Comments can't tarnish Lysacek's gold

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia --- Time and again, Evan Lysacek was grilled about Evgeni Plushenko slamming his performance and quibbling about the quad, how even government leaders in Russia are crying foul over the finish in the men's final. Time and again, Lysacek sidestepped the bickering.

American Evan Lysacek relied on high-level steps, spins and jumps to win the gold medal in men's figure skating Thursday.   Associated Press
Associated Press
American Evan Lysacek relied on high-level steps, spins and jumps to win the gold medal in men's figure skating Thursday.

Nothing the American said would be better than the answer hanging around his neck.

"All I know is he's been really positive to me and been a really consistent skater through the years, and I've tried to learn from that," Lysacek said Friday morning, still basking in the glow of his Olympic gold medal. "I guess I'm a little disappointed someone who I saw as my role model would take a hit at me in one of the most special moments of my life."

Lysacek became the first American man since Brian Boitano to win the Olympic gold Thursday night, taking down reigning champ Plushenko in the process.

Though Lysacek is the world champion, it was an upset the likes of which figure skating rarely sees. Plushenko, who ended a three-year retirement with the sole goal of winning gold, hadn't finished anywhere but first since the 2004 European championships. He was the defending Olympic gold medalist and silver medalist in 2002, and a three-time world champion.

And Plushenko had the all-important quad, the four-revolution jump that's been a must-have for every Olympic men's champion.

"Quad is quad. If the Olympic champion doesn't know how to jump the quad, I don't know," Plushenko said afterward. "Now it's not men's figure skating, it's dancing. That's my point."

Yet Lysacek beat the Russian -- handily. Lysacek's career-best 257.67 points was 1.31 better than Plushenko. Even more grating to the Russian's camp, Lysacek beat Plushenko on the technical mark, the score for jumps, spins and footwork that's practically been his personal property.

Though Lysacek said Plushenko congratulated him and Plushenko himself said later he was satisfied with his silver -- only one male figure skater, Sweden's Gillis Grafstrom, has more Olympic medals -- others weren't quite so restrained. This is, after all, figure skating, and no Olympics is complete without at least one juicy catfight.

Asked whether he'll go for a second gold in Sochi (Russia) four years from now, Lysacek smiled.

"I don't think they would love to see me there, to be quite honest," he said.


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