The resounding performance of self-declared two-time Olympic champion and coach Evgeni Plushenko remains the center of attention for figure skating fans. Watching the situation develop, I dare say: this was not just a heartfelt cry associated with the results of the junior championship of Russia.
We agreed on an interview with Plushenko the day before, but after the end of the competition for juniors, Evgeny Viktorovich called all accredited journalists in the mixed district. And he repeated almost word for word what he said in an interview with RIA Novosti Sport. Unless they reinforce an already loud statement, promising to return not only to the leaders of the FFKKR and the Ministry of Sports, but also to Vladimir Putin. Really serious?
The story that happened at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver immediately came to mind. There, a student of Alexei Mishin, who did two quadruple jumps in a free program, unexpectedly and very disappointingly lost to the American Ivan Lysacek, who had never jumped a quad. Only together with the coach very competently formed his program, taking into account all the nuances of the rules of that time.
Then what started! In Russia, fans of Plushenko did not go to the show with posters “Our Zhenya is sued.” There was even a gold medal awarded to his pet after he returned from Canada. Meanwhile, at a reception for athletes by the leaders of the International Olympic Committee, Plushenko approached then-IOC President Jacques Rogge and directly raised the question of whether he should be awarded a second gold medal. Salt Lake City is steaming after the scandal at sporting events.
At the traditional daily briefing, Rogge asked how the Russian figure skater reacted to such a call. “Pushenko, of course, is a great athlete, but no one is going to change the rules, even for great athletes,” replied the IOC president, “And it’s not worth making comparisons with Salt Lake City. There was pressure on one of the referees.”
Plushenko himself remembered this two years ago when he unfairly judged the results of the Russian senior skaters championship, which Sofia Titova lost to Eteri Tutberidze’s student Alisa Dvoeglazova. The mother of figure skater Lydia Toropova, who led her page on the social network, took up this topic. He unfairly denounced refereeing from his point of view. And also made analogies with Vancouver.
Nothing fundamentally new happened in Perm. Unless there is a threat to allow the students of the “Plushenko Angels” to pass to the national teams of other countries. But now the best skaters of the Academy of the two-time Olympic champion are not even 15 now. Given the new ISU age limit for transitioning from juniors to seniors, they will not be able to compete in World Championships, Europe or the Four Continents anytime soon. The big question is whether there are federations that want to strengthen their youth teams.
In Russia, they attach great importance to victories at the junior level. In other countries they are quite calm about this and expect the growth of athletes. And there is no such state support anywhere in our country. Of course, it should be taken into account that Plushenko’s Angels is a private school, but it is unlikely that he will earn much from the ice shows to cover the expenses of raising future champions.
The theme of refereeing in figure skating competitions is eternal. But should athletes themselves (especially 14-year-olds) and even deserving, well-deserved coaches comment on points? At the Olympics in Beijing, two similar situations were immediately remembered: the dissatisfaction of Alexandra Trusova, who did not understand how it is possible not to win with five-fours, and the bewilderment of Alexandra Boikova and Dmitry Kozlovsky, who said that they took higher notes in young people. But how different was the sequel!
Trusova has changed her coach, noting several times that Beijing has changed her worldview, but last season she didn’t even come close to her unique content. But Tamara Moskvina’s students came to conclusions. They visibly complicated their programs by learning new elements and showing them in competitions. And in Krasnoyarsk they became the champions of Russia. And this is now more difficult than winning the European Championship and indeed the world.
All great coaches emphasize that you need to be two heads taller than your opponents so as not to rely on the sympathy of the referees. And they do everything possible for their students to rise to such heights. Meanwhile, after Vancouver, both Plushenko and Mishin made certain efforts with the help of FFKKR officials to lobby for an increase in the cost of quad jumps. It was a much more efficient way to get a second Olympic gold medal than approaching Rogge directly. Plushenko won in Sochi.
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