New article article on Maxim Kovtun. It reads:-

Evgeni Plushenko is aiming to get fit in time for an Olympic swansong in Sochi next year, but he faces a challenge from 18-year-old fellow Russian Maxim Kovtun, who staked his claim with a strong skate Thursday.

Host nation Russia has been allocated just one place in the men’s singles for Sochi, putting pressure on the injury-ravaged Plushenko, who has not competed since January, to prove he is still capable of skating at the top level.

That pressure increased Thursday when Kovtun debuted a short program featuring two jumps with four rotations, an extremely challenging program feature seen as essential for gold-medal contenders.

“That was the main goal, to try two quads in the short,” Kovtun said after taking the lead at a Russian Cup event with his new program. He landed one quad cleanly but fell on the other.

“I’d like to be skating clean, but so far it’s turning out very difficult and lacking in control,” said Kovtun, who was a disappointing 18th at the world championships in April. “I want to go to the Olympics, but for that I need to produce ideal skates at two Grands Prix.”
Kovtun had a superb start to last season, winning both of his JGP events and the final in impressive style. However, the Russian Fed made a big mistake in pushing him too far too fast in selecting him for the 2013 World Championships, where he finished a disastrous 18th (leaving Russia with just one spot for their home Olympics). In selecting Kovtun for Worlds, they piled too much pressure on to a young skater, and who knows how long it will take Kovtun to recover from the psychological scars. Nevertheless, Kovtun has made an okay start to the season. He scored 78.00 in his Russia Cup SP, landing a quad and a 3A (but falling on the other quad).

So, can Kovtun close the gap on Plushenko and qualify for the Russian team for the Olympics? Kovtun has great potential, but as Russia only has one spot for the Olympics, whoever is selected for the Olympic team is going to have to deal with a lot of pressure and expectations. That requires someone with experience. Given what happened to Kovtun at 2013 Worlds and his lack of senior experience, then I think somebody else should be selected (unless his performances over the coming months are especially compelling and well ahead of the other Russian skaters). My view is that Kovtun is really a skater for the next quad, and his opportunity will come at the 2018 Olympics.