For Arakawa, it was possibly the performance of her life, and unlike the other top skaters, she hit every one of her moves. When she finished her routine, I said, without any prompting from the NBC commentators, "That's probably your gold medal there, baring a perfect night from Irina Slutskaya," because Sasha Cohen had made mistakes on her routine already. Slutskaya presumably knew when she came on the ice that she needed to skate a flawless performance in this, her last chance at Olympic gold. (At 28, she's considered an old lady when it comes to figure skating. Looking at her, I would have never guessed her to be that old. She looks like a teenager, or maybe a 20-year-old, to me. Maybe I am getting old.) She didn't get the performance she wanted. In fact, she made enough mistakes to end up slipping to third, so Cohen backed in to a silver metal, and Arakawa took gold.
The new scoring system is supposed to reward the best skater on the night, the one with the best performance, not just someone with a big reputation. From my non-technical point of view, it appears to have succeeded.