Fox – Russians are turning on legendary figure skater Evgeni Plushenko — their own countryman — a day after he dropped out of the Sochi Olympics for medical reasons. Plushenko’s strong performance in the team event helped Russia earn its first gold medal at the Sochi Games, along with wide accolades for his determination to overcome a prior back injury. But on Thursday he withdrew before the men’s short program, complaining of severe spinal pain during the warmup… But on Friday, some Russians suggested Plushenko didn’t go far enough. “I think Zhenya will understand my words,” said longtime rival Alexei Yagudin, the 2002 Olympic gold medalist, using the familiar version of Plushenko’s name. “We always competed through the pain.” Alexei Yagudin told the R-Sport news agency he supports “people who go to the end.” Plushenko was Russia’s only men singles skater in Sochi. He won the slot in a closed exhibition skate that cut out Maxim Kovtun, who beat him in the Russian nationals… “You should go when it’s time,” Ruslan Nugmatullin, a former Russian national soccer goalkeeper said on Twitter. “Kovtun earned the right to participate in Sochi2014.” Alexei Urmanov, the 1994 Olympic gold-medal winner, suggested that Plushenko’s hubris backfired. “It’s on the conscience of Zhenya, the team and the federation,” he was quoted by R-Sport.
First of all, thanks for the asscrack, NBC. Second, things are just going from bad to worse for Mother Russia, huh? I mean, you know things are going off the rails when losing a shootout to a borderline NHL All Star with a Pokemon name isn’t the worst thing that happened to you this weekend. And make no mistake, to the Russians Plushenko’s failure is worse than a prelim loss to the Americans. This guy is their national icon. The one Russian above all others that women want to be with and men want to be. Their Ivan Drago, the symbol of all that is good about their country. And they’re still so sore he got Rocky IV’ed by American Hero Evan Lysacek in 2010 that they screwed over their own legitimate champion in some phoney baloney secret skate-off just so Plushenko could try for another gold. But he just ended up pulling a Brettfavre: Playing way past his prime and dragging his whole team down. And like Brettfavre, it took awhile but eventually everyone caught onto the fact he’s just another selfish fraud who’s only interested in his own glory, not the greater good. At least we got this out of it, courtesy of Vanity Fair:
While we’re on the subject, this was by far the worst Men’s Olympic Skating Competition ever. With all due respect to medal winners Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, Canadian Patrick Chan and Dennis Tan of Borat’s country (sorry but the only geography I know I learn from watching beauty pageants) there wasn’t one performance that was championship worthy. Hell, Hanyu himself fell twice and only won because somebody had to. It was the skating equivalent of the US Open in 2007 when Angel Cabrera won with +5 because everyone was shanking balls and missing putts and he was the least bad. They said when Lysacek won in Vancouver he’d be the last winner without a quad. Well now it looks like the quad is killing the sport. Everyone is so fixated on going for the home run they’re batting .100. Poor Jeremy Abbott was so fixated on trying to land one he almost killed himself:
… That he managed to survive this and still finish his Long Program was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen on skates. And I saw Gregory Campbell finish a penalty kill with a broken leg. My man Jason Brown doesn’t even attempt a quad in the Riverdance routine that blew the roof off the Garden at Nationals. But the pressure of the moment got to him too and he skated so badly he wouldn’t have made the medal stand at the Barstool Olympics. So it was just bad all around. Bad execution. Too much emphasis on jumping and not enough artistry. A paper champion. And a Russian hero turned into a national embarrassment. We can only hope the skating turns itself around fast. Because right now the only man in the sport worth watching is Johnny Weir. @JerryThornton1
[h/t to Laurie B]