Blow for blow

Evgeni Plushenko

By Barbara Castellaro,
special to World Figure Skating

Photo: Donatella Acquaviva

In Turin he had confessed me, during an interview, that he’s not in the top sporting shape and that he wants to finish this season but he must to go through a new surgical procedure because he has only the one major goal: the fourth Olympics in Sochi, his homeland, in his beloved Russia.

Some journalists, those who are always ready to sell the new skating sensation depending on the trend, after the short program had started to speak about his withdrawal without even considering the fact that Plushenko, who has already entered in the legends of sports, is going to the ice again to beat his own records and to continue the long time struggle where Evgeni competes against Evgeni.

Plushenko, athlete from the character of steel with eyes like Siberian lakes, has always loved the challenges and he has found stimuli in criticism and replied blow for blow.

Saturday evening, in the long program, he was inaccessible, very concentrated; filling the ice rink with his presence, his charisma, his personality and with the notes of sensual “Tango de Roxanne” performed by his friend Edvin Marton.

In Sheffield’s ice dropped the silence, like in the temples of ancient Greece during a sacred ceremony. Evgeni opened performance with a quadruple toe-loop and then added a full repertoire of jumps, beautiful spins and step sequences. All this the skater performed with a great passion, in the manner and with a grace which can be compared with Nureyev’s dances.

The choice of new costume was also accurate, a complete jacket and black trousers as in the prince Andrei’s night which was in the air of nineteenth century described in the novel “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy – a mythical and unattainable figure of a knight.

When the music ended, when the last movement of Evgeni finished, the spectators of Sheffield together with spectators from all over the world have started to breathe, all Motorpoint Arena stood up, someone has cried because only the real art can reach the depths of the human heart.

Evgeni, on the other hand, has stretched out the face in a smile. Only who knows him can fully understand that he gave everything to the audience this evening and once again he won in spite of critics, health’s problem and people who called him “too old to win”.

He has reached the “kiss and cry” and waited for the final marks with Alexei Mishin – the coach, friend and almost his father. He waited for the result with the awareness that he already got the seventh European gold medal.

Translated from Italian by Giorgia Ruggeri

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