RTR-Sport Channel

Q: Evgeni, according numerous reporters, the audience's response and the marks you were rewarded by judges, your performance today was brilliant. Would you say so yourself, was it your best skate ever?

Evgeni: No, it wasn't. I skate better in practice. However, there is no such thing as an ideal skate. I would call today's performance one of the best.

Q: Six 6.0 for presentation, is it your personal record?

Evgeni: Yes, its probably my record. Nevertheless, the goal is to get 6.0▓s not only in presentation, but also for technical merit.

Q: Still, at practice mistakes are common, do they throw you off balance?

Evgeni: That's what practices are all about, a chance to learn from the mistakes.

Q: You skated in your hometown right before its 300 anniversary and, of course, wanted to win. Did it affect you performance?

Evgeni: I like skating in Petersburg. It does help me a lot. Id like to dedicate this victory to my city of St. Petersburg.

Q: How often you have to overcome yourself?

Evgeni: Competing is always difficult and you have to overcome yourself all the time. There is no such thing like coming to a competition saying to myself: "I am the leader here." No, if you are going to compete you have to skate at your full potential from the begging to the end.

Q: How do you feel after such amazing victories like the one you had today?

Evgeni: Of course, I'd like to get some rest but there is no much time for that. A major event, the Worlds in Washington, are coming up. Right now is no time to relax.



"Sovetsky Sport"

Q: How do you like the new judging system?

Evgeni: I do what I'm supposed to do - skate. And try not to get involved in questions of judging. So far, as you can see, everything is going well. (knocks on wood)

Q: Today you did great in the Free Skate. Was it your maximum or you can you do even better then that?

Evgeni: It wasn't bad, I think. I landed 4-3-3 combination and did it cleanly. Yes, I tried it at the Olympics but made a mistake.

Q: In absence of Alexei Yagudin, who is your main competitor?

Evgeni: (laughing) The favorite question. When I was 15 and just started out onsenior level I tried to compete with everybody - Yagudin, Urmanov... I was trying to prove that I am better. Now I skate to please myself, I don't compete with anyone or fight because I am my own main competitor. If Ican overcome my inner barrier, everything goes well.

Q: You are now working with four choreographers. Is it a ballet-class routine or do they work with you on an image they want you to portray?

Evgeni: This year I did start taking ballet classes, pay more attention to choreography. I always wanted to have a team of choreographers. I believe it paid off.

Q: Do you believe that landing five revolution jumps is just a matter of time?

Evgeni: At first, all kinds of quads should be learned. It's too early to think about five revolutions. I think it will be done by kids that just came into figure skating, those who are just four or five years old now.

Q: Your fans throw you a lot of toys. What do you do with them?

Evgeni:I bring most of them to the orphanage. But not all, I also have nephews, nieces and friends who have kids.

Q: You are one of the most known sportsman in the World. Would you like to try yourself in show business or in sport journalism?

Evgeni: I think there are already a lot of journalists out there. As for the showbusiness, I've never thought about it. I hope to skate for another eightor ten years.



Figure Skating Magazine (Autumn 2002)

Q: Therewere rumors you left Mishin. How would you comment on that?

Evgeni: There is nothing to comment on because it never happened - the thought never even crossed my mind. I first heard about that myself while on vacations in Turkey. A friend of mine called me from America and told that everybody was shocked there by this information which spread in the Internet. I don't know who is behind this and what they are trying to do. Probably, it's someone who is afraid of Alexei Nikolaevich and me as a team. But I wasn't going to leave him and I am not going to.

Q: Whatare your programs for the new season?

Evgeni: Short program is to Adagio by Albinoni. We invited Valerii Mikhailovski to choreograph it. The idea of this program as well as inviting Mikhailovski, a choreographer, belong to my coach. In his time it was Mikhailovski, who was the soloist in a Eifman production to Albinoni music, made a striking impression on Alexei Nikolaevich. The Free Skate is to music of a St.Petersburgcomposer Igor Kornelyuk. This program is dedicated to my city and willbe a present for its people for the 300-year anniversary. Alexei Nikolaevich and I are constantly working on my style and every year wetry to show me in a different light. I donБt think itБs a bad thing, despite that a lot of outstanding skaters stick to their once chosen style, never betraying it. As for us, we like looking for something new.

Q: And your closest friends in figure skating and beside sport?

Evgeni: The most precious friends of mine are my fans. I thank them for supporting me at difficult times. I also have a lot of friends among skaters but theendless traveling doesn't allow us to get together that often. I'm friends with Sasha Abt, Roma Kostomarov, Vakho Murvanidze. Anton Sikharulidze, of course, but even with him there isn't much time to hang out. It so happened that last summer Lena and Anton have chosen to skate in another tour whileI was still with Champions on Ice. Now I am here but he left to America. I also have friends among hockey players, for example, Zhamnov Lyosha, Kvasha Oleg. Some tennis players too. During the St.Petersburg Open I met with Hrbaty. He invited me to courts saying: "Come, I will coach you". It didn't work out though, I had practice at that time. I'd like to make new friends. I'd like to meet Kafelnikov - it is said I look like him. Although, my choreographers are much older then me we've become friends - Evgeni Serezhnikov, David Avdysh, Edvald Smirnov and now also with Kirill Simonov, Alexei Semenov and Valerii Mikhailovski.

* * *

Kirill Simonov's BiographicalData:
Kirill Simonov was born in1975 in. In 1995 he graduated from the famed Vaganova Russian Ballet Academy, class of Prof. Vladilen Semenov, in St.Petersburg and joined the Mariinsky Theatre. At the age of 23, Simonov was offered a choreographersposition. As a choreographer, he has started out his career with a newproduction of The Nutcracker along with the famous Russian painter Mikhail Shemyakin and the Mariinsky Theatre Artistic Director/Conductor Valery Gergiev. Repertoire: Swan Lake (Jester), The Nutcracker (Nutcracker-doll). As a, he has staged several concert fragments and ballet The Nutcracker (set, costumes and production design by Mikhail Shemyakin, 2001).



By Ludmilla Bezrukova

Q: You are saying you don't think about marks, is it really so?

Evgeni: I try not to think about marks, the first place or gold medal. The most important thing is to show what you are capable of on ice. The rest will come on it▓s own.

Q: Winning gold - is that your main goal?

Evgeni: Mainly, yes. Since I started competing at 7 years old I don't accept any place other then the first. This is my main goal every season. This what I aim and work for. When you come out on the ice there is only one thing to be focused on - your program that you prepared and should do your best.

Q: Are there are any elements that are difficult for you to learn or do you master jumps and spins easily?

Evgeni: The triple axel was pretty difficult for me to learn. I've been working on it for four years. You can't do without it in figure skating. At some point I didn▓t believe that I ever could do it. The other skaters learned it in a year. But in the end I counquered it: I▓d jump, fall, try it again and again, curse it, but only in my mind, of course, so nobody could hear those words... It lasted for four years!

Q: What would the coach say? Was he hard on you?

Evgeni: Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin used to calm me down: don't worry, it will work out just right. It meant a lot for me.

Q: Have you ever been afraid of jumps? After all, it▓s no joke...

Evgeni: Three years ago I hit my toe by the other blade on the landing. It's a very painful injury. A thought that I would do it again stuck in my mind for a long time. But eventually I was able to overcome this inner fear.

Q: Do required elements that can▓t be avoided in both short and long programs bother you?

Evgeni: I'd like to add more difficulty into my free program. For example, do more jump combinations besides spins, footwork, circular step sequence. Right now three combinations are already enough to get high marks.

Q: Does it mean that you give the priority to jumps not to expression or music?

Evgeni: I just adore jumping. I do the rest as it supposed to be done.

Q: But the figure skating isn't just a sport but also an art. Who are you when you come out on ice: an artist or a sportsman?

Evgeni: I can skate beautifully. While performing on ice I always try to please the audience and to win as well. Being artistic is very important to get the audience on your side, as for a competition, you can't win without strong technical content.

Q: You said, triple axel was hard for you. Are there any other "untamable" elements for you?

Evgeni: I am not working on anything new right now...

Q: What about a quad that let you down in Grand Prix event?

Evgeni: It's different - I overdid it a bit...

Q: Are you going to surprise with anything at the Olympics?

Evgeni: Well, I'll certainly try! However, technically I've already got enough elements to win with.

Q: Who, do you think, is you main competitor at the Winter Olympics 2002?

Evgeni: I will compete mainly and first of all with myself.

Q: American skaters have some advantage at the Olympics, they will skate "at home" with support of their fans...

Evgeni: I can't say that Americans are cold towards me. Skating on Tom Collins Tour last summer I traveled all over North America and they greeted me not any less then the sportsmen you meant.

Q: You have made quite an impression in the States with your "Sex Bomb" exhibition number that you performed at the end of the season. Nobody could have expected that from the usually proper, classical Plushenko.

Evgeni: I like to play with the audience. Get them on my side. That number was very well received. All of a sudden I was called a "Sex Symbol" in figure skating. It▓s funny! I definitely don▓t have any pretence to that. I just wanted a humorous program so the audience that came to competitions to get some fun, which in US also means to have some food and drink, would forget about the popcorn and hotdogs. That worked, so I▓m happy.

Q: Speaking of programs, who in your team has the final word in choosing programs?

Evgeni: I decide it with my coach and choreographers.

Q: Don't you ever argue with your coach, for example? Or this is an ideal partnership?

Evgeni: I don't know about ideal but we rarely argue. And we don't yell at each other.

Q: It is said that you got quite a stubborn character...

Evgeni: Yes, I do. I▓m not ashamed of that and don't consider it a fault.

Q: You were already in Mishin's group when he was still working with Alexei Urmanov and Alexei Yagudin...

Evgeni: I do remember that time and learned a lot from the guys.

Q: One of the reasons Yagudin left Mishin was, in his opinion, too much time spent by coach with "young talented Plushenko." What would you do if you were in his place and your coach pays more attention to somebody else?

Evgeni: I will never leave Alexei Nikolaevich. He was like a father to me when I, an 11-year-old boy, moved from Volgograd to St. Petersburg. He's done so much for me besides skating. Leaving him would mean betrayal. He, certainly, doesn't deserve anything like that.

Q: Mishin is one of these people who made themselves. He was studying and training at the same time. Would you like to follow his steps?

Evgeni: Right now figure skating is more important for me. Sometime I▓ll quit sports and begin studying and, maybe, something else. But right now sport is my priority.

Q: "Sometime" - when it's gonna be? In 10-15 years?

Evgeni: I mean an amateur sport. I don't exclude turning pro after the Olympics.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

Evgeni: I usually spend my time off differently: sitting with friends at cafe or going to discotheques, sometimes just walking around town. Among my friends are not only sportsmen but also people who▓s interests are far from sports.

Q: I know you are good at tennis, how good a dancer are you?

Evgeni: I usually have enough dancing while training on ice, so, I don't even want to get up at discotheques. I just enjoy being there, listening to the music, talking to friends.

Q: Do you play any musical instrument?

Evgeni: I want to learn how to play a guitar. I hope to try it sometime after the Olympics. Sasha Abt, my teammate on the National team, is going to help me with that. He plays guitar and sings very well. Sometimes we even sing together.

Q: How important for you the love of the crowd?

Evgeni: I know the crowd loves me and I am thankful to those people for that. The audience means a lot for any sportsman. Sometimes it's even more precious than medals.



By Inna Yurieva

Q: You have changed tremendously since the last year. A very talented kid has transformed into a fully developed athlete┘ What is different comparing to the last year, to the unfortunate Worlds▓2000 where your nerves let you down?

Evgeni: There weren▓t my nerves that let me down but a strong desire to win. The difference is that now I am not thinking about winning or medals. I just skate. I do what I have to do. If it goes well - that▓s good, if not √ then I▓ll win next time. Last year I had felt stress before every competition. I was overwhelmed with a desire to win and it was a mistake.

Q: But, probably, even then your coach, Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin, wanted you just to show good skating not necessarily go for the first place?

Evgeni: I▒ve got a different approach now. I don▓t want to talk about that but, trust me, it▓s different. Not like the last year.

Q: Does your all - time rivalry with Alexei Yagudin somehow affected your skating? Does it matter if he skates before or after you?

Evgeni: No, it doesn▓t matter for me now. I think every skater got his own rival. I have many of them, not only Yagudin. He is a strong one but then what to say about Todd Elgridge? I think Eldredge is stronger. He should have been second at last Worlds. Definitely, not third. Everybody▓s saying that.

Q: But his program lacked some difficulty to get higher marks didn▓t it?

Evgeni: I don▓t think so. Yagudin also had problems - his flip, for example, wasn▓t clean... What I want to say is that Yagudin isn▓t my main competitor. My main competitor is myself.

Q: Since when? You probably looked up at Yagudin, tried to beat him when you were younger, didn▓t you?

Evgeni: It was so when we were kids and started to train together under Alexei Nikolaevich. I always wanted to win and be first. It has changed. Now I compete with myself in a first place and only then with others.

Q: Are there any boys among Mishin▓s students who would, little by little, put pressure on you in a future?

Evgeni: I think so. And that▓s normal. But I will continue working so nobody will step on my heels.

Q: Your last performances left an impression that you have reached the limit of human potential. Clean, beautiful skating, the difficulty that nobody can even dream about┘ What else could be done next?

Evgeni: I have a dream that deals with the technical aspect of figure skating. I want to learn all kinds of quads. So far I did only one of them in competition - toe loop. I already land a few quads in practice but I would like to do all of them at competitions as well.

Q: Even quads in combinations?

Evgeni: I think it wouldn▓t be a problem for me. Physically, it▓s possible. Figure skating doesn▓t stay still, skaters continue to advance. There are no limits in this sport and I believe, there won▓t be.

Q: When you won Russian Nationals, many said: "The Europeans are still ahead. We▓ll see what happens there." After European Championships it happened to hear "Let▓s see him win the Worlds." Now after Vancouver they say: "Olympic Games are the major event. Plushenko would be truly the best only if he wins Olympics." What do you think about Olympic Games in Salt Lake City? Do you feel any pressure psychologically?

Evgeni: I should have gone to Olympic Games▓98 in Nagano but I didn▓t. The judges didn▓t let me - I should have been second at Russian Nationals but became third. I was upset back then. I thought that Olympics are everything - super. It▓s true, but right now I also understand that they are just like Worlds. At least for me. I don▓t want to think that anything would be different or different responsibility. It▓s the same competitions, where, as always, you have to do your best: in qualifying, in short and free programs.

Q: In the last interview Alexei Nikolaevich said that you would be able to participate in the next three Olympics┘

Evgeni: I believe I could skate even longer. All what you need is the will to skate and health.



By Daria Srebnitskaya
"Sovetsky sport"

Q: Zhenya, are you disappointed that you didn't get any 6.0s for your long program?

- I didn't expect such high marks with Todd Eldredge and Tim Goebel still to skate after me. The judges left some room for them in case they would be better technically or in presentation.

Q: Are you planing to increase the difficulty of your programs for the Olympics?

- Certainly. I'm working on quad salchow and probably will do it along with a quad toe loop.

Q: Did you believe that you would be the World Champion someday?

- Of course. When I was very little I used to watch figure skating on TV. It was Victor Petrenko who later became the Olympic medallist. I watched him and thought: "This guy is great, I also want to skate like him and win the Worlds." Now my dream came true.

Q: You've skated to the technically less demanding version of your program. Didn't you want to show all the super elements that you can do?

- Alexei Nikolaevich told me to go only for one quad, without trying to make any records. We didn't want the gold medal to turn into silver or bronze one.

Q: Were you scared before the final performance?

- No, not at all. It was difficult but I was trying not to think about skating. I was at the pairs final and saw how underappreciated Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze's performance was. I was so disappointed for them.

Q: Is it true that your mom never watches you skating in competitions?

- She does but only on TV. That's a sort of tradition in our family. I see how my parents are always worried while watching me skate that's why we decided that they would root for me at home. As you can see, it works quite well.



By Daria Srebnitskaya
"Argumenty i Fakty"

Evgeni: I tend to be self critical. For example, I did pretty well at Europeans but I could have skated better because, certainly there is limit to perfection.

Q: Do you mean 4+3+3 combination that you were going to attempt in your free skate? Why didn't you do it?

- It was a misunderstanding. I could not have included this element into the program if it is not ready yet. I did it at practice in Bratislava but wouldn't risk doing it in competition. Too much stress. Of course, it would be great to make a revolution in men' figure skating. What if, all of a sudden, somebody gets an advantage with a 5 revolution jump? It is not going to be soon though.

Q: But you are already an innovator. Besides the jumps but you are the only man who does a Biellman spin. Don't you think that it looks like a bit girlish?

- On the contrary and I am proud of it! I saw Biellman▓s performance on TV when I just started skating at school. It was amazing! Especially her spin. It was a pure magic for me. I vowed to myself to do it someday.

Q: You, probably, made that vow in Volgograd, where you used to live?

- That's right. I was eleven years old when our ice rink was closed. I've been showing some promise and my mom brought me to Saint Petersburg. My older sister and my father stayed in Volgograd. Now it is even scary to imagine what would have happened to me if I didn't get to Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin' group. You, probably, wouldn't have taken this interview with me.

Q: You have changed so much. Do you work on your image?

- First of all, the nature works by itself and I have grown up. Secondly, last year we invited a wonderful choreographer, David Avdysh. He is an excellent master and, if you will, an image maker.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

- Differently. For example, I spent my New Year vacations with friends in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. We had a great time there! Right now, before the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo and Worlds in Vancouver, my schedule is pretty tense. There is hardly time left but, anyway, I will try to take three days off just to forget about the figure skating and go with my parents to the countryside, somewhere near Peter.



By Irina Vasilieva
"21 Sport"

Q: Not much time has passed since you graduated from high school. Do you miss school?

- Not yet, but I come to visit, talk to my teachers, ask them how they are doing and how is everything. Not too often, though. I also bring photos that my teachers ask me for.

Q: Was it easy for you to get into Lesgaft Academy?

- No, not really. It took me two hours to write the essay (one of the exams) and I was thinking that I▓d rather be skating right now. Skating suits me better.

Q: You▓ve been preparing for a new season, as usually, in Spain. Who got the idea to make a program to "Bolero" by Ravel?

- Actually, it was Alexei Nikolaevich. We skated a group number to this music on Tom Collins Tour. I liked it very much and called Mishin from America. He suggested giving it a try.

Q: When does the season start for you?

- In October I am going to skate at "Finlandia Trophy", then, in November, a "normal" season starts with Grand Prix events┘

Q: Besides the event in Saint Petersburg, you are going to participate in NHK in Japan and in Nation▓s Cup in Germany. Are you pleased with your assignments?

- I skated in Japan and in Germany many times before and I like the atmosphere there, the way those competitions are organized, the way athletes are treated and the audience. That▓s why I am quite satisfied.

Q: What is going to be your "trump card" this season?

- It▓ll still be my jump combination. We might add a bit more difficulty by changing the last jump into a triple loop. I am also working on second quad, a salchow.

Q: What else do you wish to achieve in sports, besides becoming an Olympic Champion?

- My dream is to learn all quadruple jumps. It goes differently in practice: sometimes I come out on ice and can land quad without any problems, the next day they appear. Actually, this task seems pretty real to me, I already landed four quads. I don▓t know how much time it would take to make them consistent, but it▓s possible. You just have to lay stress on jumps but I can▓t do only that because I have to keep working on spins and footwork as well, not to mention preparing new programs every year and two interpretive programs for GPF.

Q: What do you think of such innovations? A few years ago an idea to hold a jump competition was seriously considered┘

- Why not? All these years we've been skating only long and short programs! I think if there was a competition on such elements as spins, jumps and combinations, people will show more interest in our sport and sportsmen would find out their weaknesses. Not to mention that performing not one but two long program demands other strength.

Q: Do you have any weak sides yourself?

- Like any another athlete I do have them, it's the jumps, steps, spins... In any case, that▓s my opinion, perhaps, somebody would disagree. If we find the weak elements, we work on them.



By Anna Ilyinskaya
"Gazeta.Ru" December '99

At the last Russian National Figure Skating Championship Evgeni Plushenko, coached by Alexei Mishin, created a real sensation. According to his coach, he hasn't only defeated his rival A. Yagudin, but also surpassed him. At the press conference Plushenko said that his dream is to execute all quad jumps in his program. It's possible that this might happen soon.

Alexei Mishin:

- Zhenya was brought to St. Petersburg by his first coach, Mikhail Makaveev, because the sport center in Volgograd, where he lived and trained, was closed. Credit should be given to Makaveev because he didn't cling on his student since he knew that Zhenya would have more opportunities in St. Petersburg and recommended him to our group. By the way, only a few people know that Makaveev, by his education, is far from being a figure skating coach. He used to be a heavy athletics (weight lifting) coach, but his love for figure skating, his dedication to work and a perfectly chosen team of choreographers created a miracle. Thanks to Mikhail Makaveev, Volgograd had an interesting and distinctive school of figure skating. The move to an unknown city was a very serious challenge not only for the 11-year-old boy but his parents as well. His family wasn't rich, they hardly had enough money to provide for their son at his new place. I don't know what would have happened if it wasn't for his mom's dream. She believed that her son would be an elite skater and this belief passed on to Zhenya.

- Zhenya, why your mom have chosen choose figure skating and not some "manly" sport, for example, soccer?

- Probably, because it is closer to women. Everyone used to be crazy about figure skating and the competitions were often shown on TV. I was a very active kid, I couldn't stay still for a moment. So she has decided to get me involved in sports.

- Were you teased in school because of this?

- How did you guess? Yes, that happened, like "Oh look! The figure skater came to play soccer with us!" Now they envy me a little. When I come home to Volgograd they say: "We've watched you on TV! Great skating!"

Tatiana Mishina (Alexei Mishin's wife), also a FS coach:

- Zhenya's mom couldn't stay with him all the time because she had a family (husband and daughter) in Volgograd. Zhenya has become responsible for himself at a very young age. Sometimes, when the boys returned to St. Petersburg after competitions he had nowhere to go. So he either lived at our home or at Sergey Serezhnikov's for a while. I've always been impressed by his firm belief in himself and complete lack of jealousy. Even if he liked something very much, he has never shown it: "Oh well, I'll practice and I'll get it all someday."

- Zhenya, did you and your mom rent an apartment in St. Petersburg at first?

- No, we only rented a room. When my mom went home she used to ask the next door neighbor to look after me. But I've tried to do everything by myself, even cook, but it wasn't as good as my mom does.

- Was there much money left?

- Not much, there were days when I only had enough to get to the Yubeleinyi and back. But I knew it would end someday and I could provide for myself and help my parents.

- So could you?

- Yes. But my dad is still working; he is a carpenter and bricklayer. My mom was a seamstress. She used to sew for me and make my costumes, but not anymore. I don't want her to work, she has already done too much for me.

- Do you remember your first trip abroad?

- Of course! We flew to Australia for the Junior Worlds. I won the gold, was very excited and bought gifts for everyone. I got a pair of very expensive sneakers for myself.

- What was your first impression?

- Very neat. I've never seen anywhere else such green lawns and washed streets like in Australia.

Alexei Mishin:

- I think that Plushenko's success can be explained by his character. You are mistaken, if you think he had it easy. All guys in my group were very talented - Oleg Tataurov, Alexei Urmanov, Leosha Yagudin... An 11-year-old Zhenya had to find the way to communicate with them and his own niche. Not everything went well at the beginning but he has never complained to me. He probably already knew that work would be the most important for him. s counting on competing through the Olympics of 2010, "if I am healthy," he said.



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