My 1st Sochi-versary of being a Plushenko fan

I’d been away from blogging for the past couple weeks, but I’d planned this one for a while.

When it comes to the people who catch my interest, I tend to be big on the anniversaries… celebrating birthdays and also the moments I became a fan… or in the case of 2 people, I went from casual fan to die-hard serious.
And I usually do this the first couple years or until I forget the important date.

I guarantee, though, there will be no forgetting Thursday February 13 2014
may not have been Friday the 13th, but it was very unlucky for Evgeni Plushenko.

…just to backtrack a little bit, first…
INTRODUCTION

I always look forward to the Olympics. Always had since Nancy Kerrigan got silver (I really should check Oksana’s programs on YouTube because I was upset Nancy didn’t win, especially after all the controversy surrounding her and Tanya Harding).
Only in Vancouver did I start watching more than just figure skating, which was my go-to sport. First time I really notice of Lindsay Vonn despite this not being her first time. Also was the first time I remember watching the MEN’S figure skating. Cuz I grew up with Nancy and Tara Lipinski and Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan.

I didn’t come away from Vancouver with a good impression of the infamous figure skater from Russia who claimed he deserved gold because Evan Lysachek didn’t have the quadruple jump. I’m thinking to myself “so what?”… I don’t know why I thought that, honestly… maybe I thought quads were just an overachievement..
I’d always kinda found Russia fascinating as a country because they produce such strong artistic athletes. I noticed that in the 2004 Olympics with Svetlana who lost to Carly Patterson. Both were amazing, btw. And of course, my curiosity is because we used to be enemies way back in the days of the Cold War.
Perhaps some of my negative came from Hollywood’s obsession in 80’s movie of marking Russians as the villains.

Either way, I gathered he was used to winning all the time and he was practically a legend who got surpassed…
Despite all that, the event passed out of my head as soon as Evan made the cast of “Dancing with the Stars” in March. Forget about the “quadruple jump controversy” (I’m not kidding, there’s seriously a Wikipedia entry on that topic!)

FOUR YEARS LATER- SOCHI, RUSSIA 2014

Before I go into full-on Plushenko blogging, I just wanted to comment on how this was the first time I watched all of the figure skating disciplines. Never saw pairs or ice dancing. Ice dancing, I slightly prefer, mainly because their music is less repetitive and it’s prettier. Pairs just don’t grab me the same way :shrug: maybe I need to watch more.

Yuzuru Hanyu blew me away in the team event… I had no idea Japan had that kind of talent… I think he more or less put them on the map this season (although Daisuke Takahashi might have gotten that ball rolling a couple years ago… he’d just recently retired).
Mishe Ge from Uzbekistan was great as well, although he skated too early to really impact the standings.
Yulia Lipniski blew everyone away… I thought she was just too good that it didn’t seem fair to our girls… again, now that I’ve embraced Russia’s figure skating program, I wish I could take back whatever bad karma I created early by wishing she wasn’t so good. Because now I want to see her do well and shake off whatever jitters she’s had since Sochi.
Ashley Wagner was my favorite of the American skaters… well, her and Jeremy Abbott… it’s a tough call between them. But I thought she earned her place on the time. Loved her sass & fire. Still do.

On Twitter, Jeremy retweeted someone who commented on his dramatic fall during the individual competition. Literally minutes after Plushenko withdrew, I was terrified Jeremy would as well. Didn’t think he’d get up after that scary fall and crash into the wall. But somehow, thanks mostly to the crowd’s support, he got back up and finished. It’s unfortunate he rarely does well when it really counts, but all the same, I hope he keeps competing because I enjoy watching him.

And finally, Johnny & Tara… an amazing couple of commentators they turned out to be…

EVGENI PLUSHENKO- SHORT PROGRAM- TEAM EVENT

Again, I will never know how I missed this one. I turned on the broadcast 15-20 minutes too late and had to hear from Jeremy’s post-skate interview that he got the crowd going so much that it was too much to handle 😛
Again, I didn’t spend 4 years holding a grudge, but I never forgot the controversy. So I’m thinking “is it the same guy?” and apparently it was… so of course I’m excited to see him the next time he skated to see if that hype really was worth it…

and it totally was.

[But seriously, I have to go off YouTube to find a good video of this short program… as if it wasn’t bad enough I missed it the first time and had only seen it maybe 2-3 times since… once on TV during a reply of Sochi’s figure skating]
**watching it just now, I’m fighting not to scream from the excitement (everyone else is sleeping right now)… I don’t remember how much I saw of him in Vancouver or maybe it was the hype talking, but I totally got that same impression from him during this program. I know now that he was really nervous going into it, the first of his team to compete, but he didn’t look it. Except for the triple axel, which didn’t have an absolute perfect landing, the rest was absolute perfection. Everything so precise and calculated. I really hope that his official website keeps that video in their library for as long as possible. It really is amazing.

EVGENI PLUSHENKO- FREE SKATE- TEAM COMPETITION

3 days later, after my missed opportunity, I was ready for this one… yet I wasn’t quite ready for something like this.
I knew he was REALLY good and he brought that excellence. But I had no idea he was so creative, not to mention playful… professionalism aside, I knew nothing about him, so every little thing was a surprise. The greatest was that he’s really good at what he does, but he’s not arrogant. On the contrary, he is humble, hard-working, and a very generous individual with his fans.

–“Shh”– in that moment, I was blown away and swept off my feet. I loved every minute of it.

I’d seen this program maybe… once or twice more than the short program, really… one live, one as part of that NBCsports reply, once online and at least once while I was planning my YouTube montage.

***My mind was in and out watching this… some personal stuff going on… part of me was anticipating the events that come next [which today is the anniversary of], worrying about that… but also I’d seen these scenes so many times while making my YouTube montage that it feels almost as fragmented as the music. Which is a combination of former programs composed by Edvin Marton.
But two moments that stood out were he mimed “Shh”… and when “Tosca Fantasy” started playing… it’s been a while since I’ve heard that music and it always gets me swept away. All my nerves and whatever from before disappeared.
…I also suspect this didn’t impact me as much as it has in the past because his short program was so good that this didn’t quite feel as great. But I never minded that.
February 9th will go down as the first time I saw Plushenko skate.

EVGENI PLUSHENKO WITHDRAWS FROM INDIVIDUAL COMPETITION

no matter what happened, I think I still would have followed up with Plushenko to see what he’d do next. I didn’t know that he’d be the skater competing for Russia or that he was the ONLY male skater competing for Russia individually… I still wonder about why he was the only one they selected, but this is the last time I’ll address it. If Plushenko personally wants to bring it up, that’s up to him :shrug:

A life-changing moment for sure… if only for the next couple weeks, my life changed as I became addicted to Twitter to see how he would recover from this injury and the subsequent surgery… I don’t think about it all the time, but when I do, it still hits me.

this was my Facebook status that day:
“Been eating up all this ice skating in the Olympics. The men were so great today. Lots of amazing moments, but my heart’s still breaking for Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko. The man won my respect in a big way during the team competition and it sucks he ends his career on a withdrawal.”
…just so I never forget I posted that, I’ll screen-shoot this and add it to my notebook later.
Posted it at 10:10pm, but nonetheless had been haunting me all day. It was even worse to see during that night’s broadcast, NBC doing a “fluff” piece on him beforehand despite knowing how everything worked out for him.

Anyway… I think I’d made my feelings on the whole situation clear. I’ll go on to watch some footage of that [after which point I’ll only view it via my YouTube montage so I don’t focus on it entirely], recollect the interviews he did afterwards and watch my montage to relive everything…

But most importantly, it includes my favorite parts of his programs and his steady journey towards recovery over this past year… which has been amazing, by the way 😉

It has been an honor & privilege to be a fan… and I only hope that Plushenko continues his recovery well and whatever he chooses to do, he’ll be happy. As always, I’d love to see him compete again, but only if it’s what he wants the most 😉

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