G.0.A.T. in men's skating? Let the debate begin

  Dick Button soars above the ice in his gold-medal skate at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.  He won again in 1952. (Getty Images)

Dick Button soars above the ice in his gold-medal skate at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.  He won again in 1952. (Getty Images)

GANGNEUNG, South Korea - And now for one of those entertaining, irresoluble questions with answers certain to provoke incendiary reactions from supporters of the athletes involved:

Did becoming the first man since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952 to win consecutive Olympic gold medals make Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu the greatest men's singles skater of all time (aka the G.O.A.T.)?

 Yuzuru Hanyu is first since Dick Button to win consecutive Olympic men's singles golds.

Yuzuru Hanyu is first since Dick Button to win consecutive Olympic men's singles golds.

Or should that unofficial title still be bestowed on Button?

Or on Russia's Evgeni Plushenko, the only man since World War II to win individual singles medals at three Olympics (silver in 2002, gold in 2006, silver in 2010) while contributing significantly to the quadruple jump revolution and having to adapt to two entirely different judging systems?

And let's not forget Gillis Grafström of Sweden, who won three straight Olympic golds (1920, '24, '28) and then a silver in 1932.

Comparing achievements from different eras in the sport ultimately is a futile exercise, no matter how much fun it is.

"There's no common frame of reference," said Sandra Bezic, a 1972 Canadian Olympian, noted choreographer and longtime TV commentator.

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