In the refined and sophisticated world of figure skating, they call him ‘The King’
And despite a nagging knee injury and the comparatively senior age of 29, Evgeni Plushenko ruled supreme at the European Figure Skating Championships at Sheffield Arena.
The man born in Khabarovsk Krai in the former Soviet Union put on a career-best performance to win his seventh European figure skating title and take home the gold medal.
Plushenko, a former politician, hurled his fists into the air in the direction of the judges after his breath-taking performance.
He said: “I’m called the king by many people and I try to live up to that. I want to remain king for a long time to come.”
The Russian added “After this competition I will go to see my doctors and go to Munich for surgery, so I’m not going to compete in the Worlds.
“I’m going to have surgery on the left knee. Then I will prepare for next season with hard work, a lot of work, but now I’m so happy. Believe me I’m proud of myself because I did a good job in the free, a good quad, good triple axel combination, and I wrote a little bit of figure skating history.”
The event, which finished yesterday with a gala, was rated as hugely successful by organisers.
Sheffield competitor Jason Thompson narrowly failed to qualifying for the Free Programme though.
The British Champion, aged 22, was nonetheless pleased with his performance which placed him 25th in the Short Programme.
“That was my best skate ever. It’s the least nervous I’ve ever been. For the British Championships I was really nervous. But I just regarded it as a normal competition. I had a lot of support from the home crowd and that spurred me on. It couldn’t have got any better than that, just to be on the same piece of ice as Plushenko is a great honour.”
The Ladies Championship was won by Carolina Kostner of Italy.