Is Plushenko the most popular winter athlete in Russia? I could think the hockey team (Ovetskjin… ?) is Russia's main favorite and most under pressure to win gold. The Russian cross country skiers are also very good (the men won the relay at World Cup in Norway two weeks ago) as well as their biathlon team. And perhaps others… ? I read a post here somewhere which said Plushenko is a favorite to carry the Russian flag at the opening ceremony (don't remember who the voters were)
In short I wonder how much the Russians(except for figure skating fans) appreciate Plushenko and think it is important that he competes in Sochi.