RUSSIAN'S HANDLERS CHIDE ORGANIZERS
By Beverley Smith
MISSISSAUGA, ONT. -- Ari Zakarian, the agent for two-time world champion Evgeny Plushenko of Russia, says he will never attend Skate Canada again after problems this week.
Zakarian said both he and Plushenko's coach, Alexei Mishin, were aggressively handled by event security on Saturday. Zakarian also was bothered when the music for Plushenko's long program was played at a different volume than other skaters. (While Plushenko's music was at a low level, the music for eventual Skate Canada silver medalist, Jeffrey Buttle of Sudbury, Ont., was quite loud.)
The incident with security won't prevent Plushenko from attending a Skate Canada again, Zakarian said, because "it didn't have anything to do with him.''
"We hope [the sound level] was an accident," said the agent who also represents Sasha Cohen, winner of the women's event. "But for his performance, it was a key point."
Zakarian said when the music is loud, it brings an emotion to the audience and to the skater. Soft music dampens the mood.
As it was, Plushenko needed all the help he could get. Plushenko, who won the men's event on Saturday, said he has only been able to seriously train for the past month, and admitted he was fatigued by the end of his program. A week before Skate Canada, he caught a cold and about two months ago, Plushenko suffered a torn meniscus ligament in a knee he says hurts some days more than others.
Plushenko said he will have surgery to repair the knee next summer, and hopes it will not hamper him for the rest of the year. It is important to him, he said, to win a third world championship.
Audiences didn't see Plushenko at his best on the weekend. The world champion said he saw other top skaters miss jumps before him on Saturday, and after talking it over with Mishin, knew he had to do only one quad to win. He turned a second planned quadruple toe loop into a triple. He landed his first quad slightly off balance and later, turned his second triple Axel into a double. He was visibly fatigued by the end of the skate.
He promised to be better at his next event, the Lalique Trophy in France, in two weeks.
Zakarian said he was standing on the stairs above a mixed zone for media on Saturday, when event security grabbed his coat in an effort to shoo him out of the cramped area. Zakarian said it is necessary for him to be with his athlete to manage interviews and that other agents are allowed into restricted zones, while he is not.
Although Zakarian apparently didn't have clearance to enter the restricted zone beyond the mixed zone for media, Mishin did. But Mishin said he was also grabbed aggressively by the shoulder and told to move.
Later, the head of security for the Hershey Centre apologized to both men and promised kinder, gentler treatment in the future.
тнрнюкэанл : пегскэрюрш : яяшкйх
тнпсл : цняребюъ