One of the biggest stars from Russia at this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver has been the figure skater Evgeni Plushenko. Not only is Plushenko a gifted competitor and the defending gold medalist, he’s also leading the way for the Russians with the psychological intimidation attack against Evan Lysacek and the Americans (one journalist described his comments as “a one-sided smackdown reminiscent of Ivan Drago vs. Rocky Balboa in “Rocky IV”).
I know next to nothing about figure skating, but from what I have read, Plushenko had a strong early showing and will likely crush Lysacek for another gold medal in couple hours … unless of course he pulls out a variation of that politically incorrect aboriginal ice dance which caused so much commotion recently.
There shouldn’t be any problem with Plushenko engaging in some light taunting – that’s what makes for good sports and brings a little something extra to the competition. In fact, maybe U.S.-Russia relations would be a bit better if we could let these simmering resentments surface into the open air and exercised in healthy competition (though I fear that the sense of rivalry is pretty one-sided now, with most Americans looking at China or other invented fears).
The truth is that I feel kind of sorry for Plushenko … what will happen to him if he doesn’t win the gold? Apparently there are calls in the Duma for “heads to roll” if Russia doesn’t start immediately bringing home more medals. You kind of have to take those sort of threats seriously coming from United Russia…