12 February 2013, 17:03

Figure skating - Olympic champion Evgeny Pluschenko sues Eurosport commentator for slander

Figure skating - Olympic champion Evgeny Pluschenko sues Eurosport commentator for slander
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Figure skating Russia's main Olympic hopeful in men's single skating Evgeniy Plushenko will not take part in the world championship that kicks off in Canada in a month term.

Figure skating

Russia's main Olympic hopeful in men's single skating Evgeniy Plushenko will not take part in the world championship that kicks off in Canada in a month term.

The general manager of the Russian figure skating federation Valentin Piseev has confirmed that the 2006 Olympic champion will skip the upcoming start in Canadian London due to an injury. Plushenko underwent yet another surgery in Israel in the beginning of February and needs time to recover, that's why his participation in the world championship is out of the question.

Just a reminder in December of 2011 Evgeniy Plushenko made his comeback to figure skating after a year break and immediately scorched to victory at the continental meeting in UK earning his 7th European title in the process. This pre-Olympic season is not as triumphant for Plushenko as the previous one as he failed to win awards at the European championship in Zagreb.

That's right Plushenko withdrew from the tournament after dismal performance in short program. And without their leader the Russian men couldn’t fight for top spots in Zagreb. The best result was displayed by the team's rookie Maxim Kovtun who managed to finish in the top 5 at his first European championship.

Undoubtedly Evgeniy Plushenko was upset by the fact he was dethroned from the European summit and he even suggested to redeem himself for poor result at the Europeans by participating in the world championship in Canada. But as we have already announced Russia's most decorated skater has made his mind to miss the world tournament and fully concentrate on the preparation for the 2014 Sochi Olympics where he is dreaming to add another medal to his rich collection of Olympic awards.

Let’s continue talking about figure skating but unfortunately we will not discuss the competitive aspect of the sport … And that’s because a scandal has unfolded involving Russia’s top figure skater Evgeny Pluschenko. TV commentator working for Eurosport 2 TV channel called reports about the athlete’s recent spine surgery fake, during a live broadcast.

The commentators name is Andrey Zhurankov and he was actually commentating on the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, when he expressed his own opinion about Evgeny Pluschenko and his health ordeal… here’s exactly what the commentator said during the live broadcast:

“That surgery never took place. The way it was reported in the media, with only Channel One making a story on it… all this reminds of the strategy used to make PR-moves in show business.”

Let me remind everyone that Olympic champion Evgeny Pluschenko recently underwent a successful surgery on his spine. The operation was made in an Israeli clinic in the end of January, with the 30-year-old getting an intervertebral disc replaced.

Russia’s Channel One reported from Tel Aviv on the champion’s successful surgery showing Pluschenko walking a few meters and showing the correspondent that he is on the fast track to recuperation. The doctor who performed the surgery said that Evgeny should be back in the gym about a month later and could potentially start training on the ice within ninety days.

The statement made by the commentator on Eurosport 2 had naturally offended Pluschenko, who said that he and his lawyers are going to file a lawsuit and kept their word on Monday. This is what Evgeny Plushenko said to Russia’s Sovetsky Sport newspaper right after his legal counsel filed the paperwork.

“Only people like Zhurankov could claim that it’s nothing but a PR move for me… while I am in a state of shock at the moment. I’m reading his comments and I can’t even find words to say something to that. I’m very disappointed in him. He is making obscure statements. It got to the point that my team is supposedly buying the media that praises me and makes other silent. It’s just terrible.”

Evgeny Pluschenko went on to say that Zhurankov must publicly apologize to him and he is willing to go the distance to restore his reputation. Here’s another quote:

“I am speechless. No TV commentators in other countries would say something like that about an athlete. I will teach Zhurankov how to put his money where his mouth is. The section in the law about slander suggests large fines but I don’t want any money from Zhurankov. I want him to be sorry and make a public apology. But according to his comments that I read today, he feels no remorse nor does he want to say sorry. Well, we filed the paperwork and the process has begun.”

So, looks like Evgeny Pluschenko will have to fight a couple of battles on his way to reclaiming the summit of figure skating. Well one of those fights will be fought alone as he is trying to get healthy and reach top shape on the way to the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014… actually not completely alone as his coach will be there to guide him.

That’s right and the other battle will be a legal one… However, in that, he has a full support of his colleagues and by the looks of it, the media as well. After all, the comments made by Zhurankov are in a public domain and there’s no second guessing the meaning of what he actually said. But I guess we will let the courts determine that from now on.

As we are on topic of figure skating let's also briefly mention the results of 2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships that concluded in Osaka on Sunday.

In women's field the Japanese ladies swept the podium: two-time world champion Mao Asada prevailed over the rest of her competitors winning the event with 205.45 points. Her compatriot Akiko Suzuki was second with 190.08 points while another Japanes skater Kanako Murakami finished third with 181.03.

Christina Gao of the United States finished fourth while Li Zijun of China was fifth.

"The short program exceeded expectations and the free met my expectations," said Asada, who skated to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake." ''I am happy I was able to challenge the triple axel and that gave me confidence."

In ice-dancing the principle battle between the Canadian and American skaters ended in favour of the world silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White who leapfrogged the reigning world and Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in the final protocol. The Canadians failed to secure the lead they had created after short program allowing their archrivals from the USA to beat them by three points.

As a matter of fact this was second victory of the American skaters registered this season, in December they dominated the Grand Prix final in Sochi where they also left the defending world champions Virtue and Moir without gold.

In pair skating: Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford took gold edging compatriots Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch who finished second . U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir completed the podium in Japan.

And finally Canadian athlete Kevin Reynolds sensationally took victory in men's event posting a score of 250.55 points Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu (246.38 points) was second and China’s Han Yan (235.22 points) finished third in Osaka.

The next significant start for the skaters will be the 2013 world championship that will be opened in Canada on the 13th of March.

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