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Interview from http://www.sports.ru


Question: Is there a skater in the World who can win the gold if Plushenko skates clean or Plushenko skates with little mistakes like in Torino?
Evgeny: No. If I skated a clean program, nobody would be able to get ahead of me.

Question: Wouldnít American Johnnie Weir or Canadian Jeffrey Buttle get on your level if they finally learn the quad? They are very gifted skaters in all the other aspects.
Evgeny: I know they do this element at practice, but they donít risk including it in the program. Thatís the new judging system. Before, everyone tried to risk, and now, many are satisfied with what they learned well. If Weir and Buttle donít try for more, that means they are afraid to lose their current position. Thatís not the first position.

Question: You donít like the new system?
Evgeny: I canít answer in one word. It has its positive sides, but the biggest negative overtakes it Ė that system doesnít motivate the skating development. Until now, the moving strength of the skating was the strive to learn the new and difficult jumps while doing beautiful footwork and spins. Now I see many skaters doing triple lutz Ė triple toe in place of triple axel Ė triple toe. Itís not beneficial to risk under the new system. Risk is an honorable thing.

Question: You main rival in European, Brian Joubert doesnít water down his programs. They are as difficult as yours in the jump department. Does that mean that Joubert is more dangerous for you then the others?
Evgeny: Joubert, Weir, Buttle, Sandhu, Goebel Ė I donít single out anyone. All those guys are similarly dangerous. Everyone was his strong and week side. Some spin great but not too strong in jumps. Some got the quads but canít spin and not too strong artistically.

Question: Do you mean Joubert?
Evgeny: I have nothing against him personally. Itís very interesting to compete with Joubert Ė strong personality, real fighter. He can realize himself 120% at the competition, but every time Iím surprised by his second mark. I think itís too high.

Question: Is that judges attempting to create the intrigue artificially so the spectators wonít get bored?
Evgeny: I think so. Everyone understands that the skating stopped in its development so they are trying to move it ahead somehow. I donít understand why Joubert is set as Plushenkoís main rival. It would be more fair if it were Stefan Lambiel. He is gifted skater all-around. I can say responsibly and without emotion Ė in skating quality, spins, footwork and artistic expressiveness, he is stronger than Joubert. With that, Lambielís second mark in the free program was four points lower. Nothing changed. Judging just like it was before. Judges are free in their likes and dislikes as before. And just like before, the second mark is the tool to express their likes and dislikes. So what, then itís Joubert. Iím ready for pressure.

Question: Are you ready for even more pressure? Letís say your old friend Alexei Yagudin and Tatiana Tarasova would join Joubertís team full-time in the Olympic season. Already, Tarasova helps him as a choreographer, and Yagudin is his coach-consultant. True, itís more of the PR action now. What if PR and choreography would turn into a full pledge support from the team that defeated you at SLC Olympics?
Evgeny: Thatís Joubertís right. I canít forbid him to work with Tarasova. To be direct, I donít care who will be in his team in the Olympic year because we have our team. We learned from the mistakes made in previous Olympic cycle. We became stronger. I can say one thing Ė I donít like when the skaters change coached 100 times. This isnít right. You have to treat coach as a person, not like a machine that works on you.

Question: Maybe Joubert would have your right principles if he would be coached by Mishin.
Evgeny: I donít deny that I got very lucky with coaching.

Question: Youíve probably already heard the talks that Plushenko involved in various show-projects too much and that reflects on his results. What can you say to that?
Evgeny: As of today, Plushenko is World and European champion and Grand Prix winner Ė thatís what I say to that. I get a lot of offers to perform in ice shows and I decline most of them. The shows where I perform are not only for earning money, but also a chance to keep in shape and importantly, to present the programs and understand the fans reaction. Itís very important looking from the sportís side.

Question: To clarify how the pro skating works, can you tell how your earnings from the shows compare to the earning from the competitions?
Evgeny: No doubt, most of the income comes from performing in the show, only because there are more shows then competitions.

Question: Now in Russia, serious attempts are made to turn ice shows from one-time accidental events into a professionally organized part of the show business. Ilia Averbukh created his own tour. What do you think about this business opportunity in Russia?
Evgeny: Itís good. Ilia is great. Doing what he does can bring great results, not only financially, in the sport too. Most people stop serious skating while they are still school age because in that sport, only World and European medallists make decent money. If ice shows in Russia become successful and profitable, that will sharply increase the status of our professional and parents will bring their kids to figure skating schools not only because of the love to the art. Profession that can bring income is very important motivator.

Question: Do you feel that you were born in the wrong time? Seven Ė ten years ago, the situation was different. Former World champions and Olympic medallists earned huge by performing in tours and so-called pro events. TV and advertisers had the different interest as well. Now, ABC is reviewing the contract with ISU to make it lower, ice show programs are shortened, and skatersí earnings are falling down.
Evgeny: I know that previously, the stars made more, much more, then skaters make today. With that, what I have is enough for me. I feel very comfortable and the titles stay the main thing too me, first of all, the title of Olympic champion that I donít have.

Question: In modern skating, is that possible to make more than a million dollars a year? Iím not talking about Michelle Kwanís advertising contracts Ė she is the only one in skating.
Evgeny: I can only talk about myself. I donít make millions.

Question: I know you like soccer very much.
Evgeny: Yes, and Sasha Kerzhakov is my friend.

Question: Are you jealous of soccer players? You are Ronaldo of figure skating at least, and you donít have the 1/50th of his fame and money.
Evgeny: To be honest, sometimes there is a discomfort about that. What can you do, itís the fate. I picked skating, not soccer. TV creates the commercial attractiveness of the sport. To begin with, the advertising attractiveness of skating is lower than soccerís. You canít dress the skaters in Adidas or Nike. We donít have a lot of events. The skater is on the ice for only four minutes and for couple of more minutes in the kiss and cry corner. The soccer team, dressed in the same manufacturerís uniform with the same sponsorís logo is on the screen for 90 minutes non-stop. Itís much easier to understand the soccer rules than our lutzes and flips. Also, in skating the gap between the earning of people who regularly make the podium and those who are right behind them is very huge. And what can you say about the skaters who place 10th Ė 30th. Comparing with tennis, not even the amounts, just the gap, itís day and night. ButÖ we are talking about the most successful sports, and if you compare gymnastics with skating, my sport isnít that bad.

Question: like your free program very much. I think itís your best in four years or maybe in your entire career.
Evgeny: I agree.

Question: With that, do you feel any regrets that this program was made in a pre-Olympic year? Maybe it shouldíve been saved for the Olympics?
Evgeny: That wouldíve been strange. Edwin Marton got the inspiration and he wrote that music. With my coach, we listened what Edwin did and got inspired too. That melody wouldíve stayed in my head and everything else would be boring comparing to it if we wouldíve decided, like you offered, to save it for Olympic season.

Question: Some skaters keep the same program for two seasons. Is that possible in your case?
Evgeny: Maybe, but we have to try to do something even more breathtaking

Question: Would you stay in the sport if you dream comes true and you take a gold in Torino in a year?
Evgeny: Iím not ready to answer that now. It will depend on how I would feel at the moment. If I would be tired from the sport, I would leave. Itís very hard to come to any event thinking you must be first. Plus, not only I can get tired of having to win, the fans can get tired of my victories. Leaving timely is a big art.