"Sobesednik" N3/2003
By Oleg Kudrin

At the ended championship in Malme (Sweden) Plushenko became the European champion the third time. And a few people doubted it would be just this way. At the absence of Alexey Yagudin Zhenya wins the tournaments even skating using a half of his force┘


- Have you already departed psychologically from the last not so lucky season?

- I don't quite agree with such a formula of the question. From the last season I've been departing not psychologically, but physically. It was so hard to go through all injuries I had, two ones of groin, then the knee, back, "achilles"┘

- How is your health this year?

- Yet, fingers crossed, no injuries. Only the flu threw down me before the Russian Nationals in Kazan.

- Your main rival - Alexey Yagudin - miss this season out of injuries too. Whom do you think your main rival at his absence?

- You know, when I was 15 and I just came to the big arena, there already shined Stoiko, Urmanov, Yagudin. Then I took them as my rivals. I tried to prove that I wasn't worse - rather, that better. But now I changed myself a lot, I don't look at my rivals, I actually don't need to prove anything to anybody. I just skate for my pleasure, for the audience.

- So you have nothing to aspire to?

- No, why not. The gold of Worlds, Europeans and the Grand Prix Final I've already won, but I haven't been the Olympic champion. And I won't calm down till I will be him. And besides, the main thing for me now - to overcome the barrier, which is inside me. To win a victory over yourself - it's perhaps the most interesting.


- Zhenya, this year you have 4 choreographers. It's somehow cooler than in Bolshoy Theatre or Mariinka [Mariinsky Theatre in St.Petersburg]. Is it not too much for one skater?

- Well, firstly, not 4, but just 3. Secondly choreographers can't be too much. The technique, the plastics can be improved endlessly. Now I regularly work at the ballet bar, I'm occupied in some different ballet stuff. I go to the ballet to peep what might be transferred from there to the ice. And such collaboration with the whole staff of choreographers, I believe, gives its fruits: I became more artistic.

- And when will the skaters begin to do quintuple jumps?

- Why do you hurry so much? I think, it's still too soon not only to tell about it, but even to dream. Need for the beginning to master all quads well. And that will take a lot of time. So let's look at the kids, which just came to the sport sections. The quintuple jumps are their future.

- What advice could you give to those kids?

- You know my advice fits not only the skaters but also all athletes: need to work hard and trust your coach and obey him in everything, even in small stuff. There are no another secrets of success and they can't be.

- But if you've achieved the success in the sport, you have the interesting, bright life further, don't you?

- Yes, but on the other hand an athlete isn't such an easy profession. Permanent moving. Injuries, sometimes very hard, painful. Overcoming the pain. One who decided to be occupied in the sport should be ready to that too.


- And how long does your hard sport future stretch for?

- I'll skate 8-10 years more, if my health let me┘

- And then?

- I didn't think about it. Maybe I'll become a professional, organize my own show. And maybe I'll open a nightclub with dancing or a restaurant. It would be interesting to play in a movie┘

- But it's time to think that just after the end of Europeans you'll begin to prepare for the Grand Prix Final. Tell me, what did GPs give you as a skater?

- Gave┘ A lot it gave┘ Money, for instance. But if seriously, that GPs are very useful not only in the financial aspect. It lets the skaters permanently keep the form. And moreover thanks to all those endless GPs people in the entire world are getting accustomed to the figure skating and becoming to love it still more. One case is looking at the idols through the TV and quite another - watching their rivalry live. Family coming to the figure skating is becoming the usual case, like coming to the soccer or hockey.

- Grand Prix Final now will be in St.Petersburg. Did you take the soundtrack of "Criminal St.Petersburg" for your long program because of that?

- No. I just loved the movie itself very much. And the music by Igor Korneliuk for it - that┘ that's┘ great! I bough a CD with the melody from "Petersburg", permanently listened to it. That music simply came into me. I began to figure how all the twists of the melody could be plastically reproduced on the ice. And after all I offered that music to Mishin. At the beginning he disliked it. But then he listened it well, felt it - and became my ally.


- This year you missed GP in Japan. Why this tournament? You feel uneasy in this country?

- Oh no, it's all quite the opposite! In Japan there are perhaps my most devoted fans. They have a big club called "Plushenko fans". They constantly send me letters, gifts. Moreover, once a group, about 15 people, came to Peter to mix with me. In Japan generally there is very thankful audience. There even if you do the simplest element, some triple toe, they applaud to you with such admiration as if you created something incredible. There are funny cases there. One my friend told that in Japan he had some difficulties with taking a hotel. So he got my poster from his bag and told the porter that he's my friend. After that all his problems were immediately settled. And also he'd got the big discount in paying the room.

- So why didn't you come to such a wonderful country, where you're loved so much?

- The reason is the same one as why I haven't prepared the exhibitions yet. I saved forces after the last season, polished the program, difficult jumps, and now also departed from the flu.

- After every your skating you have the flood of gifts and toys thrown to the ice. What do you do with them?

- Some toys I give to my niece - 6-years-old Dasha, some to my friends. But mainly I gather them and bring them to the children home.

- That is you're occupied in charity?

- I'm occupied in nothing! Just bring the toys to the children having no parents! You, don't be astonished that my reaction to your question was so nervous. Recently the TV-guys importuned me. They said, let's do a video, how you bring the toys to kids. But I refused. I guess, that all will be awfully stupid and immodest.

Translated by Yulya (Pyatatchiok)



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