"Izvestia" April 4, 2003
By Igor Poroshin

The gold of Evgeni Plushenko is the highest achievement of the Russian figure skating at the World Championship ended in Washington. With the two-timed World champion our reporter Igor Poroshin talked after his triumph.

- Your skating in Washington left the contradictory impression at most of watchers. Nobody doubts the legitimacy of your victory but a lot of people are astonished with what you won to American Timothy Goeble not with a knockout, but just with the score, using the box terminology.

- I don't know who those watchers are and how my skating looked from the side. According my own feeling I won with a big stock. And don't put me near Timothy Goeble - I have absolutely another level of skating.

- That level is unattainable for him?

- Still, yes.

- But you agree with what as a jumper he was stronger than you in Washington?

- No. In his long program he performed two quads indeed, but he hadn't 4-3-2 combination. And then, if in my program there weren't another quads, that doesn't mean I can't do them. I regularly perform at practice a quad salchow and a quad lutz. Next season, if the health allows me, those elements will sure be in my programs. We'll move the figure skating ahead.

- That is you'll put a quad lutz in your program not because of feeling danger at all?

- What danger?

- Danger to lose.

- I'm not afraid to lose, because I understand one can't win every time and because of I can lose. I think simply: I'm 20 years old and I'm two-timed World Champion. Everything goes quite not badly, where is the danger?

- Was it easy to lose the Olympics?

- Two day after Olympic short program were perhaps the most difficult time in my life┘. That unthinkable, explained by nothing mistake on quad toeloop, when I opened after three spins. But I myself was astonished how soon I recovered - I skated my long program on my level. And then, when your parents and friends for all the time repeat to you: "It's not your last Olympics, Zhenya," - you begin to believe them. That's true, not the last one.

- But you absence at Worlds in Nagano last year looked like a tactical maneuver, like a proof of what you need some rehabilitating period.

- Absolutely right. It was a rehabilitating period. I had problems with a bone in my right knee. It became to grow. A doctor talked about the operation, but at the same time gave no guarantees. Mishin and I have been thinking for a long time, but in the end refused the surgical treatment. But for that moment I had some preparatory procedures, injections were done and my knee was big. There was no possibility to participate in Worlds.

- Now after a year passed by, can you say how the Olympics were for you if you didn't fall in the short program?

- I'd become an Olympic champion.

- Was it a mistake to change the long program a month before the Games?

- No. The program which was called by Mishin and me "The Life of an Artist" wasn't taken well by the judges and wasn't understood well by the audience. Lately I, by the way, skated it in Germany at exhibitions and was proved in it once more. The reaction of the audience was restrained.

- Now you stay in America for two-months tour. Almost every day you will participate in the ice show. You don't fear that after such a long and monotonous work you'll be tired of figure skating and that tiredness will be very hard to overcome?

- On the contrary that tour feeds me with emotions. I skate in huge arenas with a lot of audience. I like it.

- You don't plan to move to America, because of almost all your professional interests related to this country?

- Once I seriously thought about it. But the more I travel for the world, the more I love my home and Peter [St.Petersburg]. I don't want to deprive myself that happiness - coming home.

- Now coming home is still more pleasing - in St.Petersburg, as far as I know, you found your love. There is a lot of theories about what happens with a athlete when he's in love. What does your experience tell?

- I won this season the Worlds, the Europeans and the Grand-Prix Final. What can one add?

- Coaches often react badly to the loves of their pupils┘

- In the case if the pupils begin being late to the practice of leaving it as soon as possible. It's not my case.

- For me it's still a mystery how two men with such different tempers like you and Mishin can get along?

- Just because that difference we can get along. We never quarrel the way not speaking after that. We don't get tired with each other, we can call each other for 10-15 times a day.

- As regards to Yagudin you're so different as well - Mishin's face changed, if he hears the name of Yagudin┘

- I can only assume, why Mishin so painfully takes everything dated to Yagudin - he brought up him, trained him and was abandoned by him. As for me you can pronounce his [Yagudin] name even for one hundred times, my mood won't change out of that.

- Yagudin promises to come back next season. What will change for you with his coming? Will it be more difficult for you?

- Perhaps, because he's a good athlete, a fighter. But I can say, that for him it will be also more difficult than it was used to. Everybody has achieved a lot - Goeble, Honda and Weiss, which had an unlucky performance at Worlds, but at the practice he show simply miracles. I tell you as an eyewitness.

- What do people mean saying that Plushenko turned up his nose?

- I'll tell you. Sometimes you're going to the practice, tuning, thinking over something in your head. At such minutes it's happened sometimes that you take no notice of someone, don't say hi to someone. Well, and people who were accidentally unnoticed by me, then talk to the whole world that Plushenko became arrogant. I try to treat people as well as I treat myself. And I treat myself well.

Translated by Yulya (Pyatatchiok)



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