Thursday, March 18

Elvis Stojko Rambles on About the Quad

Stojko: Quad is a must - from the Timmins Daily Press. Elvis Stojko was the two-time Olympic silver medalist (1994, 1998) who as of late seems to be on a rampage to promote the quadruple jump. He's been vocal that he feels Evgeny Plushenko deserved the gold in the Vancouver Olympics, and now throws these.. great.. quotes in:
"It's absolutely ridiculous that most of the guys didn't try (the quad) and that it's not being rewarded," Stojko said. "They say the whole competition can't be based on one jump, but let me tell you, it can.
"If you take out a quadruple, it makes the whole program at least 50% easier to do.
"People say it's not a jumping competition. Fine let's make it a recital, take it out of the Olympics and make it a dancing event because then it no longer has the difficulty and that's what's keeping it in the sport."
He also says that he's earned his right to speak about the topic, and that while he appreciates Johnny Weir's "effeminate" style, that type of skating isn't going to attract young boys to the sport because they need something to identify with... Stojko thinks that "something" is definitely not Johnny Weir.

I understand that Stojko sees it as a set-back in the sport when (putting on my thinking cap back to 2002 Olympics..) I believe that everyone in the top 11 in the free skate tried at least one quadruple jump in their program. Skaters like Alexei Yagudin, Plushenko, Timothy Goebel, Elvis himself, and Chengjiang Li were even trying, and landing, at least two quads. The highest-ranked skater that didn't attempt  a quadruple jump was 12th-place Kevin Van der Perren from Belgium, who I'm pretty sure had just learned the triple Axel right before the Salt Lake City Games.

What Stojko needs to realize, though, is that the system of judging has obviously completely changed-- I'm sure he is well aware and understands that. But he also has to understand that in 2002, pretty much every single footwork sequence and spin, whether it be a change-foot, flying spin, or combination spin, would be marked as a level one today because there was almost no effort put into many of these elements. The footwork took 10 seconds maximum for most skaters and it mostly involved turning in one direction; spins often had just enough revolutions to even count by the standards at the time, and without any of the variation we see today. I don't even do those elements and I can tell you that they obviously require more energy than previously, and he has to take that into consideration. And that's not even including any of the five program components... maybe I'll get into how 2002 programs looked vs. now some other time.

I don't think that the way judges look at the programs has changed THAT much, though. Look at fourth-place finisher Takeshi Honda from Japan and fifth-place finisher Alexander Abt from Russia. Honda fell out of his quadruple toe attempt, while Abt fell on it, yet both skaters easily stayed in front of Stojko in the free skate (even with Elvis' two quadruple toe loops). Why? Honda, in my opinion, had THE long program of that year-- it was absolutely amazing in every sense. Abt, if it weren't for his stamina problems, would have been right on-par with Honda but still also had a very strong all-around program. 

Also, he uses Johnny Weir as an example of what the judges like. Weir's clean short program and almost-clean free skate aside from an error on a spin landed him in sixth place in Vancouver-- I wouldn't say that the judges obviously go for his style. (I know I'm in the minority but) I felt he was marked right around where he should have been.

The ball-game has changed, Stojko. 

1 comment:

Gia_Sesshoumaru said...

I absolutely agree with Elivs. The quad should be given more weight, and I don't agree with the author who says that the ball game is changed. I think that taking out the importance of the quad puts too much emphasis on the artistry and not enough on the athletism. The sport should be going forward, not backward.