Jeremy Abbott

Make it or break it: Can Johnny pull out all the stops?

Make it or break it: Can Johnny pull out all the stops?

Johnny rocks the tassle in the men’s figure skating short program on day 5 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Pacific Coliseum on February 16, 2010. Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

Scoring 82.10 for his short program (view here), Johnny is current in 6th place. Tonight, he skates second to last…right before Russian rockstar and defending gold Olympic medalist Evgeni Plushenko.

Despite having skated a clean short program, Johnny knows he’s not the favorite, at least not by commentators and judges. Even NBC’s coverage of the games couldn’t make that more clear; they produced two interstitial pieces featuring Evan Lysacek and Jeremy Abbott…but there wasn’t one featuring Johnny. With the top three competitors (Plushenko in first, Lysacek in second, and Daisuke Takahashi of Japan in third) only several tenths of a point away from each other, his nearly nine point difference from Plushenko’s 90.85 seems impossible to beat.

Weir Roundup: Olympic Fever!

Weir Roundup: Olympic Fever!

Johnny gets competitive. Image courtesy of NBC.

With Johnny performing his short program tomorrow and his free skate on Wednesday, Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic discuss the strength of the U.S. men’s figure skaters. It’s a loaded competition field for the men, where about nine skaters are believed to be contenders for the three top slots. Johnny is slated to perform in the 5th group, the 25th slot in 30. Don’t miss his performance; check out local listings here.

Reigning Olympic champion and this year’s favorite to win Evgeni Plushenko of Russia raises questions of bias in figure skating judging.

Also, with Plushenko’s return from retirement (he left the sport after this gold win in Torino, was out of the sport for three years, then came back this season just to compete in the Olympics once again), other male figure skaters ask themselves: to quad or not to quad? While landing a quad can mean big points, not landing it can bring a bigger penalty than it’s worth. Execution of the quad jump embodies not only high risk, but how the sport’s new judging system, according to some critics, has favored technicality over artistry and expression.

Check out video of Johnny practicing the quad, his interview with both Wall Street Journal and HBO Real Sports, after the jump.

Go Johnny, GO!  Weir secures a spot on Olympic team

Go Johnny, GO! Weir secures a spot on Olympic team

Ladies and gentlemen, the US Olympic team for men’s figure skating: (L to R) Jeremy Abbott, Johnny Weir, and Evan Lysacek. After skating a solid short program and having a few slip ups during his free skate program, Johnny Weir finished an overall third place in the U.S. Nationals for men’s figure skating and secured…