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Maggie Hendricks

Russian officials shortsighted to pull Plushenko tape from judges

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

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The Russian Figure Skating Federation successfully demanded that criticism of their star skater, Evgeni Plushenko, be removed from instructional DVDs for judges, according to USA Today. This gives slightly more context to Plushenko's bizarre comments criticizing the judging system that has benefited him in the past.

The DVDs, produced as guides for Olympic-level judges, had used Plushenko's 2006 gold-medal-winning long program as an example of bad artistic skating and score inflation.

At the Russians' demand, footage of him was deleted, USA Today reported, and the DVDs circulated to judges two months late. Negative examples of other current and former skaters remained on the DVDs.

When the DVDs were produced, Plushenko was just starting his comeback from years of retirement. Now he is a contender for the gold.

But Russian officials and Plushenko are shortsighted if they didn't see an upside to the critical DVDs.

As one of the world's best jumpers, Plushenko has been knocked for ignoring the sport's artistry. In his retirement, Plushenko skated the exhibition circuit, performing ice shows in cities around the world. These shows helped him artistically: He became more in tune with skating for the audience instead of skating between jumps. This was clear as he skated throughout the season.

If the judges had been shown the unflattering footage of Plushenko, then in Vancouver perhaps they would have been reminded of how far he has come since 2006. But Plushenko and the Russian officials let paranoia rule.

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