"Den" January 14, 2003
By Zorik Kazaryan & Regina Sevostjyanova

This season began for the silver medallist of Olympics in Salt Lake City Evgeni Plushenko as lucky as possible. In the absence of the Olympic champion Alexey Yagudin, who took a year break because of an injury, Evgeni has almost no competitors. Zhenya's victories at Grand Prix competitions in Germany and in Russia was predicted. Sadly out of the flu the skater couldn't participate in the Russian Nationals in December in Kazan. But, as said to "Den" Plushenko himself, that won't prevent him to participate in the Europeans, which will begin on the 20th of January in Swedish Malme.


- Now I feel great, - said Evgeni, - There is no temperature any more, I have no headache. I began to train. And despite of doctors advised me to stay in bed, last Friday I've already been on the skating rink. While being ill I missed ice so much. By the way, while I laid in bed I became two centimeters higher. I myself don't understand how it's happen┘ Also my coordination became better. Now I'm actively training for the Europeans.

- Do you have enough of time to restore yourself?

- Certainly. If I weren't sure about it, it would be no use to try.

- Every season you have the different programs. Do you have anything new for the Europeans?

- No. It will be the same program that has been at Grand Prix in Germany and in Moscow. My coach and me never change programs while the season, and also out of the illness I had no time to prepare something new. But there is no big difference what to perform. The main thing is how you do it.

- Were you upset much because of missing the Russian Nationals?

- On the one hand, yes. I wanted to show our fans all I can do. Secondly before the Europeans, of course, it would be good to participate in some a tournament. But on the other hand, in Kazan the country saw in business a lot of rising skaters. New champions appeared.


- This year at the figure skating competitions we see the new method of judging. How do feel about it?

- You know, I somehow feel nothing. As they judged, so they judge. The only difference is what you don't know who what mark put to you, that's all. Maybe, that system is good. You have the additional stimulus to skate better, for all judges will put the highest mark and the computer will have no choice.

- Do you have a dream?

- Of course. To win the Olympic gold.

- Is that all?

- For the present time - yes. And further┘ We'll live - we'll see. At least I plan to skate 8-10 years more, though everything may change even for a year. Now I have everything including the Olympic silver medal, I lack only the golden one. Probably it's my biggest wish, because all my life lived on ice.


Who is the main competitor of Plushenko in the absence of Yagudin at the future Europeans? Here is what was said about it by famous Russian coach, first national champion of ice dances Victor Ryzhkin:

- Zhenya's present program is a variation of his programs of past two years. And to my mind, that's wrong. Because Zhenya doesn't demonstrate all he can. He should work over his dances, make them showier. But nevertheless I don't see the skater who could be really dangerous for Plushenko at the Europeans in Sweden. New Champion of Russia Alexander Abt is a very capable of artistry athlete and much more experienced than Zhenya. But it's some a doom is above Sasha! He skated long ago, but hasn't achieved anything actually serious. And technically he lost to Zhenya. My forecast in Sweden Plushenko will be first, Abt - the second and Klimkin - the third.

Translated by Yulya (Pyatatchiok)



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