Plushenko's interview to "Russian peppers" on Russian Radio (aired on March19th).
Plushenko: Hello everyone.
Journalist: First of all, how is your back? How is your health? All your vertebrae are in order, one after another? Is everything alright?
P: I just came back from Israel two days ago. I had another examination and went through light rehabilitation. Thanks god things are fine and my vertebrae are getting fused with each other (laugh). I have resumed my training already. It's impossible to jump now but I can jog and swim, as well as attend my favourite banya where I love to "parit'sya" (hit/massage oneself or get the one from others, with the bunch of dried branches and leaves in Russian sauna- *let`s talk). So little by little I am getting back to my training process. My plans are serious- Olympic games. At the end of April I am going to Novosibirsk to make a new program with a new chorographer.
J: What are your docs saying? What are their recommendations? They are not saying it's too early, that you should just "sit" on things a little longer?
P: Well, I have been "sitting" on things for a month and a half with doing nothing. It's a miserable disaster for me. I cannot not do any sport at all.
J: By the way, friends, Evgeni put on weight. I am on a diet myself eating cucumbers only.
P: Thanks a lot but I prefer lamb (laugh).
J: Zhenya, how is the situation with that TV commentator with whom you are having a "direct military clash." The last thing I read was that there some "neuro linguistic" examination of what he said should take place. In two words for our listerners: the commentator Zhu-ran-kov said during the broadcast that no operation on Plushenko's spinal ever happened, that all this was just a PR stunt and in fact Plushenko is as healthy as an ox.
P: That's true. He said such things and it made me angry. I had a rough career in my sport life. My last operation, the 13th one, was the most difficult. It lasted for 3 hours and a half, they removed my intervertebral disc, put a polymer one and inserted 4 screws there. So, when a man tells to the whole country that it was all a PR lie, then of course I got mad. In fact I would have accepted his apology and nothing afterwards would have taken place if he had called me and apologized like a Man is supposed to do. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Moreover, when someone asked him why he hadn't apologized, he said "Why should I if Plushenko didn't call me?" Such attitude is just plain rude. I was working hard for my entire life to make my name and earn the trust of people. I didn't do all this to be humiliated by some journalist who simply called me a PR liar.
J: Have you ever met this journalist before?
P: I have. I met him in 2010 in Vancouver and he looked like an adequate professional journalist to me. He asked me normal questions, I gave him interviews, etc. I don't know what happened to him since then and I have no idea if somebody asked him to say the things he said about me or not.
J: Zhenya, we have an interesting situation in general: in sport there are too many scandals nowdays: doping, match-fixing, commentators saying hell knows what. I don't remember anything like that 10-15 years ago. What is it? The sport has degraded or the sport journalism? Or it's just that we didn't know anything before but now we know all thanks to mass media? What do you think?
P: Well, I think if you are a sport journalist, you should comment sport precisely and nothing else. No need to comment my personal life, my wife, my kids, my so-called "show business" or whatever. I am not doing any show business. Yes, I have a lot of friends in that field. Probably some people are too concerned about the fact that I have so many friends in show business, in politics, in the theatre and movie worlds. I think journalists should have a more professional approach to their work. If they comment figure skating, so please study this sport, like the difference between lutz and flip jumps. That is what they should talk about: technical skills, programs of skaters, their costumes, choreography, so on. Journalists have to study figure skating before being assigned to comment this sport.
(after a break time and fluff on the financial news from Cyprus)
J: By the way, Zhenya, where do you think it's better to keep your money safe? In your own country or elsewhere?
P: I keep my money in my home land. But I won't disclose the name of the bank, okay? (laugh)
J: Evgeni, we seldom have athelets here, especially such a famous ones like you. Will we be able to do it in time for Sochi Olympics? There are so many things flying around in media.
P: You know, this season I became the Russian Nationals champion for the 10th time exactly there in Sochi. It is a very nice arena, good quality of the ice. Of course there is just one huge construction site right now but I am sure we will do it alright and the Olympics in our country will be held on the highest level possible. The Olympic games is our heritage that we are leaving for children, so I am very proud that we are a host country. Naturally I do want to compete there and finish my career at my 4th Olympics.
P: Of course. I am 30 years old now.
J: How old you are? 30? Oh, my... That's not just antiquity. It's decrepitude! (laugh)
(after commercial break)
J: Zhenya, we talked about the preparation for the Olympics objects in general. Now how about you as an object and your own preparation for the Games (laugh). Usually it takes years for athletes to prepare for the Olympcs. But you have had such an "occasion" ('operation' here- *let`s talk) just recently. Do you have enough time left to prepare?
P: I'll do my best whatever it takes. It's difficult to predict anything right now, it's 50/50. I want and I am ready to fight but it all depends on my back conditions. I will know in June. The doctor who operated me, and who performed a tons of operations of this kind, told me that it's a must to go through the right rehabilitation course, to recover, not to push things and not to force them. Then evrything will be fine and I'll be able again to skate, to jump and conquer the podiums.
J: So, you will know in June?
P: In June I am going to our regular sport camp. Before that in May I am going to Kislovodsk for general physical training and to enjoy hot springs and mineral waters.
J: Evgeni, could you please give me a big favour to bring mineral water from Kislovodsk? I am on a diet eating cucmbers and carrots only. It's easy to buy them in Moscow but Caucasian mineral waters is another story! Just a couple of liters, please.
P: Done. (laugh)
J: Recently we had one famous actor here and he said that it's a normal thing among actors to have so-called "actor's envy." How about it in the world of sport? Do you have true enemies?
P: You know, I had only one real "enemy" on ice, but not off ice, my ex-rival and an oustanding athlete Alexei Yagudin. By the way, yesterday it was his birthday, so I want to use the moment and congratulate him: "Lyokha, happy bithday!"
J: H-a-p-p-y b-i-r-t-h-d-a-y!
P: I am not an envious person. I have a wonderful family and career, I have a lot of children! The youngest Sashka is 2 months and a half only. He is a fantastic baby-boy. I am just enjoying the life. But in sport when we are on the rink I hate everyone and do my best to beat them all.
J: Thanks god that we are not the rink! Otherwise Evgeni would have chosen another tone to talk to us, my friends.
(after fluff break)
J: Pardon my ignorance but with all the hysteria around I honestly want to know if the popularity of figure skating growing or declining?
P: Where? In Russia? In Russia I think figure skating is sport #3. Of course football and ice hockey are in the lead and then figure skating right after them. By the way just now the World Figure Skating championship has finished and I want to congratulate our new World champions in Pairs Tatyana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. It's their first World title, before that they won Europeans too, so I think we have a big future in Pairs. In Men we were not successful, but well, let's take it easy and don't get upset much because I am back on the scene (laugh).
J: That is what I want to talk about. A lot of people think that you are "charmed". Look, for years we have been having "Plushenko, Plushenko" only and no one else nearby of the same league.
J: And what's the reason of it?
P: Well, I don't drink blood, I don't take magic pills. But I have wizards. (laugh) The real reason why I have been around for so long time is that I do love figure skating. Maybe the god gave me this gift and desire to win and to study new things. I know I am not perfect and I have a lot of things to learn about. But I love skating and I do love competing. So I think that is the reason of my longest career.
J: We have some trouble news from the International Olympic Committee on that they want to remove wrestling from the list of Olympic sports and replace it with either baseball or American football. Some people believe that it's a conspiracy against Russia because we are traditionally very strong in wrestling.
P: I have to say that the US and Canada are indeed pushing their interests hard in figure skating. Just look at the results of the recent Worlds: a Canadian guy Patrick Chan won in Canada. Yes, he is not a bad skater, but how can anyone win Worlds with 4 major mistakes two of which are falls? I have no idea how they calculated his scores without lobbying. But I think it happened for the first time in my memory that a skater with 4 big mistakes 2 of them falls won the World title. And you know, everyone takes it loyal, adequate..
J: Come one! The guy just fell, it can happen to anyone. It's called "the New Judging System." Don't carp on people, please! (laugh)
P: I know what you mean. I am just sayng that the US and Canada are feeling very comfortable on that account.
(after fluff break)
J: Evgeni, what do you think about the new law on blood donation, when people are still getting one day-off and free meal but they are not getting paid anymore.
P: I think donation is something that goes from your heart. It's not something you are doing for money, you are helping people with this good deed. Still the government gives you some sandwiches and you don't have to work on the day after the day of blood donation.
(after fluff break)
J: Evgeni, we have a tradition here: we ask all our guests to say something light-hearted and profound to cover all our listeners.
P: You know, I want to say that now, after all the country thanks to media found out that I had an operation, a lot of people on streets come up to me, wish me good health and say that they believe in me. It's a really nice thing to hear, it inspires me. I want to recover as soon as possible, to regain my sport conditions, to create and to compete again. My dearest gratitude to all our people and the country, and I promise I will do what I can to achieve all things possible and maybe impossible too. Thank you.