Well I have a great deal of admiration for Plushenko.
I think he has amazing charisma and performs like a real showman.
I attended the Worlds in 2001 and seeing him in person made me appreciate him much more than I had previously.
Since then I have been amazed at his steel will, athleticism and sheer determination. I cannot think of many athletes who have accomplished what he has- and his comeback for the Olympics in 2010 after all he had already accomplished and after all that his body had been through baffles me.
Although I appreciate his showmanship - I have not been a fan of his choreography generally speaking and I do believe his technical prowess combined with his performance and charisma have led to his being overmarked in some PCS categories with COP. His style overall is one I appreciate but do not love, though I do understand the appeal to his many fans.
I have been taken aback by some of his comments and actions But I believe people underestimate the kind of personality it takes to achieve what champions do. Plushenko and Chan and Joubert, Slutskaya and Scott Moir to name a few are extremely competitive people.
It is the same part of them that drives them to be as amazing as they are that leads them to say or do things in the heat of the moment that people cling to to justify their hate of them. I am not justifying or excusing what they do or say and I do understand that other people who have achieved as they have don't have the same track record. I just don't think we should cling to those negative things forever and not allow ourselves to appreciate their greatness because of them.
However, I was also at the Olympics in 2010 and despite that Lysacek is not one of my favourite skaters - I don't have any doubt that he deserved to be champion. I really wanted Takahashi to win and for Lambiel to place higher- but I also believe that Plushenko finished ahead of them fairly - although I do believe with more of a point spread than earned.
As far as who is the greatest male skater since the 2nd World War - well I think there are many candidates and it depends on what you choose as your criteria. Longevity? Number of titles? Impact on the sport? Scores? Elements? Figures / no figures? Artistry? It might make an interesting thread! I would imagine getting a mutually agreed upon criteria would be difficult!
And even if you were to get it down to a science in order to calculate who is the greatest - even then - there would be people who would disagree.
And then of course - there is the question - whom do you enjoy watching the most? That will always be a matter of opinion.
These are my considerations:
Number of titles: only major competitons: 1time Junior WCH(14 years), 9 times Russian Champ, 7 times Eu Champ, 3 times W Champ,1 time Olympic Ch, 2 times Olympic silver medalist, 4 times GPF gold medalist, other gold medals of GP, other medals of Eu, and WCh,he was 15 years old when he was 2. in senior EuCH and 3. in senior WCH.
Longevity: e won his first world medal 1998, he was 15.
Dominance: I think it's unequivocal.
Impact on sport : I use Tomas Verner words: Last year he made his comeback by winning the Europeans’ in Sheffield… He is a skating legend. Evgeni is a great skater. He proved he really is a legend. He was a teenager when he started to win competitions, and year after year your are amazed by his consistency. He gave so much to figure skating. He is an incredible athlete.
another interview:. Personally, to me is difficult to find a better skater than Plushenko in the history of figure skating.
Daisuke in 2006:
"oh, my god,, there was a God,,",
I felt amazing aura,, he couldn't hide it" etc..
Impact on people: no doubt: "Plushenko has brilliant technique, overflowing grace and art, charisma and humour...and he is spectacular, amazing, incomparable, top quality... simply the best. It's difficult to find enough words to describe such a talent. oh, I forgot something? Yes! So powerful, yet so elegant, and just an utterly authoritative energy. He never fails to amaze. PLUSHENKO!"
" The God is exist-he is the proof"
Verner: And it's without mentioning of Evgeni Plushenko - probably the only one skater in the world, capable alone to filed full arena.
Innovations : He landed the world first "Plushenko combination" 4-3-2 and 4-3-3, created beautiful and complex "Plushenko ring" spin. etc.
At the age of 16 Plush was the youngest skater to ever receive a perfect score of 6.0. He received a total of 75 6.0s before the new judging system was introduced, most of them are the artistry points.
Diversity: Bolero, Sex Bomb, Asissai, Nijinsky, Hafanana, St. Petersburg 300, Crazy Bird, Pasadena, Only You, Adagio, Tango and Flamenco, Godfather, Swan..need more?
But many other skaters also want to win Olympic gold. It should be a competition, not a coronation. Perhaps Plush's will and conviction are stronger than that of his competitors. We will find out if that is the case, and whether his body will be stronger as well. I feel sorry for Plush if he gives everything he's got and wins silver, bronze, or off the podium. However, being that the winter games will take place in Sochi, that will definitely combine with Plushenko's will and give him a greater advantage, particularly if he stays on his feet and brings the transitions and graceful artistry that he did not bring in either 2006 or 2010.
In any case, how could Plush's fans love him more, as he says he's hoping for?
I very much enjoyed Jeff's performance. Maybe he should start training quads with his eyes on Sochi?
Of post war skaters, I'd say Dick Button handily has that title. Plushenko's definitely up there, though.