The tribe has spoken, and I didn't even have to clap anyone in the stocks for moaning about mis-voting.
The winner is Alexei Yagudin, and Daisuke Takahashi is the runner up!
The original contestants were the last twelve men to win a World or Olympic championship. The final order of finish was:
Alexei Yagudin (1st)
Daisuke Takahashi (2nd)
Stéphane Lambiel (3rd)
Evgeni Plushenko (4th)
Ilia Kulik (5th)
Patrick Chan (6th)
Brian Joubert (7th)
Jeffrey Buttle (8th)
Elvis Stojko (9th)
Evan Lysacek (10th)
Todd Eldredge (11th)
Alexei Urmanov (12th)
I must confess that I engaged in a little strategic voting along the way. However, if it were up to me, I would have ranked them something like this:
Yagudin A great competitor who was able to deliver when it mattered, with style, class, and both artistic and technical ability that was close to the top. Maybe he wasn't the best in every single category of skills, but overall, he is clearly the best.
Chan He has the best skating skills and very difficult technical content. He isn't quite there yet on interpretation and performance and execution, but he's higher up on my list than some very, very good skaters.
Plushenko He does not appeal to my aesthetic, he apparently cannot incorporate transitions or decent choreography into his programs and still do all his big tricks, and, like many Russians, he has crappy sit spin positions, but his competitive record is formidable and, when he's on, he has the best jumps in the business.
Lambiel A tough call between him and Takahashi, but I give him the not because he has much more artistic range. He is one of several skaters on this list who I feel did not fully live up to his potential.
Takahashi If he were to win the next World Championship, I would rank him above Lambiel.
Lysacek Another tough call, but I would rank him over Kulik simply because he achieved more, and his non-jump elements are better. If he had worked on fixing his triple axel a couple of seasons earlier, this would be an easier call.
Kulik Too much of a flash in the pan for me to rank him any higher. Nice jumps and skating skills, though.
Joubert He gets the nod over Buttle just because he was much more consistent at the championship level. Oh, and he's a better jumper too. In my book, though, he's the biggest underachiever of these twelve.
Buttle The best of these at skating to music, which, on some level, is what the sport is all about. It's too bad he wasn't able to skate at the level he did in Gothenburg in 2008 more often.
Stojko By far the biggest overachiever here. His skating skills, non-jump elements, and presentation are inferior to all the others on this list. But he won three World Championships. A couple of the others didn't win any. So he goes here.
Eldredge Not much soul to his skating, but overall, his accomplishments are greater than Urmanov's.
Urmanov On paper, his competitive record isn't that much weaker than Kulik's. But Kulik's actual programs are that much better. It's a pity that his injuries kept him from achieving more.
Ask me again in a few months, and I might come up with a very different ranking.