"SPORTclub" N1-2/2003
By Zifa Arhincheeva

[The allusion to the name of a very popular Russian movie "The Hussar Ballad".]

Click to see pics of little ZhenyaAt last our Kindergarten rubric got to the figure skating. What did prefer little Zhenechka Plushenko? Dances, hockey, girls? Was he a good boy or an 8-years-old smoker? Are you intrigued? Then - let's go to the children-room of the Olympic silver medallist, World-2001 champion and thrice Europe champion in men single skating!

If it weren't the double-side pneumonia, the country would hardly know its hero. While 1 years and 3 months Zhenya fell ill. He caught cold in the kindergarten of Urgal village in Khabarovsk district - his parent built BAM. A local doctor said it's a respiratory infection. But a week ago an ambulance took him to the hospital with the alarming symptoms. Two and a half months - injections, white clothes of doctors and permanent high temperature. Tatiana Vasiljevna couldn't bear to look at her son's torments any more and took him from the hospital. What will be - will be, decided she, and with the advice of grandmothers she began to take the kid to the fresh air. In any weather: rain, snow, wind. She sledged him, put him on the ski (small wooden ones, they still alive). And the kid soon began recovering. But from the Far East with its magnificent nature, fishing, mushrooms and berries they had to come. Doctors urgently recommended changing the climate. Summer 1985 the Plushenko's moved to Volgograd.

Onse while the next health walking, Zhenya was 4, he and his mom Tatiana Vasiljevna met her friend with the little daughter. The girl broke into tears. And the woman sighed hard: "She refuses to come to the ice. It was so difficult to get the skates. And you? - she asked Zhenya. - Do you want to try? Yes? So take it!" And presented him "priceless" at that time the white "Botas".

The next, historical (!) day, the 25th of February 1987, all family went to write down the junior Plushenko to the figure skating. "This girl I won't take, - said the coach pointed to the eldest daughter of Tatiana Vasiljevna, - she's too old. And that one┘ I'll take!" "I'm not a girl,"- indignantly corrected him the kid with the long fair hair. "All the more. The boys are the deficit over here".

"I remember, in the Palace skated and jumped children┘ And also┘ - the famous single skater became thoughtful, - there were a lot of hockey players. I couldn't tear my eyes away from them." It's clear, the dream of his childhood. Zhen'ka already at the age of a year scored goals. His dad made a hockey-stick for him┘ To the training the boy came a half-hour sooner then it was necessary, for┘ having time to look at the game of "the real men". At their uniform, hockey-sticks, masks. "Very well, - agreed once his mom. - When you've learnt to skate well, you'll go to the hockey." But as soon as he had the first successes, Zhenya couldn't think about anything else. He loved it!

But he was good not only on ice. A three-wheeled bicycle Plushenko saddled almost sooner that he began to go (but to go or rather to run he began already at the age of 9 months). At the age of three he changed it to two-wheeled one. He quickly came down from a 10-steps staircase. The parents said only "Ah!" and "Oh!". He feared nothing.

And how Zhenya danced squatting! Jumped on with two legs! "It's all from his grandfather, - says the mom. - He was a rare dancer." The teachers of the children ensemble of Russian folk dance in Volgograd implored Tatiana Vasiljevna not to take her son away from them. "He has the great future!" But to combine the figure skating and dances was beyond his force. Who knows, perhaps Evgeni would solo now in Igor Moiseev Ensemble [Ensemble of national dance under the direction of Igor Moiseev, one of main Russian folk dance groups].

If ifs and ans were pots and pans┘ The mom, for instance, was sure Zhenya would be military. When he was little, if he saw a military man he stopped stock-still. And looked at him with the sunk heart. And he had his solder shirt; Tatiana Vasiljevna sewed it from the adult one. The dad got a field cap and a holster. Like any boy Zhenya adored pistols and cars! Always drew them, when wrote to Ded Moroz [Grandfather Frost, Russian Santa Claus] about the gift. Not less he loved books. He himself subscribed to a library. At the age of 6 he already read "Neznayka on the Moon" and "Vitya Maleev in school and at home". Once he was gifted a toy tank with the distance control, shooting with the toy projectiles. But coming to him the girl broke it. Zhenya, who always treated his things carefully, was awfully upset. But Natashen'ka Kuznetsova was forgiven by him. "The first love" you know. "They were about four years old, - remembers the mom, - we went in a trolley bus. And Zhenya began embracing, kissing her, he was a tender boy. Natasha began refusing: "My dad doesn't permit me to kiss!" "But mine does me!" All the trolley bus was dieing with laugh!"

Out of his love for the beautiful half of the humanity Evgeni often got it. On ice, if some a girl fell he rushed to help. A coach scolded him: "You'd better master you own element. They will settle it themselves". But Zhenya couldn't behave another way. When he was 10 he got a new friend Katya Busovskaya, she was 3 years older than him, a skater too. Now she's a doctor. The boy always tried to treat her with an apple or a sweet. Coming home he talked just about her: "Mom, Katya spins terrifically, doesn't she?"

Smoking Zhenya became early. When he was a year and a half he put a stick or a match to his mouth and this way was running in the carriage where his family and several other families lived. A woman also living there told: "The kid opened my door a bit, hiding his "cigarette" behind his back. I asked: "Don't you smoke?" "No." And he immediately threw it and ran away." In the second form Zhenya began "smoking seriously". But on the family council his dad said: "Sonny, enough to gather cigarette-stabs. Here it is a cigarette pack. Sit near me and smoke." Zhen'ka's eyes became round. But the wish to smoke in school between the lessons immediately disappeared. At least the parents noticed nothing like that any more.

The favorite sweet of Evgeni's childhood was a chewing gum. For it he could do anything. Doing a very difficult exercise or cleaning the flat (the last was used by his sister, who skillfully shifted a part of home work to the brother). "But the most valuable thing in gums, - with the burning eyes emphasizes the skater, - were gum pics! We played with them both in the school and at the training. I was madly proud: I'd collected almost all Turbo and Patbom collection".

In 1994 Evgeni had to move to St.Petersburg, because the skating school in Volgograd was closed. For a whole year he lived alone, till Tatiana Vasiljevna moved to him. "Once we sent him money by train, - remembered the mom. - I phoned him. And he said that already spent all money. For what? For bananas. He loved them so much. He could eat two kilograms at once. He permanently had no time to have dinner before the training". But that case is rather an exception. Evgeni knew the price of money, he saw how hard it was for his parents to got it. When Alexey Mishin gave him a week holiday for his 12th birthday, the first thing Zhenya did coming home was giving to Tatiana Vasiljevna 300 roubles (all his grant saving for 5 months): "Mommy, it's for you. Buy a warm coat for yourself." The woman became puzzled. Cried. At the age of 16 her son made more serious gifts. He bough a flat not too far from "Yubileiny". They were tired of living in communal flats, where there was no space to put two beds, he and mom slept in one bed. He presented a car to his father. "Thanks, sonny, but what for!?" "Don't say so, dad! I'm obliged to you so much! For all that time mom has been near me. But you in Volgograd made money for our living".

Translated by Yulya (Pyatatchiok)



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