"Peterburgsky Kalendar" February 2003
By Kirill Legkov

From all figure skating tops to his 20th anniversary he hasn't conquered only one - Olympic. But that's him who's called the golden boy and considered the example for copying. Evgeni Plushenko from St.Petersburg is the main star of Grand Prix Final.


- At the absence of Alexey Yagudin we often hear talks about the main intrigue in men single skating is lost, because Plushenko has nobody to compete with.

- That's not true. There are a lot of very strong skaters - Timothy Goeble, Michael Weiss, Alexander Abt┘ I can's say that Yagudin is my only contender.

- Nevertheless at Euros you did just what was need to win, but no more┘

- There wasn't the need to jump higher the head [to do super-efforts]. Before the competitions I had flu and there I needed just clean skating.

- In Malmo you, judging by photos, played soccer. Is it your hobby?

- Yes, we played mini-soccer with other skaters. Mainly Russian ones.

- You don't fear to get the injury?

- We play without power fighting.

- You favorite soccer player?

- I like Shevchenko, Kerzhakov, Arshavin. From foreign ones - Ronaldo, Zidan.

- Perhaps you heard that Ronaldo before every match uses casual sex as doping. And how do you prepare for competitions?

- Sex? I think it just can prevent. Although all athletes are different, perhaps to someone sex helps. But I prepare in another way.

- How?

- It's a secret.

- Is your personal estimation of your performance different with judges' opinion?

- For last 5 years they almost always coincided. I'm thankful to judges for what they love me, really love.

- In Malmo there was the new system of judging. What do you think about it?

- To my mind even the judges themselves didn't understand that system completely. Now from 14 marks you've got by judges, computer automatically through away 5 and you get to know your result. What is the principle to through away nobody knows. In Malmo that system was discussed a lot, but the one opinion wasn't found. If the experiment will be continued I don't know.


- After Olympics some judges were accused of dealing with "the Russian mafia". Do you believe in it?

- I don't. It's not my occupation. My business - figure skating. But who pays to whom and who's Taivanchik's friend - isn't my business. [Taivanchik - a businessman Alimzhan Tohtahunov accused in judges payoff at Olympics 2002.]

- Why do people invent so mush fables about figure skaters?

- You need to ask them who invent. Some athletes like the attention to their private life, but I'm not one of them

- Do journalists tire you much?

- Lately yes.

- What is the most absurd rumor about yourself did you hear?

- Some a TV channel said that I quarreled with Mishin and I left him slamming the door.

- Also people say that at Tarasova celebration you and Mishin refused to stand up to drink for her health.

- Hm┘ I don't remember this.

- It was told by psychologist Rudolf Zagainov who helped Yagudin at Olympics.

- Well, let him tell further.

- They say he's not a psychologist, but I real demon, who hypnotized you at competitions.

- I don't know him as a specialist. I know that he went after Yagudin, suggested him something, but that didn't concern me. I just did an absurd mistake in my short program, which prevented me to win.

- On Zagainov's opinion Mishin shouldn't tell you that Yagudin is helped by a man who was removed from the room because he hypnotized Karpov when he played with Kasparov. He said you were afraid out of that and became falling.

- I can't be afraid of anybody. When I come to ice I concentrate only to my performance. If a skater while skating thinks about the audience, his parents, brother, sister or dog he failed. And I didn't even talk with Mishin about Zagainov.

- You and Yagudin had one coach, lived in one city┘ Who turned a rivalry into a war?

- War? I wouldn't use that word. I think that argue between skaters can be only on ice. If you put skates off - be a friend, talk. If you do not want - go aside. It's happened so that when I came to St. Petersburg Liosha Yagudin took me not too friendly. I submitted it and never thrust myself upon him as a friend. I came to ice and there fought with him, but he fought with me in life. But now all that is left in the past. When I meet Yagudin, we say hello to each other, sometimes play soccer, tennis.


- Tell about you new program. Why did you leave so soon Carmen, which was skated only at Olympics?

- I skated Carmen not only at Olympics but also at the commercial tour. For 4 months I skated it in America 93 times! So I can't say the life of that program was short. For that season I prepared two new programs. Adagio by Albinoni music and Criminal St.Petersburg by Igor Korneliuk music. The music, which Igor composed for the film itself, didn't fit us. We tried this way and that, already wanted to refuse it, but at the last moment Korneliuk did the final variation, for what we're thankful to him very much.

- What is the new in your program?

- We returned to the classics, to the ballet. We were helped by Valery Mihailovsky and a choreographer Kirill Simonov.

- You said good-bye to your former choreographers?

- We still work with Edvald Smirnov, but David Avdysh has the break.

- But why do you need choreographers? Now the figure skating looks like athletics - whose jump will be better. Do you agree?

- Yes, the demands to the technique increased a lot lately. Without it you're nothing. The beauty of skating is taken as the minor thing.

- What things does a skater should do to win the gold?

- Everybody has his own trump - the technique of jumps, or artistry, or the technique of spirals or the technique of steps. If the skater can do all that it's great. But anyway the more quads - the better.

- Your coach once said: "We don't fix on the results, but move the figure skating ahead." What does it mean?

- Alexey Nikolaevich means that we make the figure skating better, master the new elements. Recently I for example did 4-3-3 combo. At Olympics it turned not too well, but at Cup of Russia I did it clean.


- Coach Mishin is something like a father for you. Where did he found you?

- I myself came to St.Petersburg. My figure skating school in Volgograd was closed and my first coach said: "Let's come to Peter" [St.Petersburg] There I was found by Mishin. He settled me in the flat where his pupils from Spain and Korea lived. And further I did everything myself.

- Is that true that you were born in taiga?

- Yes, in Solnechnoe village of Khabarovsk district - have you ever heard about this? It's on BAM, where my parents at the end of 70s came for making money. They built there the railroad and houses, then it was prestigious. And in a couple of years they returned to Volgograd.

- When did you feel that St.Petersburg became native for you?

- About five years ago. And when I just came here that I didn't even understood where I was. But gradually I get accustomed.

- Where do you spend you leisure time?

- I go to nightclubs seldom. If we gather together that we go to "Akvatoria", "Metro" or "Plaza". I love bowling, billiard.

- You're a student of Lesgaft Academy of Physical Culture. Do you have enough of time to study?

- Of course, I don't. But this year my torments are over - I will get the diploma.

- Of what speciality?

- Coach.

- You really want it or it's just in case?

- Now in amateur figure skating you can't be for a long time. Need to think about the future. When I stop skating perhaps I'll take pupils, will train them.

- Do you already read the special books?

- Now I read mainly youth magazines. Or mysteries.

- Do you drive?

- Yes. At the age of 16 I bought Volkswagen, at 17 - Toyota Land Cruiser, then sporty Audi S4 and Mersedez of E-class. Then I sold almost all of them and also I bought for my parents RAF-4.

- What else do you collect?

- Cold-arms. About 4 year ago I saw in one magazine a beautiful sword and bought it. When Mishin got to know about it, he himself became presenting me arms - knives, axes.

- When you take your future wife to your home she'll be afraid┘

- I took your hint. Women who love me should know I love them too. And don't forget them.

- Marriage isn't in your plans?

- No. My heart is still free.

Translated by Yulya (Pyatatchiok)



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