Russian figure-skater Evgeni Plushenko tours Slovakia

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Evgeni Plushenko of Russia, the four-times world champion figures skater won his first Olympic Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. He then decided to take a break from competitive skating to rest and recover from past knee injuries. In April last year, however, Plushenko announced he would return to the ice to compete in the 2010 Olympics to be held in Vancouver in Canada. Meanwhile he keeps on doing his exhibition show called King of Ice. Two shows are scheduled for Bratislava and Kosice in Slovakia in April. He's been speaking to Slovak media.

“Yes, I am coming back to competitive skating though many do not believe I can make it. Fortunatelly my injuries are a thing of the past. I train every day in the morning and in the evening when I jump quadruple toe loop-triple toe loops. I also train steps and these are normal training sessions as I had during competitive seasons. My friend, the ice hockey player Alexei Zhamnov, he was captain of the Chicago Blackhawks and won three Olympic medals: gold, silver and bronze. Now I have gold from Torino and silver from Salt Lake City so I miss a bronze medal. Now you see why I should go to Vancouver in 2010. I am joking of course. My goal is to become an Olympic Champion for the second time.”

The 25 year old Plushenko has been very fond of his exhibition show where he hosts plenty of world class ice skaters such as fellow Russian Irina Slutskaya who is a seven time European Champion, two time World Champion and the holder of two Olympic medals, also the French skater Surya Bonali who is the only skater in the world to do a backflip landed on only one blade.

“These shows are good for skaters because they can practice some elementsof their routine such as different types of jumps during exhibitions and then use them in their long or short programmes in competitions. Then younger skaters can learn a lot by taking part in them. I plan to have some Slovak and Czech skaters on ice during my upcoming shows in Slovakia and the Czech republic.”

Plushenko has another reason to love these exhibition shows.

“To me ice skating is theatre, it’s a show, it’s not a sport…even in competition, it’s closer to performing arts.”

But back to competitive ice skating, Plushenko likes to quote his coach for 14 years Alexei Mishin who said..

“The desired result should be your main task. In sport there is only one such result – victory'. Currently the competition is very strong in figure skating. The Japanese, the Americans, the Canadians, even the Czechs have very good athletes. But I believe that if I am in good form then I manage to face their competition. Our discipline has changed a lot if I have to compare it with seven-eight years ago when I was competing with Alexei Yagudin and it was enough to jump two quadruple toe loops to win. Nowadays skaters come and jump triple toe loops and win the short programmes. I don’t find it fair when people who make three mistakes manage to be in the top three and then our Russian skater Voronov comes and has a clean short programme with a quadruple toe loop but doesn’t manage to get into the top three. Where is figure skating going? Its going backwards instead of forwards.”

Coach Alexei Mishin has described Plushenko’s skating to the writings of Shakespeare. And if you are in Bratislava or Kosice in mid-April then you can come and judge Mishin’s statement with your own eyes.