"International Figure Skating" January/February 2002

2001 World Championships - 1st
2000-01 European Championships - 1st
2000-01 Grand Prix Final - 1st

What is the 2001 World and European Men's Champion Evgeni Plushenko looking most forward to ih the upcoming season?

"I look forward to winning," Plushenko, 19, said. "And entertaining the audience and fans around the world."

He did both at the first competition to the season, the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, where he skated his new short program to the Michael Jackson hit "Billie Jean."

"It was great," Plushenko remembered. "I enjoyed performing it for the first time in front of the judges and the audience. And I hit all of my technical elements. This season, I got to debut my new programs earlier than usual. Now I have more time to fix some minor mistakes before the rest of the season and Olympic Games. And I won, so the season was off to a good start."

Plushenko, who is coached by Alexei Mishin, did not experience many mistakes during his undefeated 2000-01 season, where he recorded no falls. And he forged a special rapport with the audience, especially during the Champions on Ice tour, where he performed a playful strip tease to the song "Sex Bomb." His long program for 2001-02 season is also new, and in it, he said, "I am really concentrating on artistry and speed. These are not just technical programs, after all."

After a summer spent training in Sweden, Spain and at home in Russia, it's shaping up to be a very busy season for Plushenko. Though he will continue training at home in St. Petersburg, he intended to travel to Grand Prix events, the Grand Prix Final, the Russian Nationals, Europeans, Olympics and World Championships. "And if I am invited, then I will compete in some pro-ams, too," he confirmed.

Plushenko won gold medals at Sparkassen Cup and Cup of Russia.




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