The Winter Olympics: the penultimate test of one’s skill with ski, board or blade; the culmination of years of practice and dedication, when the whole world has its eye upon you. What better time to act like a whiny, narcissistic brat.
No, I’m not talking about The Netherlands’ Sven Kramer, whose gold medal-worthy, Olympic record speed skating run was disqualified after his coach told him to switch to the wrong lane. The entire country wants to throw the coach under the Zamboni, but I’m sure he’ll land on his feet in a different career–perhaps air traffic control.
Nor am I talking about the Canadians who, after watching their men’s hockey team fall at the hands of the U.S., remained ever dignified and gracious. They even took some gentle teasing well, although the Canadian boss of the games site I write for has demoted me to reviewing only Barbie titles.
The individual who deserves the World’s Smallest Ice Violin is Russian men’s figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, who not only has a surname that oddly compels me to watch The Price is Right, but who feels he really should have won the gold medal over American Evan Lysacek because he was more spinny-jumpy than everyone else. He not only went so far as to show his protest by walking over the gold medal platform when accepting his silver medal, but his web site also describes his silver medal as a “platinum medal.”
I really shouldn’t say a whole lot against Plushenko as it is simply the gentlemanly thing to do–and also, as one friend pointed out to me, he looks like he could be a former KGB assassin. However, I will say that yes, while he did perform the technically superior quad jump in his routine unlike Lysacek, it was still wobbly and caused him to line up all his big stuff at the front of his routine to keep from wearing out, leaving his second half a little dull. If you want figure skating to be based only on technical difficulty and not factor in grace and artistry as well, you might want to write a letter to the X-Games asking them to open a “Big Lutz” event.
And if Scott Hamilton, one of the best definitions of the word “man” in men’s figure skating, doesn’t think you earned the gold, then you didn’t earn the gold. Plushenko has proven himself a spectacular force in his sport, but athletes like him need to keep their grace and let their fans speak for them instead.
And finally, a platinum medal? Pfft, please. Everyone knows the absolute bestest awesomenest medal you can get for yourself nowadays is the Unobtanium Medal!