The Olympics and the team event do not exist for the purpose of providing Maxim Kovtun with experience and exposure. If the Russian federation feels that Plushenko is the better choice for the team event, Kovtun should be happy if he gets the chance to skate in the individual. Plushenko has earned the honor of representing Russia at a home Olympics and whatever glory might ensue; this wouldn't be charity being sent his way.
So only you care about fair play? That's not agreeing to disagree, that's being smug and condescending. If your definition of fair play has an athlete forcing himself to compete beyond what he is able in the interest of creating an appearance of fairness, then we indeed very strongly disagree. I think most skating fans realize that Plushenko is limited in how many competitions he can do, certainly within a short period of time. Limited does not imply completely unable, as you seem to believe. Blame the IOC and ISU for coming up with such ridiculous rules and timing for the team event, not Plushenko for wanting to skate and contribute to his team's success.Yikes. I agree to strongly disagree.
I really hope that Plushenko will not stoop to the level of flouting the rules. He is a champion, and fair play should mean something to him -- even if it means nothing to you.
How would Plushenko competing only in the team event and withdrawing for medical reasons circumvent this oath? It would abide by the rules, there's no doping, the glory of the sport seems obvious - he'd be skating to the best of his ability - and the honour of the team too, since he would be contributing to their success. I think it would be very fair to do what he can in the team event and then let another skater have a shot at the Olympics on home ice. I find it sad that you would paint such a thing as contrary to good sportsmanship.“In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.”
Michael Phelps is irrelevant, of course. Elite skating puts a lot more stress on the body than swimming.