win under differente system who can learn new spins, footworks and he received 3rd and 4th level for them, that is better skater for me..that isn't explanation if Yagudin would have been healthy..
If he was nothing but a jumper, I would not be a fan. As for Yagudin, I got off on the wrong foot with him by watching the execrable "One Banana" program and I don't think I'll ever get that image out of my head. You can't say Plushenko ever did anything as straight-up offensive as that.
- Plushenko is better skater, because he is more versatile skater - he has more different memorable programs and exhibitions... Yagudin, much less.
- they are mostly aligned with the number of wins and losses - Yagudin mostly win in the "early" Plushy's years, when he was still a junior. In the last 2-3 years, Yagudin constantly losing from Plushy, except 2 last competitions - GPF and 2002 Olympics... which can not be proof for final judgment about "who is better" - since Plushy was then only 19 years old, and in the following years he would certainly much more winning Yagudin (that he could continue to compete)
- Yagudin is more "beloved" in US - because he and Tarasova made a PR campaign in North American media: how Yagudin is "persecuted and unpopular with Russian Skating Federation" ... and because he trained in America
- Plushenko is greater than Yagudin - not only because he had a longer career (which is not his advantage, than disadvantage - given that he was struggling with injuries since 2001) - than because Plushenko is more than 2.5 years younger than Yagudin (almost a generation younger), and winning a "grown" Yagudin even while he was still a teenager!
P.S. I do not want here to talk about their "human and moral" qualities, which are again, for me - on the side of Plushy
(and this isn't the worse incarnation there was another where he was in an actual baby carriage.... brrrrrrrrr)
That being said, I can't believe I'm saying this, but Plushenko to me is the better skater. His jump technique is perfection, whereas Yagudin kind of had wonky jumps. Spins are maybe equal though I remember being unimpressed with Yagudin's spins whereas Plushenko I just don't really think of them. Footwork about equal if not giving Plushenko the nod. As for presentation, well, it's Americanized refinement versus Russian Tackiness. Plushenko committed to his tacky choreo, and Yagudin just had BETTER choreo. All in all I'd say Plush was a better skater, and his longevity reinforces it. If your technique is close to perfect, you can avoid all those injuries while still being young.