Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

FLASHBACK: PLUSHENKO (Plus some thoughts on Weir)

Before I flash back to an interview I did with the current Men's leader, Russian's Evgeny Plushenko, in the Fall of 1998, I want to take a moment to ponder the Short Program's second-place finisher, Johnny Weir's, assertion during his Up Close and Personal Profile on NBC last night that "republican-type people" are worried about what he might say.

Call me naive, but I can not for the life of me figure out why people who want to cut welfare benefits, ban abortion and end stem-cell research might be concerned with the utterances of a swan-bedecked skater. On the other hand, if it helps Johnny's self-esteem to believe that his existence actually matters to anyone living in the real world we like to call Outside the Ice Rink (TM), then more power to his deluded, tiny self.

And now, as promised, meet Evgeny Plushenko, circa 1998:

1998 Men's World Bronze Medalist Evgeny Plushenko, who lives in a communal apartment with his mother and another family, knows why he must skate well in competition. He needs the prize money. He says, "I have to skate well, because I have to feed my family. I have to provide for them."

Plushenko began skating in his home-town of Vladivastok. He recalls, "When I was four, my mom had a friend whose child skated, and this friend told my mom she should give her child to skating, too."

Eventually, Plushenko came under the tutelage of Alexei Mishin, who guided Plushenko to a 1997 World Junior Title, which he describes as, "Colossal! First-class! I was so happy I achieved this, and that my coach and mother helped me achieve this."

Yet, despite his enthusiasm, Plushenko still strives for more. He explains, "You must always continue to grow in skating. You can't stay on one level, because skating will never stay on one level. It will always keep growing. Someone will do a quadruple Lutz or a Flip, and they'll spin better, too. So you must keep growing in skating. And in life."

For Plushenko, growing means, "I want to learn another Quad. Right now I am working on the Quad Loop and the Quad Salchow. I think the Loop will come first, and then I will make history."

Plushenko intends to debut his new jump during the 1998-1999 season, despite the fact that, as of October, he was explaining, "I am still recovering from a very serious injury. I went to Spain in the summer after the Goodwill Games, and spiked the third toe on my right foot with the heel of my blade. I was off the ice for a month and a half."

When off the ice, Plushenko reads books. "I like books about war, where everyone gets shot. I also play with my computer, and, when I have time, I go to school. The teachers treat me very well. They give me homework. I know some skaters who take their books with them when they go to competitions, so they can study there. But, for me, if I'm traveling to a competition, I'm there to perform, not do homework. My focus must be on the competition."

And, although that focus has already paid off with a Bronze Medal at the World Championships, the sixteen year old Plushenko remains unimpressed by his own achievements.

He reminds, "Tara Lipinski won the Olympics at 15, and was World Champion at 14. She's special. I'm just a regular person."


  • At February 15, 2006 11:19 AM, M said…

    Well, AS a republican, when I heard Weir's "Republican-type people" comment, I just chalked it up to the fact that he's a naive, young kid who doesnt' yet have a clue about diplomacy. He, like some other leftist celebrities, thinks it makes him 'cool' to get in other people's faces about politics. It doesn't. Even when he runs around in a jacket that glorifies the old Soviet Union communist state, I just figure it's another sign of his naivete. I mean, goodness, the kid probably has no clue how horrifying it was to live in the old USSR. Those people had nothing, could not leave their own country, and couldn't profess faith in Christ without being killed or imprisoned.

    All that aside, he's an incredible skater and a pleasure to watch--even if he does skate with 'girl' moves.

    Frankly, it's the media who live for his every goofy statement, and we all know that those media people are definitely overwhelmingly liberal.

  • At February 15, 2006 3:20 PM, Anonymous said…

    I *think* the comment posted in this thread, was meant for this one.... Yet another true Figure Skating Mystery!


  • At February 15, 2006 4:11 PM, Anonymous said…

    Ok, so Weir admires (I guess it would be) the former Soviet Union since he likes to wear the CCCP warm-up...who really cares? Personally, what bothered me alot more was how NBC could barely give coverage to Matt Savoie. He skated a pretty good short program and is 8th but NBC let him fly underneath the radar. C'mon, just because Savoie doesn't go for the flash/sequins/swan-thing, he shouldn't be discounted for a program that was enjoyable, technically sound and truly reflected his personality. And as an added plus, he didn't have Dick Button compare his costume to dining room curtains (like Lambiel).

  • At February 16, 2006 1:05 PM, Anonymous said…

    I am a Republican (although not necessarily quite as you describe them), and I just rolled my eyes at Johnny Weir. Why in the world would I be afraid of ANYTHING he says? He's just a no-class little punk. Not at all like some of the great guys who have preceded him: Todd Eldridge, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, who all have class and dignity, and did even when they were as wet behind the ears as Weir is. Not to mention Evgeny Plushenko, who puts Weir in the shade in the talent category, and in the human being category, as well. Here's three cheers for Plushenko and a Bronx cheer for Weir.

  • At February 16, 2006 5:04 PM, Anonymous said…

    I am also a Republican, and I also think that Johnny has got it wrong. True Republicans are too busy fighting the war on terror against those who would limit freedom of speech (like the Muslim extremists who now killed someone over those cartoons)to worry about what some swan-boy says. Thank God the swan doesn't look like Mohammed!

    But seriously, I love Johnny, even though he is a choker. It's a shame he blew it and lost the chance to upset the religious right (who were Democrats a mere thirty years ago or so!)


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