Last night, Evan Lysacek won the gold medal in men’s figure skating, and in doing so busted the long-time Russian monopoly on the sport. It’s no wonder, then, that a Russian had a few choice words for Lysacek after the competition. Evgeny Plushenko, the silver medalist, said that "you can't be considered a true men's champion without a quad," referring to the fact that he did a quadruple jump while Lysacek chose not to try the risky move. "For someone to stand on top of the podium with the gold medal around his neck by just doing triple jumps, to me it's not progress, it's a regress because we've done triples 10 or even 20 years ago." Well, Geny (can I call you that?), maybe if you wouldn't have been so shaky on your triples, the ones you've been doing for so long, you would have won.
During the awards ceremony, the Russian looked like a teenager being forced to sit through his sister’s piano recital.
But Plushenko wasn’t the only Eurasian to take a few jabs at the Stars and Stripes. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Plushenko that he “would like to sincerely congratulate you on the wonderful Olympic performance -- your silver is worth gold." Actually, Vlad, it’s worth silver. The guy standing on the top shelf – his name is Evan -- is the one with gold. And I don’t think a Russian politician has any right to say what anything is worth: see Soviet price controls, hyperinflation, Nomenklatura, etc.
A Russian news show brought up how Sarah Hughes stole the gold medal from Irina Slutskaya back in the Salt Lake Games of 2002. The commentator went on to say "who now remembers Hughes? Similarly, in a few years' time nobody will remember Lysacek while Plushenko would go down in history as one of the greatest of all time." Okay, comrade, you are right. Who could forget the most hideous haircut this side of Kate Gosselin? That is indeed the greatest use of bangs of all time.
The Korean War
And we can’t forget about our dear friends, the Korean speed skaters. Once again, they have elbowed their way into the press with tales of “mistreatment” and undeserved American medals. They claim that Apolo Ohno shouldn’t have received a medal in the 1500 short track race. The gold medalist, Lee Jung-Su said that "Ohno didn't deserve to stand on the same medal platform as me. I was so enraged that it was hard for me to contain myself during the victory ceremony."
Enraged, huh? Like the “rage” that Roy Jones, Jr. should have felt in 1988 when your Olympic committee bought a Korean victory in boxing? I don’t remember him saying that he couldn’t contain himself during the ceremony, and I don’t remember any toilet paper being sold with the Korean winner’s likeness printed on it or video games that allowed us to shoot him in the head. Too bad Ohno can’t say the same.
The short track team had to withdraw from the 2003 World Cup being held in Korea because of death threats. How would that have played out if it involved, say, the German basketball team withdrawing from a tournament in Pasadena because of American animosity? It would have sparked a global outcry and probably UN sanctions.
Team USA has become the whipping boy for nasty comments and international hatred. I guess we’ll just have to sit back and take it during the Olympics. But at least we’ll look good -- in our ski pants that look like blue jeans and our shiny gold medals. Congrats Evan, job well done. Go enjoy some apple pie.