ST. PETERSBURG, January 30, 21:58 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian figure-skater Yevgeny Plushchenko is in good shape for the Sochi Olympics and is capable of showing a good performance, Alexei Urmanov, an Olympic men’s figure-skating champion, said at the Itar-Tass regional information center in St. Petersburg as part of the Olympic Parlor project on Thursday.
“We hope that Plushchenko will skate well. He is now in the final stage of preparation for the Olympics. He had enough time for training after the Russian nationals. I believe that Plushchenko has obtained the right shape, which is necessary for a good Olympic performance,” Urmanov went on to say.
He noted there was too much talk about Plushchenko’s final pre-Olympic test skate and it was time to stop all the chit-chat.
“Could the Russian Figure-Skating Federation give the only license to the Olympics to an athlete who is not ready for it? Just think of that! No, the Federation is sending an athlete who is ready to compete at the Olympics,” Urmanov emphasized.
He stressed that Plushchenko was ready for the Olympics and called for stopping all the intrigues and behind-the-scenes struggle in the run-up to such important competitions as the Winter Olympic Games.
Urmanov explained that figure-skaters had always been chosen for the Olympics in two stages: the Russian nationals and the European championship. He said that Russia’s rising star Maxim Kovtun had won the Russian nationals but was only the fifth at the European champs.
“At the same time, Plushchenko’s test skate showed that he was in good shape,” the former figure-skater who is now training young skaters said.
For her part, Russia’s honoured figure-skating coach Tatyana Tarasova said after Plushchenko’s test skate on January 21 that it was absolutely right to send 2006 men’s Olympic Figure-Skating Champion Yevgeny Plushenko to the Olympic Games in Sochi.
“I think that the decision is not subject to any discussion. This is the right choice. He feels well and is ready to compete. He is an outstanding figure-skater and has earned the right to perform at the Olympics,” Tarasova said.
Asked whether Plushenko’s presence in Sochi would give some kind of guarantee that Russia would win a medal in men’s single skating, Tarasova replied there could be no guarantees but the choice was right.
“What guarantees are you talking about? Can you be sure that you won’t slip and break anything? It’s just sport. But the choice was right,” Tarasova emphasized.
Coming back to Urmanov, he also said that Russian pair skaters, Ksenia Stolbova and Fyodor Klimov, would also go to the Sochi Olympics.
“Fyodor and Ksenia are young and promising figure-skaters. They skated well at the European champs where they won the silver medal. I believe they have everything for performing well at the Olympic Games,” Urmanov said.
He did not rule out that Russian figure-skaters could win medals of highest value at team competitions to be held in Sochi for the first time in the history of Winter Olympic Games.