Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Friday, February 17, 2006


There is a cosmic symmetry to the fact that, at the 2005 World Championship, when Stephan Lambiel finished first, Jeffrey Buttle 2nd and Evan Lysacek 3rd, pundits said the placings were because defending champion Evgeny Plushenko was out with an injury.

A year later, Plushenko is back and the Olympic Champion. With Lambiel 2nd, Buttle 3rd and Lysacek 4th. Guess those pundits really knew what they were talking about...

(My apologies about how long it took me to write up my thoughts about the Men's Long -- suffice it to say that there was a vomiting, feverish child involved).

Now -- Major congrats to America's Lysacek, who not only rebounded from his unfortunate Short Program, but also showed definitively how much he's improved in the last 11 months. Personally, I loved his "Singin' In the Rain" program of last year. After the plethora of men coming out and doing their abstract interpretive dance dedicated to saving the rain-forest or whatnot, it was a genuine pleasure to see a guy go out on the ice and have a good time. However, no matter how much I liked his previous program, nothing prepared me for the power of Evan's "Carmen." For the first time, he reminded me of a young Robin Cousins at his first Olympics. Those Long Limbs! (I have a deep weakness for long limbs. The smaller skaters can land their jumps and center their spins and whip through their footwork, but the teeny-weeny body type just doesn't do it for me. Sorry, Scott Hamilton, Johnny Weir, Belbin & Agosto, Sasha Cohen, et al...)

Canada has finally broken their four time (1984, 1988, 1994, 1998) Men's Silver Medalist curse! With the bronze....

Nice job for Lambiel, who became the first Swiss man to medal at the Olympics since Hans Gerschwiler also won the Silver (behind America's Dick Button) in 1948.

And finally, since my Flashback to Young Plushenko was such a hit a couple of days ago, here is another classic interview I did with him, this time after he'd won his first Russian title, in 1999... Enjoy!

Calling from his fifteenth and final stop on the Champions on Ice tour, 1999 World Silver Medalist Evgeny Plushenko boasts, "Last year, I couldn't skate (on tour) without daily practice sessions. This year, I can skate very well even without practice. I'm not training at all!"

The break is seemingly well deserved, coming on the heels of a very successful competitive season. In 1999, Plushenko won his first Russian National title, upsetting reigning World Champion Alexei Yagudin, and 1994 Olympic Gold Medalist Alexei Urmanov.

About his win, Plushenko shrugs, "I expected this, because I trained for this. Of course, I didn't skate very well, so it was a big shock to win with such a mediocre skate."

To some, the victory appeared to come ahead of schedule. But, the precocious 16 year old explains, "I never plan when and what I will win. I just train. (This year), I became more consistent with my jumps, I added rotations to my spins, and my steps have become stronger. This is the second year for my Long Program. I know it by heart, so I can really feel the music."

He trained hard for the 1999 European Championship, as well, but: "I started the Long Program well; then, in the middle, everything fell apart. I fell on the Triple Loop. I lost my edge. I think I must have hit a rut where others had already jumped, and (after), I lost my focus. It was a very painful fall, on my back. Two years ago I had back problems, and this hurt it again."

Asked about the Qualifying Rounds recently added to competition, Plushenko shrugged, "I do what I'm told. If I'm told "You skate two Qualifying Rounds," I'll skate two Qualifying Rounds. It's all competition, it makes no difference. Sure, you get a little tired, but, not much. And I never get nervous for a Qualifying Round, even if it does count."

Following Champions on Ice, Plushenko plans to take "a week, maybe two," off, and then it's back to the rink. He's got two new programs to put together for next season, and, despite taking it easy on tour, he promises, "I'm going to train more. Last season, I practiced two hours a day. This season, there'll be more time on the ice, more work."

That work will continue to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, where, despite ongoing construction to the Yubilany Sports Complex, an optimistic Plushenko points out, "The rink is still there, the ice is still there. It's not a problem."

In fact, Plushenko believes a bigger problem is that, now, "You need one Quad jump to win, but, soon, you'll need two. That's why I'm practicing all the Quad jumps. I've landed them all, too. But, how consistently," he teases, "Well, that's a secret..."


  • At February 18, 2006 11:42 AM, Katie said…

    Evan's program was very passionate, and very impressive. It was captivating and Jeffrey's was close behind. I thought Plushenko's program was lackluster but he's got the precision down and the judges like him.

    But I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of Evan in the future.

    New visitor to your site and :D I'm definitely impressed! Thank you!

  • At February 18, 2006 4:25 PM, Anonymous said…

    I agree! Evan L. is definitely one to follow in the future. He's certainly developing a strong style that's technically sound and fun to watch. I suspect that the USFSA is hoping so. They are probably ready to throw a net over Weir. Denise

  • At February 18, 2006 5:23 PM, Anonymous said…

    Welcome, Katie - thanks for the kind words about the site.

    Denise, I said it in the post below and I've been given no reason to change my mind... Johnny reminds me a lot of Christopher Bowman and Nicole Bobek, people who believe that they're getting press coverage for their greak skating, when it's really just for their behavior. And never having enough of the former to match the latter.


  • At February 18, 2006 11:47 PM, M said…

    although it's clear that Plushenko is a technical wizard, his long program was amazingly dull in the artistic sense. I'm surprised you can win with a program like that, but it just shows that technical ability is king anymore. I too liked Evan's long limbs and extension in all his moves. A la Robin cousins and others who had that long-leg look. Works well!


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