"Sovetsky Sport" January 18, 2003
By Sergey Tsimmerman

Figure Skating Europeans, which begins on the 20th of January in Swedish Malme, will be for Evgeni Plushenko the first really big international start after Olympics in Salt Lake City. Last Europeans and Worlds the figure skater from St. Petersburg missed. And the Russian Nationals in Kazan too. Nevertheless Alexey Mishin's pupil is full of determination to get back the title of Europe Champion which he had in 2000 and 2001.


- I need to make up omitted. And frankly I've already missed competitions of such a rank, - began the conversation Evgeni Plushenko.

- As official reason of what you missed almost all last season often was pointed the injuries. Or the case was something else?

- Only injuries. Last year they simply wore out me.

- How do you feel now? You said not once that you had to skate and to train "through the pain".

- It's been. But I'm almost accustomed to it. And then, personally I never met 100% healthy an athlete. So it's normal. And now there is no such a pain like used to. And injuries, thank God, either.

- Evgeni, let's come back for a while to Salt Lake City. Then, just after the events, it was rather hard to understand your attitude to the second place, which you had after you everlasting rival Alexey Yagudin. How do you estimate your silver medal now?

- I'll say honestly: if I became second - so I lost. But I don't think that the second place in Olympics is a very bad result. Especially for a young man, which is just 19. I'd rather call it good.


- Further you have the Europeans. And as the long program you will perform the composition based on the music by Igor Korneliuk for the TV-series "Criminal St. Petersburg"?

- Yes, that program will be the main one this season.

- And did you see the film itself or it doesn't concern to the program?

- Why not, I did and quite regularly. And I liked the plot and the heroes. And actors played really great. So great that for me it's difficult to say which of hero I love the best. I even bought the tapes then. And of course I listened to the music. It "hooked" me so much that I bough also a CD with Korneliuk melody (by the way he lives in St.Petersburg too) and listened to it often in a car. And also involuntarily I imagined how to express it on ice.

- You're not confused with what at all competitions you're going to participate in, as "music" it will be pointed "sound-track of "Criminal St. Petersburg"? People abroad hardly saw the TV-series, and for the European ear such a phrase for certain will sound shocking.

- To be honest, we didn't think about that. The program itself was prepared as the dedication to 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. As for the word "criminal" in the title of the music, it expressed nohow in the composition itself - we weren't going to do that from the very beginning.

- If we mentioned that theme, tell as one living in St. Petersburg, you don't feel hurt that the northern capital often called the criminal capital?

- Personally I, fingers crossed, never met the criminality in Peter. On the other hand I've been in a lot of countries including America, and I saw a lot of things there. Over here the situation isn't so bad as the press and TV says.


- Is that true that your long program was performed by the new choreographer?

- Yes, it's our work with Cyril Simonov, who works in the Mariinsky Theatre. He's a wonderful man and a big professional. It's curious but he never dealt with the figure skating before. Moreover when we asked him about new program, he honestly said that he didn't understand how one could portray something with this music on ice. Especially something looking quite artistic. But as just we began as very soon we all felt as if Cyril worked in sport for not one year - so wonderfully he did his job.

- Does it mean you abandoned another choreographers?

- By no means. We still work with Edvald Smirnov and Valery Mihailovsky. But we stopped working with David Avdysh. The reason? We wanted to try something new. The sport doesn't stay on one place. But for going ahead you need to invent new programs, elements etc.

- Talking about elements. Are you going to do in Malme you famous 4-3-3 or you'll limit yourself with something easier?

- Quad toeloop and two triple rittbergers - it's a rather difficult cascade, and doing it after a lot of injuries isn't so simple. But it's still in our arsenal, and of course I'd like to do it once more. And not only in Europeans.

- Do you and Alexey Nikolaevich Mishin have a plan to include a quad jump to another cascade?

- On the training I've been succeeded in doing quad salchow - triple toeloop - triple rittberger. And even to that program we're going to include another quad. But after the illness I had before the Russian Nationals, it's unreal to do it. Actually now I need to restore my forces, to adjust old elements this way they were 100% successful and then to include to the program something new.

- Maybe it will happen at the Grand Prix Final, which will be in the end of February - the beginning of March in St. Petersburg?

- We'll try. At least I hope for that.


- Looking at the season on the whole, what purposes do you have?

- To win all competitions I will participate in.

- Evgeni, you don't have a feeling that after Alexey Yagudin leaving, you will be a bit bored in the absence of the rivals of such a level this season?

- Figure skating is a sport. When one leaves, his place is immediately occupied by another. For instance I already now see a lot of rising skaters, which are known by nobody now, but they are obviously ready to be the serious competitors to the favorites. So it won't be boring this season, I'm sure.

- Evgeni, why do you still train in St.Petersburg? The most part of our figure skaters prefer to do it in America.

- Home is home - my parents, my friends are here, I feel cosy and comfortable here. And then, now in St. Petersburg there are good conditions for training. It's for year ago they were awful - the Palace wasn't heated, the ice was bad and poured far from regularly. Now we have all necessary and to look for something better out of the native city is no sense.

- And how about your coach? It's not a secret, that in his time Alexey Yagudin left Alexey Mishin for Tatiana Tarasova, and just recently young Andrey Gryazev did the same┘

- I love and respect Alexey Nikolaevich not only as my coach but also as my friend. Moreover it won't be lie if I say he became my second father. It was Mishin who put me on legs [I have no idea how to translate it. It means to do something very important for someone in the beginning of his life or professional career] and with all I've achieved in my life I'm indebted to just him. So I'm not going to betray him. I feel good near him, both as a couch and a friend.

Translated by Yulya (Pyatatchiok)



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