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22 March 2010 @ 04:57 pm - article by Artur Werner

Plush complaints from an un-lush personality

I must admit being shocked by words and behavior of the Vancouver Olympics silver medalist, as since 1990’s I've considered him one of the most outstanding skaters in the world, and have tried to support him in my articles the best I could. I was also among the first in the summer of 2009 to believe in his return.

 However, over the many years of observing European, World, and Olympic competitions, I've never encountered an athlete planning to attend World championships with such a negative image. I'm sure you've deduced by now that I'm talking of Evgeny Plushenko, whose tongue, wholly disengaged from the thinking apparatus, has produced so many lies, that even the most faithful fans of this extraordinary skater have met their idol's words and moves with incredulity and hurt. In this, Plushenko has finally surpassed his main rival Alexei Yagudin, though only in the negative sense. So, what happened to this clearly talented skater? When has he been eaten alive by the rust of arrogance, lies, greed, and extortion?


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17 February 2010 @ 09:57 am

Lesson in Chinese

So, dear readers, imagine yourselves once again up in the stands of the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, awaiting the battle among the pair skaters who were at the top after yesterday’s short programs, and were now in the last two groups.


As you recall, short program results came as a surprise not just to the participants, but for their federations as well. The “magnificent five” were comprised of Xue Shen/ Hongbo Zhao, Aliona Savchenko/ Robin Szolkowy, Yuko Kavaguti/ Alexander Smirnov, Qing Pang/ Jian Tong, and Dan Zhang/ Hao Zhang. Maria Mukhortova with Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova with Yury Larionov came eighth and twelfth, respectively.

Last night, I watched the last group’s skate on a tiny TV screen. Seeing the recording today, I see that Savchenko and Szolkowy go more than their deserved; fair judging would have placed them third, if not fourth or even fifth. The Chinese showed quite strong and difficult short programs. Of course, my heart goes out to Masha and Max losing their chance for an Olympic medal, but they can only blame their nerves and their coach.

All that was yesterday. By today, the tears of yesterday’s losses have dried up, the joy of yesterday’s victory is safely tucked away, and the taught nerves are ready for the new performance. Will they hold up under this ultimate pressure?


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08 July 2008 @ 03:28 pm
Article by Werner

A few days ago, the site of the International Skating Union published the list of participants for each of the ISU Grand Prix events. Grand Prix is like racing horses before the horseracing World championships, where the composition of each race is put together very carefully. It just has to be that way. In figure skating, just as on the hippodromes, bets (albeit unofficial one) are placed on the future medalists of Europe, Worlds, and the Olympics. Those who play this betting game are usually certain national federation presidents, certain coaches, or certain unique judges. In the long line of bookies, Valentin Nikolayevich Piseev is without a doubt the most experienced one. Distributing Russian athletes among the six races – sorry, I mean events – he is making exact calculations as to where his mares will win outright or at least in a photo finish, and where he should send is prize stallions. That’s why the list for the 2008 Grand Prix led to so many questions and opinions.
08 April 2008 @ 09:47 pm
March 26, 2008 21:13

“Smorgasbord” crumbs

All reforms are leading to the ISU president burying figure skating in near future.

Another figure skating season came to an end in a marvelous “Scandinavium” arena of a nice Swedish city of Gothenburg. It ended with a decent World championship whose last chord was the cacophony of men’s single skating. Later on, we’ll talk about the representatives of the stronger as well as, alas, weaker gender. I’ll start with what I usually leave for dessert – ice dancing, which is sometimes still referred to as sports dancing.

Let me indulge myself a bit with an old man’s grumbling and journalistic demagoguery. Sports dancing?! Excuse me, but isn’t it an oxymoron, like artistic 10 kilometer run, or ballroom jumps with a pole? This concept, which I think only existed in the Soviet Russian language, has long outlived itself. Sometimes, though, it seems that deep in the souls of the Soviet, and now Russian functionaries it is still alive and well, making many young Russian dancers look like athletes laboriously doing their homework assignments. They are not ladies and their gentlemen, but partners at work; they’re like skim milk, alcohol-free wine, or caffeine-free coffee. Obviously, some dances were created with a goal of showing the dancers at their most sex appealing, but the Russians, alas, resemble school children passing their sexual maturity exams using Kama Sutra as the textbook. The poor souls try to perform each element learned from this textbook so painstakingly that the technique shows, but the sex appeal disappears forever.

25 February 2008 @ 07:06 pm
February 1, 2008

Whom will Victoria smile at?

In Zagreb, filling orders from papers and answering questions at the conference, I was dreaming of coming back home on Sunday, relaxing for a day, and getting to write about the championship on Tuesday. Unfortunately, due to the never-ending diabetes and its aftermath, my body needs ever more time to restore itself, and during the first few days my tired brain categorically ref used to order my hands to write something readable. After passing the mid-week point, it suggested I forget about the championship, and talk to my readers about the “before and after”. So, I had to find a compromise to prevent my CPU from combusting altogether. Maybe in a year or two, it will forbid me such trips altogether.

Original here:
06 December 2007 @ 10:37 am

09/29/2007, Artur Werner




From what son-of-a-bitch and liar

Came this thing,

Where childhood's exchanged

For medals?!

What devil's state

Found it to be so fun

To steal the others' fame

In broad daylight?!

            Alexander GALICH, "Olympic fairytale"


I've been asked so many times if the skaters defending the Russian flag need psychological help that I decided to devote an article to this subject. If I had to summarize this article in one sentence, it would be thus - "They don't just need it, they require it no less than air, ice, coach, and choreographer".

Why? Because a child only truly enjoys skating until the first coach notices in him a spark of talent with championship fire potential. From that point on, the athletic life of the promising boys and girls will be under constant stress fed by several sources. 

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