Elvis sings blues over men's skating

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency



When hockey players circle each other before a fight, they drop their gloves. What happens when figure skaters square off for battle? The glitter comes off? The unitard is rolled up? The claws pop out?

Whatever the case, the web exploded Friday after Canuck figure skating legend Elvis Stojko wrote an item headlined “The night they killed figure skating” on his blog, calling out men’s figure skating gold medallist Evan Lysacek of the United States and asserting that silver medallist Evgeni Plushenko should have been atop the podium.

“Sorry, Evan Lysacek,” wrote Stojko. “You’re a great skater and all. But that wasn’t Olympic champion material.”

Stojko’s comments spread like wildfire online, and while some figure skating fans wholeheartedly agree with him, it seems many others feel Stojko has skated over the line between passion and reason.

In a post titled “The day Elvis Stojko killed logic,” figure skating blog www.requiredelements.com says Stojko has gone too far: “Don’t just essentially say that skating is dead because Plushenko did this one awesome jumping pass but he lost anyway,” they write.

“Elvis didn’t win (gold) either. I guess he’s still not over it,” quips one fan on Entertainment Weekly’s Popwatch blog. And then there’s this comment on gay sports site www.outsports.com: “‘The night they killed figure skating?’ For such a proud heterosexual, Elvis Stojko sure is a drama queen.”

To no surprise, the perpetually cocky Plushenko agreed with Stojko’s comments. “Just doing nice transitions and being artistic is not enough because figure skating is a sport, not a show,” he told a Russian TV station.

But is it? I’m in the camp that often wonders how figure skating is an Olympic sport in the first place. I know there’s a lot of skill and athleticism involved, but it’s just so … flashy. And dancey. And based on what are ultimately subjective scores by judges who sometimes make bad calls.

Heck, maybe Stojko and I are on the same page. “I am going to watch hockey, where athletes are allowed to push the envelope,” he wrote. “A real sport.”

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Speaking of hockey, if I were ever allowed to leave my home during the Olympics, I’d probably watch the Canada vs. USA men’s hockey game at some local watering hole. But if you’re not crazy about getting beer spilled all over you whenever Sid the Kid scores, check out what Cineplex has going on.

For about $10 per day, you can watch the primo Olympic events on a big, big screen with like-minded fans at more than 60 Cineplex movie theatre locations across the country. ($30 gets you a pass for the duration of the Olympics, plus 200 SCENE points.) The passes include full in-and-out privileges, and since some theatres have bars in their lobbies, well, you figure it out. HE SCORES!

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Steve Tilley is following the Olympics experience on TV and on the web throughout the Winter Games. You can e-mail him at steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca or follow him on Twitter at @stevetilley.

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