Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Evgeny Plushchenko – I pay with my traumas for my successes

Translation of an interview by Vladimir Raush (VR), a correspondent of Russian Language publication Russkiy Reporter, printed on November 1, 2007.

Evgeny Plushchenko (EP), a famous figure skater, many times Champion of the World, Europe and Russia is coming back on the ice. After a year gap due to the trauma of the knee meniscus, followed by an operation, Evgeny is ready to take back the title of the king of figure skating. At the end of October, the new season is traditionally opened by the “Skate America” competition. Unfortunately the name of Pluschenko is not on the list of participants. The winner of the 2006 Olympics, the three time World’s Champion, who loudly announced during last summer that he was coming back on ice, keeps his own schedule. First, he will participate in shows in some Russian cities, and then he will perform in exhibition shows in US and Italy, but he is staying away from the main competitions.

VR – Evgeny, did you really come back on the ice?

EP – Yes and no. This season I will restore my physical shape, restore my jumps and create new programs. I may even show up in the National Championship but not as a competitor. I will start participation in the main events – like the World and European Championships beginning the next season.

VR – Why?

EP – Some medical problems appeared. The July operation on the bad knee was successful, but doctors did not want to cut out a large piece of the meniscus. Instead they gave me a shot in the cartilage that was supposed to ease the pain, but it did not work. Next summer I will have to have another operation – a complete removal of the meniscus.

VR – But why not now?

EP – This year I have to create new programs and to work on them even with pain. I want to preserve my good sports form and not to waste time. I will also start preparing my suits. I have an agreement with Roberto Kovally that he will make my outfits.

VR – Is it hard to accept that nothing went the way you wanted?

EP – It is important now not to lose hope. All of these traumas are payments for past successes. I came to figure skating at a very young age. From early on I started performing complex jumps – triples and quads. My performances as a professional skater also began too early. I am in the big sports for 20 years now. That is why I have all of the problems now.

VR – Will the next operation also be performed in Germany?

EP – Yes, and by the same doctor. I trust in his professionalism.

VR – What stages are your programs in now?

EP – Now I am looking for music. I have some ideas. It may be that my friend, Hungarian violinist and composer Edvin Marton, would compose some music for me. I want to hit the bull’s eye with my programs. By mid-October we should complete that stage. Than we will look for choreographers. It is possible that we would invite someone from Broadway or some of the big names in Russian ballet.

VR – Not long ago in Korea you became a victim of a fire. What happened?

EP – Alexey Yagudin and I were opening the exhibition performance in Korea. We just came out on the ice and heard shouts about a fire. We collected our things and went out. They put the fire out very fast, but the performance was canceled.

VR – Were you scared?

EP – No, but it was a pity. In the airport, thousands of fans met me with greetings, there were 30 thousand tickets sold for the 3 days of the show and it had to be canceled.

VR – Incidentally Alexey Yagudin announced at the same time as you did that he was also coming back on ice. How did you accept that statement?

EP – Yagudin can not come back to the big sport, because he already participated in the World Championships of the professionals. The rules of ISU do not allow the return in such cases. His people should have known that.

VR – At some time in the past you wanted to start a project of building medium class hotels in St. Petersburg. What came out of it?

EP – That project was cancelled. Although I feel that it was a good idea that would bring up the tourist business in St. Petersburg. Instead, I decided to create a sports center for the youth.

VR – Did you have to cancel the hotel project because it was started with your former father-in-law?

EP – You may say that.

VR – Incidentally, did you complete the process of divorce?

EP – The divorce process is going on and I hope that soon the papers will be signed. The main thing for me is that the differences with my former wife are resolved and I can see my son, and my parents could visit their grandson. We should stop bickering for the sake of our child. If we continue to accuse each other, no one wins.

VR – Lately you were haunted by some conflicts and scandals. Is it a problem with the people around you, or is it your fault as well?

EP – It depends. What conflicts are you referring to?

VR – For example your divorce or the long war with Yagudin. Not long ago you broke relations with other famous skaters – Totmjanina and Marinin, who left your show with a scandal.

EP – Totmjanina and Marinin are themselves at fault – they signed a contract with me and then ran away to join Ilja Averbuch’s show. That story is not over yet. I will demand the compensation for my loses. In relation to Yagudin – it was not a war, it was much more complicated. Our competition was advancing figure skating. Any time that he developed a new jump or a move, I had to do it better. Now there is no such heat in men’s skating any more.

VR – Do you have real friends in the world of figure skating?

EP – Not many. I am friends with Roman Kostomarov who skated with Tatiana Navka. I do not have friends in men’s single skating since everyone wanted to beat me and they took their emotions off the rink. I think that competitions should be only on ice. You can decimate your opponents on ice, but right after, you should chill up and relate to your opponents as colleagues. I would love to be friends with my opponents, but they do not know how to do it yet.

VR – When did you have your last fist fight?

EP – Very long ago – probably when I was still in high school. I was considered a weakling because I was figure skating. My classmates thought that it was women’s sport and I had to defend my honor with my fists.

VR – There was a rumor that you have a conflict with your coach of many years – Alexey Mishin.

EP – With Mishin, nonsense! They say it probably because he initially was not at my practice, but he was busy traveling and now he is back.

VR – You are so different and still you tolerate each other for so many years. How do you coexist?

EP – That is why we coexist because we are so different. We rarely quarrel as not to speak to each other. We almost never tire of each other. When I was competing we could talk 10-15 times a day and were not tired of each other.

VR – You are very different in your reaction to Alexey Yagudin. Mishin can not even stand his name.

EP – I think that he reacts to this name so strongly because Mishin nurtured and created Yagudin and then Yagudin dropped Mishin as a coach. I could not care less if you would call his name a hundred times in my presence.

VR – Last year you became a real TV star. How do you see your experience as a commentator of “Stars on Ice “and “The Master of the Mountain” shows?

EP – It was new and interesting work. To make everything perfect I had to be on camera all the time.

VR - What was the most difficult part of taping?

EP – The weather. We taped the "Master of the Mountain" in Austria and the weather was changing from sunny to rainy very often. The regiment was also very difficult; we were working from 9am to 3 am and had only 5 hours to sleep.

VR – Did the work on TV make you more famous?

EP – Yes, it did. Now people recognize me as a TV commentator. I was even somewhat upset. I won Olympics, won a lot of competitions and in two weeks of working on TV, I became more famous as a TV commentator.

VR – I heard that while taping the "Stars on Ice" you had a lot of problems with a producer. Did you have similar problems with the other show?

EP – There was another producer in the "Master of the Mountain" show and I had more freedom there. But most of the time I could deal with the producers, it were the people a level below- associate producers and assistants, that were difficult to work with. They all considered themselves the owners of the show and wanted to run it and give directions.

VR – Is it the reason why you stopped working on TV?

EP – I did not want to continue to work in "Stars on Ice" as a commentator, although I had good relations with the management of TV shows. Another project came along and I was about to start skating in it with Nastia Mikulchna, but at that time the problems with my leg became more severe and I had to drop out of that project.

VR - Your trauma did not prevent you from writing your autobiography.

EP – I had that idea for a long time. I wrote part of it myself and dictated part of it to my associates. The book is addressed to the younger generation – don’t be afraid of difficulties! I overcame a lot of difficulties in my life. I could hear some people saying that it was easy for me. It was not true, and that was why I decided to write the book.


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