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MOSCOW, January 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is famous for his criticism of things he dislikes in a bold, dramatic and even rude manner, has declared on Thursday that if Evgeni Plushenko fails to win the Olympic gold in Sochi the LDPR party will do everything to sack the Russian Figure Skating Federation.
Plushenko "has been ill", Zhirinovsky claims. "Why do we send then an injured sportsman to the Olympics?" Zhirniovsky wonders. "Maxim Kovtun would be the right choice," Zhirinovsky declared at "An Open Tribune" debates devoted to the development of sport and health protection. "If Plushenko fails to win we will do everything possible to sack the Figure Skating Federation," Zhirinovsky warned.
Evgeni Plushenko was granted the only quota entitled to the Russian Olympic team in men's figure skating event. At the Russian figure skating championship held in the end of December Plushenko was second, losing to young sportsman Maxim Kovtun who became Russia's champion.
Plushchenko did not take part in the European Figure Skating championship which ended in Budapest last weekend. The Russian Figure Skating Federation had pinned hopes on Maxim Kovtun at the European championship, but his free program proved a disappointment to his fans. Maxim Kovtun was placed fifth at the European Championship, losing to Spaniard Javier Fernandez and his fellow-teammates Sergei Voronov and Konstantin Menshov, who won silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Evgeni Plushenko separately demonstrated his free program to an expert commission of the Russian Federation of Figure Skating at the Olympics sports training base in the town of Novogorsk on Tuesday. The commission was satisfied with Plushenko's performance and nominated him to the Russian National Olympic team to compete in men's figure skating event in which Russia will be represented by one skater only.