The Problem of Evan Lysacek

Figure skating is a very subjective sport. There are figure skaters you like and figure skaters you don’t like but I try to give all of them a chance every time they compete to get into my good books (not that getting into my good books means anything); however, there is a very, very small minority that are so incorrigible that they are on my blacklist. So far, there are 3 skaters on that list and the only way they can get off that list is through a very, very specific form of redemption. 1 has a chance of getting off that list if he deflates his head and ego, the second can have her name struck off the list if she quits and does something good in the world through her brains rather than her boring figure skating.

The third name on the list, Evan Lysacek, will remain there until the end of time. His Olympic gold medal “achievement” in Vancouver is something I try to forget or I may forever lose my faith in the sport. What’s wrong with Lysacek you ask? Well, his personality  and “bro-gate” scandal (as lovingly named by the wonderful people on ontd_skating) aside, this is my biggest problem with his skating: it’s so predictable. In fact…

Recipe for an Evan Lysacek Program:

  1. Black Costume (or mostly black – though there are a few exceptions) with a fake orange tan
  2. Dramatic and/or overused music
  3. Camel-sit-canonball/pancake/shotgun combination spin
  4. Angsty hair groping AND/OR self-touching
  5. The reenactment of a seizure on ice AND/OR superfluous arm movements
  6. Wonky triple axel technique

Mix all of them together and you get one of his programs. Repeat for every year he decides to compete. The program will make you look like a giant contorting epileptic spider on the ice, but if everybody else screws up, you might just win the competition.

Case AND point:

I decided to take a look at this when Aunt Joyce posted it on his blog and I laughed when I watched it. Evan’s freestyle dance had, without fail, seizure-like arm waving and random high kicks.

I believe they got the lowest score for the freestyle portion that night…

Anyways, let’s end on a high note; in other words, a palate cleanser. A student of Frank Carroll who actually deserved to win Olympic gold. In my heart, she’s wins it every time she skates.

~The Rinkside Cafe


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Noodlre
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 18:12:58

    Regardless of what you may think of Evan Lysacek, his performance style is well-liked by many, especially the judges, because he does not win only when other people mess up. If you not aware of that, you haven’t been paying attention. Besides, that is the whole point of competition. You win because other competitors DO mess up and you don’t. At 2009 Worlds, people were out of their seats 10 seconds before Evan finished his program, while still in the sit spin, and he wasn’t wearing black, but a navy blue tuxedo. You just don’t like him because he is better than your beloved JGWeird who has never skated a program worth a win since his first Nationals gold in 2004.


    • rinksidecafe
      Jan 12, 2011 @ 20:46:41

      If I recall correctly, 2009 Worlds was in his Los Angeles, which was Evan Lysacek’s hometown so he was going to get a standing ovation – as did all the Canadians during the Vancouver Olympics (I’ve seen people give Patrick Chan a standing ovation when he fell twice at Skate Canada last year) and the Italians at 2010 Worlds – whether he performed well or not. Both his wins at 2009 Worlds and the Olympics involved his main competitors messing up. Yes, I do realize that competition does mean performing well when your competitors screw up, but that is an unfortunate way to win. Winning when everyone was at their best – especially in figure skating since it involves less splatfests – is something that I don’t feel Evan has done. His blue tuxedo, I believe was a deviation from his regular costumes and I think many of his fans on FSU were rather shocked (in an amused way) by it.

      As for his style, I stand by my opinion. Epilepsy on ice is not fun to watch but you may find that very avant garde or artistic if you wish. I don’t mind a difference in opinion, that’s what makes the world an interesting and confusing place.

      On the topic of Johnny, I will admit to liking his lyrical style better than Evan’s but my favourite U.S. in terms of style is Jeremy Abbott. I don’t feel that Johnny hasn’t “skated a program worth a win” since 2004. His programs for the Olympics were rather well constructed (to say that they weren’t would be an insult to David Wilson, who is an excellent choreographer) and skated rather well during the season. I do believe, though that he has sadly been a victim to the politicking of the USFSA.

      Also, Johnny has a flamboyant personality and I’m sure many people find him weird but then again, I consider myself to be weird but in different ways. If the implication was that he is weird because of his sexual orientation, however, then I will tell now that firstly, homophobia is not accepted at the Rinkside Cafe and if you do decide to reply with a homophobic comment, then I *will* remove it.


  2. jecava
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 02:38:48

    I didn’t even bother watching the programs you posted of his, I know I couldn’t sit through all four in a row, but I remember watching all of them so I definitely see your point. He is not on my blacklist but he certainly isn’t one of my favorites. In fact, I’m rather indifferent to his skating and his win in Vancouver because the competition that night wasn’t exactly stellar.

    What I guess I really dislike is that he never took any chances, and I’m not talking about the quad. Back at 2007 Nats I thought his skating was decent even if his choreography was a bit silly. It did have a good energy to it but then when he continued choosing overused music and the weird arm-waving choreography, I stopped caring at all about his skating. I was at the Staples Center in 2009 and the hometown excitement in the arena was pretty contagious, especially since Abbott (who is also my favorite male U.S. skater) did so poorly. But it was easy to see he was going the safe route again, sticking with the same (by now) tired choreography and uninspiring music choice.

    I actually don’t have much of a problem with skaters using the same music if they can bring an original, fresh, and personal touch to it, which Evan never did. To me it seemed that his skating did not have much of his (or any) real personality to it. Instead, I was actually thinking of other skaters’ interpretations of that music while he was skating (usually MK but also Kulik, Witt, etc.) He was so formulaic in his skating, you didn’t even really have to pay attention all that much. It’s not a good sign if you can come up with a recipe for all of a skater’s programs, and, especially in Lysacek’s case, I don’t believe this can be entirely due to the IJS.


  3. Mr. Drummond
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 19:35:04

    Who are the other two skaters you hate? I’m guessing Johnny Weir and Rachael Flatt?


  4. Mr. Drummond
    Mar 07, 2011 @ 21:27:21

    I like Chan’s skating actually. But he really sticks his foot in his mouth when he speaks sometimes. It makes me wonder if he has Tourette’s.

    Poor Rachael. She looks 15 years older than she really is. And she has no neck.


    • rinksidecafe
      Mar 07, 2011 @ 22:33:25

      I have a whole spate of videos downloaded onto my computer from youtube. Some of these aren’t available on youtube anymore and I will admit, that I do have Chan’s 4CC SP from 2009.

      Chan is talented but unfortunately, figure skating is a super subjective sport and the stuff he says just ticks me off. His ridiculous scores and the fact that I have to listen to nauseating reports of his brilliantness (I think he’s talented but not quite World champion material just yet) because I’m Canadian makes me want to throw something. The latter two “faults” are, admittedly, not his fault but they only exacerbate my ill feelings towards him for saying things like Plushenko is “old”. I admit the guy has crap Mishin choreo but you don’t bash someone who was once one of the most epic skaters of his time. One of the kings in fact. I grew up with the Plushy-Yagudin rivalry and even though I didn’t understand the sport as I do now, I remember the thrill of watching those two compete, constantly wondering which one of them would win. To me, bashing Plushenko or Yagudin is like a pop star bashing MJ or an operatic soprano bashing Maria Callas.


      • Mr. Drummond
        Mar 08, 2011 @ 21:53:30

        I thought bombing at the Olys in his home country would be a humbling experience for him. Not.

  5. Anna Veras
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 06:52:30

    I thought Evan was fantastic and quite charming on Dancing with the Stars. The freestyle was really the only bad dance he had, the only awkward one. And the judges penalized him accordingly.


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