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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Return of the "Batman"

Yes, Plushenko is back for the gazillionth time. And he wins another Russian Nationals. At the age of 30 no less.
While Plushenko's performances felt more and more deflated since 2006, I thought his LP from the Nats was still a worthy effort.

 Plushenko's LP from Russian Nationals

Yes, it is still a lot of crossovers and two footed skating and he flails his arms like a blind man trapped in a cave full of bats and running for his life but I think I see glimpses of him actually performing again. His arms are less "flaily", spins slightly faster, there are choreographic highlights and attention to music. Compared to his 2010 and especially 2012 performances, I think this is an improvement. I don't know if it will hold up by the time we reach Euro Champs but an improvement nevertheless.

I am happy for him but also anxious. Because in all fairness, he probably has no properly functioning knees by now, nor is his body in any way in top condition. We already know of his health ailments but it is also visible in the performance. How? Because he had to fight for almost all of the landings of the difficult jumps. He doesn't land any difficult jump cleanly. I don't think he ever did since his first comeback. Plushenko always had a tendency to hunch forward when landing but not as pronounced as he does now. The way he lurches forward at every landing makes me question at what condition his knees are in. But he competes and he competes well.

What I find utterly fascinating is not that he can still compete but he can compete with such a consistency that it is mind boggling. I ask you, do you remember at all when the last time Plushenko fell in a major competition? I may be wrong but the last I remember is 2005 Worlds SP. Where he skated with an injury.

He falls? No, never!

He might be deflated in his performances, unclean with jump landings, slow with his spins or flailing his arms like he's chasing off a cave full of bats during step sequences but the incredible consistency and control he shows in every single performance might be just enough to get him on the podium again. And I believe that is no small thing. Especially in skating. I believe Plushenko might be one of a kind.

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