2010 Winter Olympic Figure Skating Mens Event

Quad vs. no quad, skating skills vs jumps, artistry vs jumps... the subject of debate following the Men's figure skating competition. What was it that put Evan Lysacek ahead of Evgeni Plushenko who did a quad in his program?

Some have said it was the fact that Evan was more artistic. Others have said it was the fact that Evans's skating skills throughout the rest of his program were better. The truth is, the total value of Evan's jumps was higher than the total value of Evgeni 's

As you can see in the table below there are many components to a freeskate program. Each of the items is called an element which means the quad jump is one of 13 elements.

There are actually eight jump "passes" in the program three of which can be combination jumps. That means there can be a total of 12 jumps in the program. This means that Evgeni's quad is only one of 12 possible jumps.

Another important fact in scoring jumps is that any jump performed after the halfway mark in the program gets a bonus of 10% because it is more difficult to jump the further you get into a program.

Men's Freeskate Requirements
Items with * are required elements.
(Men Max 8)
1 must be an Axel-type jump *
Number of jumps in jump sequence is not limited.
2 triples or quads may be repeated, but must be in combo or sequence
3 double axel max as solo jump or in combo/sequence
Combos Max 3 combos or sequences
Combos limited to 2 jumps, but one 3 jump combo is permitted.
(Max 3)
1 flying entry *
1 spin combination; w/without change of foot*
1 spin with only 1 position *
Min 6 rev; 10 for combo; min 2 revs in position
All spins may change feet and start with a fly
Spins must be of a different nature

Step Sequences
(Max 2)

Straight line, circular, or serpentine *
If two sequences are performed, they must be different step sequences

Every jump has a base value. For example a triple Axel (3.5 turns) is worth 8.2 points and a quad Toeloop (4 turns) is worth 9.8. More details on jump scoring. When you do two jumps together in combination there base values are added together. If you add a third jump you add the points for the jump.
Differences in the two programs

A figure skating program has two main scores. First is the technical elements score (TES) which is based on the value of elements, in this case 13 elements, of the skater's program. The second score is the Program Components Score (PCS) which measures six components like skating skills, transitions, and interpretation.

While some argue that Evan won because of his artistry this is simply not the case. Evan and Evgeni had exactly the same PCS score of 82.80.

The real difference was in the value of the jumps. The table below shows why the total of the base values of Evan's jumps is higher than Evgeni's.

  Evan Lysacek Evgeni Plushenko
Total Jumps 12 11
Jumps after halfway mark 8 4
Total Base Value for Jumps 58.23 53.33
As for spins, all three of Evans spins were level 4 and one of Evgeni's was a level 3. To find out more about the scoring of figure skating spins check here.
Both of Evgeni's footwork sequences were level 3 while Evan's first was level 4 and second was level 3. To undestand how footwork is scored check here.
So in the end it was that fact that Evan had more jumps and more of them after the half way mark that placed him above Evgeni. His program was well put together and required a disciplined and well trained skater to carry it out.

The fact the the judges gave them both the same PCS score is the outrage to me. Evan skated much better PCS wise. He skated like he had been training for four years. Evgeny skated like he got out of bed a few months ago and decided to skate at the Olympics. I am sorry but that is what it looked like to me. I watched both programs several times on DVR. Evan turned harder, on deeper edges, with more extension, power, and speed.

Athletes should look at their score sheets and see what went wrong before blaming the judges. If they find something wrong with the score they have a right to petition the panel. Don't go petition to the media when there is nothing there!

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