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caseyedwards
07-09-2010, 01:48 AM
http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/13615868/softening-at-home-could-strengthen-us-soccers-push-to-big-dance



Through ballet and figure-skating, Russians have always expressed masculinity and artistry as if they were inseparable. But Evgeni Plushenko was no proper heir to Baryshnikov. He was, to put it kindly, a hack. He and his quad mirrored too many American baseball stars over the past decade -- big bat, marginal glove, mediocre arm, no speed, no eye at the plate. A one-tool player.

Lysacek delivered everything but the home run. Then he left Vancouver and went where no male figure skater had gone before: He competed in Dancing with the Stars. He followed the football players there.

aftershocks
07-09-2010, 05:37 AM
Knapp makes interesting points in regard to the other sports, and about the football/ DWTS connection. However, from reading what she has to say about figure skating, she obviously doesn't know fs or fs athletes well enough to mix them into her discussion. It may be a good thing whenever figure skating is mentioned in the American sports pages, particularly in the same breath with other sports, however, I wish sports journalists in this country would bone up on their knowledge of fs to actually know whereof they speak.

"Lysacek beat a Russian [Plushenko] who then accused him of being too artistic." NOT! :duh: I don't think anyone in the skating world has ever accused the hard-working Mr. Lysacek of "being too artistic." And anyway, is it possible for any skater to ever be "too artistic"? :confused:

Plushenko actually complained about other competitors not sucking it up like real men to lay down quads. Not performing quads in fs, doesn't translate to mean you're too artistic, Ms. Knapp. The quad conundrum in figure skating is much more complicated than that. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, male skaters often ponder "To quad, or not to quad, that is the question. Whether tis nobler to try and master it, take the chance and suffer disaster, or to play it safe and win gold in the end..." :P Even that analogy is an oversimplification of the quad’s difficulty and impact on the sport.

"Evgeni Plushenko was no proper heir to Baryshnikov." Hmmmm, arguably true, I suppose especially in the latter part of his career. However, by just doing a little research, Ms. Knapp would discover that in the early part of his career, Plushenko was considered state-of-the-art in male fs, and the gushing about his talent (even if sometimes over-the-top) probably did include comparisons to Baryshnikov.

"Plushenko was to put it kindly, a hack ... no speed ... a one-tool player." NO, NO, and NO. It took guts, athleticism, and chutzpah for Plushy to even try to come back for a third Olympics. Yes, the men's field and the rules had changed in his absence, but his rep preceded him, and he still demanded respect. And amazingly, he still had the jumps and the charisma -- yes he faltered slightly in the lp, as nerves and age caught up with him. And maybe he received too much respect from the judges in the eyes of many skating fans. Still I don't think anyone in skating would even consider calling Plushy "a hack." Evan's certainly no Baryshnikov, nor would I call him a hack either, but if you're throwing that term around Ms. Knapp, I think it lands closer to Evan than it does to Plushenko.

In the end, Plushy fell on his own sword, done in by his own admission of having "no transitions." Plus, the judges hadn't spotted him a 10-point lead in the sp, like they did at 2006 Olympics over second place Johnny Weir's iconic The Swan performance. Now that's a performance that will live for the ages. I think we can scrap most of the 2010 Olympic male fs performances (except for a brilliant Daisuke Takahashi, and a resilient Johnny Weir, none of the others bear much repeated watching).

"In the late 80's, U.S. male figure skaters fell into a rut." Really??? Am I reading that right? Wasn't that the time of Boitano, Bowman, Wylie, or am I just hallucinating? :wall:

pumba
07-09-2010, 06:02 AM
+ 1 to aftershocks

Gene
07-09-2010, 08:53 AM
Knapp makes interesting points in regard to the other sports, and about the football/ DWTS connection. However, from reading what she has to say about figure skating, she obviously doesn't know fs or fs athletes well enough to mix them into her discussion. It may be a good thing whenever figure skating is mentioned in the American sports pages, particularly in the same breath with other sports, however, I wish sports journalists in this country would bone up on their knowledge of fs to actually know whereof they speak.

"Lysacek beat a Russian [Plushenko] who then accused him of being too artistic." NOT! :duh: I don't think anyone in the skating world has ever accused the hard-working Mr. Lysacek of "being too artistic." And anyway, is it possible for any skater to ever be "too artistic"? :confused:

Plushenko actually complained about other competitors not sucking it up like real men to lay down quads. Not performing quads in fs, doesn't translate to mean you're too artistic, Ms. Knapp. The quad conundrum in figure skating is much more complicated than that. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, male skaters often ponder "To quad, or not to quad, that is the question. Whether tis nobler to try and master it, take the chance and suffer disaster, or to play it safe and win gold in the end..." :P Even that analogy is an oversimplification of the quad’s difficulty and impact on the sport.

"Evgeni Plushenko was no proper heir to Baryshnikov." Hmmmm, arguably true, I suppose especially in the latter part of his career. However, by just doing a little research, Ms. Knapp would discover that in the early part of his career, Plushenko was considered state-of-the-art in male fs, and the gushing about his talent (even if sometimes over-the-top) probably did include comparisons to Baryshnikov.

"Plushenko was to put it kindly, a hack ... no speed ... a one-tool player." NO, NO, and NO. It took guts, athleticism, and chutzpah for Plushy to even try to come back for a third Olympics. Yes, the men's field and the rules had changed in his absence, but his rep preceded him, and he still demanded respect. And amazingly, he still had the jumps and the charisma -- yes he faltered slightly in the lp, as nerves and age caught up with him. And maybe he received too much respect from the judges in the eyes of many skating fans. Still I don't think anyone in skating would even consider calling Plushy "a hack." Evan's certainly no Baryshnikov, nor would I call him a hack either, but if you're throwing that term around Ms. Knapp, I think it lands closer to Evan than it does to Plushenko.

In the end, Plushy fell on his own sword, done in by his own admission of having "no transitions." Plus, the judges hadn't spotted him a 10-point lead in the sp, like they did at 2006 Olympics over second place Johnny Weir's iconic The Swan performance. Now that's a performance that will live for the ages. I think we can scrap most of the 2010 Olympic male fs performances (except for a brilliant Daisuke Takahashi, and a resilient Johnny Weir, none of the others bear much repeated watching).

"In the late 80's, U.S. male figure skaters fell into a rut." Really??? Am I reading that right? Wasn't that the time of Boitano, Bowman, Wylie, or am I just hallucinating? :wall:

Very insightful and articulate. Did you send a copy to the writer of the article? I hope you didn't just waste the effort by placing it just on this discussion board.

CynicElle
07-09-2010, 01:21 PM
What a bizarre column. I guess I see what she's trying to say (seeing US football players on DWTS might open the door to seeing US athletes as more artistic ... and then they can be stronger in soccer? :confused:), but I have no idea what on earth Plushenko v. Lysacek has to do with any of that other than Evan being on DWTS.

aftershocks
07-10-2010, 03:20 AM
Very insightful and articulate. Did you send a copy to the writer of the article? I hope you didn't just waste the effort by placing it just on this discussion board.

Yeah, thanks. Maybe it would be helpful for the writer to see a critique. Seems like working under deadline, she just threw a hodge-podge together that doesn’t hold up. She kinda seems to want to talk about male athletes getting in touch with their “softer” side – which again is a bit mixed up in her terminology and the way she presents it, especially with throwing comparisons and inaccurate information about figure skating in the mix. Knapp actually misses a golden opportunity to really talk about gender stereotyping in sports, using figure skating as a prime example.

escaflowne9282
07-10-2010, 05:56 AM
I've always respected Gwen Knapp, especially since during the SLC scandal she was one of the few sportswriters who didn't cry wuzrobbed for S&P and made an effort to explain the judging criteria . However, she is off-base here, and I've never been much of a Plushenko fan

Triple Butz
07-10-2010, 07:40 AM
Why isn't anyone entertaining the possibility that Takahashi deserved to win? Who cares about blah vs blaher.

Gene
07-10-2010, 09:13 AM
Yeah, thanks. Maybe it would be helpful for the writer to see a critique. Seems like working under deadline, she just threw a hodge-podge together that doesn’t hold up. She kinda seems to want to talk about male athletes getting in touch with their “softer” side – which again is a bit mixed up in her terminology and the way she presents it, especially with throwing comparisons and inaccurate information about figure skating in the mix. Knapp actually misses a golden opportunity to really talk about gender stereotyping in sports, using figure skating as a prime example.

There are a corp of columnists at the Chronicle that work in the same fashion. Some have really made fools out of themselves. It's like throwing darts blind-folded. Sometimes you hit the bulls-eye, most of the time you don't. In the case of the latter, in a few days it's old news, off the pages, and all is forgotten.

paskatefan
07-10-2010, 06:39 PM
Knapp makes interesting points in regard to the other sports, and about the football/ DWTS connection. However, from reading what she has to say about figure skating, she obviously doesn't know fs or fs athletes well enough to mix them into her discussion. It may be a good thing whenever figure skating is mentioned in the American sports pages, particularly in the same breath with other sports, however, I wish sports journalists in this country would bone up on their knowledge of fs to actually know whereof they speak.

"Lysacek beat a Russian [Plushenko] who then accused him of being too artistic." NOT! :duh: I don't think anyone in the skating world has ever accused the hard-working Mr. Lysacek of "being too artistic." And anyway, is it possible for any skater to ever be "too artistic"? :confused:

Plushenko actually complained about other competitors not sucking it up like real men to lay down quads. Not performing quads in fs, doesn't translate to mean you're too artistic, Ms. Knapp. The quad conundrum in figure skating is much more complicated than that. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, male skaters often ponder "To quad, or not to quad, that is the question. Whether tis nobler to try and master it, take the chance and suffer disaster, or to play it safe and win gold in the end..." :P Even that analogy is an oversimplification of the quad’s difficulty and impact on the sport.

"Evgeni Plushenko was no proper heir to Baryshnikov." Hmmmm, arguably true, I suppose especially in the latter part of his career. However, by just doing a little research, Ms. Knapp would discover that in the early part of his career, Plushenko was considered state-of-the-art in male fs, and the gushing about his talent (even if sometimes over-the-top) probably did include comparisons to Baryshnikov.

"Plushenko was to put it kindly, a hack ... no speed ... a one-tool player." NO, NO, and NO. It took guts, athleticism, and chutzpah for Plushy to even try to come back for a third Olympics. Yes, the men's field and the rules had changed in his absence, but his rep preceded him, and he still demanded respect. And amazingly, he still had the jumps and the charisma -- yes he faltered slightly in the lp, as nerves and age caught up with him. And maybe he received too much respect from the judges in the eyes of many skating fans. Still I don't think anyone in skating would even consider calling Plushy "a hack." Evan's certainly no Baryshnikov, nor would I call him a hack either, but if you're throwing that term around Ms. Knapp, I think it lands closer to Evan than it does to Plushenko.

In the end, Plushy fell on his own sword, done in by his own admission of having "no transitions." Plus, the judges hadn't spotted him a 10-point lead in the sp, like they did at 2006 Olympics over second place Johnny Weir's iconic The Swan performance. Now that's a performance that will live for the ages. I think we can scrap most of the 2010 Olympic male fs performances (except for a brilliant Daisuke Takahashi, and a resilient Johnny Weir, none of the others bear much repeated watching).

"In the late 80's, U.S. male figure skaters fell into a rut." Really??? Am I reading that right? Wasn't that the time of Boitano, Bowman, Wylie, or am I just hallucinating? :wall:

I am not familiar with Gwen Knapp, but I would also say go ahead and send this to her! :)

kwanfan1818
07-10-2010, 07:52 PM
"Evgeni Plushenko was no proper heir to Baryshnikov." Hmmmm, arguably true, I suppose especially in the latter part of his career. However, by just doing a little research, Ms. Knapp would discover that in the early part of his career, Plushenko was considered state-of-the-art in male fs, and the gushing about his talent (even if sometimes over-the-top) probably did include comparisons to Baryshnikov.

Not by many who've seen Baryshnikov. For one thing, they had completely different body types. (Stojko was closer in body type to Baryshnikov than Plushenko.) For another, Baryshnikov was almost equally excellent at everything-- jumps, turns, pirouettes, petite allegro, grand allegro -- with the possible exception of partnering, and Plushenko was not. Baryshnikov was Mariinsky. There was nothing Mariinsky about early or late Plushenko.

I wouldn't compare Plushenko positively to any of the great Bolshoi men, like Vasiliev, either: he's not a classicist.


And amazingly, he still had the jumps and the charisma -- yes he faltered slightly in the lp, as nerves and age caught up with him.
Respect for the comeback, getting to the point that he did in Vancouver, sure. Faltered "slightly"? He was in the bottom half of the field for power and speed -- the North Korean skater who just missed the Free Skate was equally fast -- and he had faults on his jumps that would have been scored more harshly had he not had a reputation. His spins, which were significantly improved in the SP -- two of three had speed among the best -- were back to slow in the FS. This was all very evident in the arena. There was little charisma to compensate, without the power and with the pandering choreography.

danceronice
07-10-2010, 07:54 PM
Why isn't anyone entertaining the possibility that Takahashi deserved to win? Who cares about blah vs blaher.

At the time? The coverage at least made an issue of "the top three are within fractions of a point! It all comes down to tonight!" POST-Lp, I don't think Takahashi really gets considered as wuzrobbed for gold because he had a massive splat on the quad while Evan skated clean and Plushenko only wobbled a bit, not fell. PERSONALLY, I feel Takahashi wuzrobbed of silver, as with the fall I can't really justify him winning but the REST of it was better than Plushenko's fall-free but otherwise wobbly and uninspired program. If he'd landed the quad, though, I think he would have won and no one would have argued the point, assuming Lysacek and Plushenko skated exactly as they did (and would have been silver and bronze, respectively.)

Polymer Bob
07-11-2010, 10:50 PM
The way I look at the "was robbed" talk is like this. Evan beat Evgeni by 1.31 points. Let's say for the sake of discussion that Evgeni won by 1.31 points. Would anyone be saying that Evan was robbed? Possibly. But the fact is, their performances were so close that there is no way to objectively tell whose was better.

orbitz
07-11-2010, 11:16 PM
The way I look at the "was robbed" talk is like this. Evan beat Evgeni by 1.31 points. Let's say for the sake of discussion that Evgeni won by 1.31 points. Would anyone be saying that Evan was robbed? Possibly. But the fact is, their performances were so close that there is no way to objectively tell whose was better.

I think there definitely would have been call of wuzrobbed if Plushy had won with that performance. There were just one too many tilted jumps with abrupt landings in his program, whereas Evan's was smooth as buttuh in a program filled with transitions.

Polymer Bob
07-11-2010, 11:49 PM
I think there definitely would have been call of wuzrobbed if Plushy had won with that performance. There were just one too many tilted jumps with abrupt landings in his program, whereas Evan's was smooth as buttuh in a program filled with transitions.

You might be right. But why did Evan's "smooth as buttuh" performance just win by 1.31 points? Just one judge, looking from a slightly different angle, could have tipped the scale in a different direction. The judges did not see Evan as clearly superior to Evgeni.