Friday, February 19, 2010

Revolutionary Thoughts

It is the newest version of the Cold War. The villain played by the resident of the former Iron Curtain country, railing against the red, white and blue hero with the unparalleled dedication and determination. It was high drama, epic and compelling. Spinning and then spin. The men's figure skating finals and its aftermath met the hype and then created some more.

From President Putin, to the man on the street, the result outraged the people of Russia. Their hero, Yevgeny Plushenko, could and did do what no others could or did. Certainly not Evan Lysacek, the gold medal winner, who was unwilling or unable to take that extra turn in the air. Three times around, says Plushenko, proves nothing. In his mind, to award this performance, no matter how artistic, with the highest honor the sport can offer, is a travesty. He clearly has expressed, in word and action, his disdain for what he perceives to be a blatant robbery.

Such is the intrigue of a sport that has changed it spots after scoring debacles in the recent past. Now we are told there is a laundry list of ways to gain points towards victory. The quad does not automatically a champion make. Plushenko was impressive, willing his way around the ice and seeming to dominate the air. Lysacek was majestic, graceful, and composed.

In the end, it was what the Olympics is supposed to be about. Greatness, in its different forms, in full display. 3 rotations or 4 mattered little. What mattered most, as Lycacek said while he awaited the results, was that the challenge of the moment had been met head on.

Let the Cold War rage in all its intensity and then burn out. Once the revolutionary war subsides, as it ultimately will, the soaring heights of both performances will be all that remains.

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