Thursday, February 11, 2010

Patrick Chan blasts 'old' Plushenko

VANCOUVER — World silver medallist Patrick Chan dubbed his Olympic rival Yevgeny Plushenko as 'old' as the Canadian teenager insisted his style of skating was the one of the future.

The 19-year-old found himself at the centre of a row amid allegations of North American lobbying against European figure skaters ahead of the men's figure skating event in Vancouver.

Chan is bidding for Canada's first men's figure skating gold but he is up against European rivals including Plushenko and Brian Joubert of France, who are renowned for their quadruple jumps which he does not possess as he focuses more on transitions and step sequences which are rewarded highly under the new judging system.

And allegations of American lobbying erupted after it emerged that Joe Inman, a veteran US Olympic level skating judge, sent e-mails to judges and officials reminding them to mark presentation scores accurately.

Inman sent the e-mails after he heard that Plushenko had said after winning a sixth European title that both he and former world champion Joubert do not have any transitions moves linking elements together because they focus on their jumps, implying how could they be awarded marks for something they do not do.

Chan refused to be drawn into the controversy, but said he believed that the style of skating of 27-year-old Russian Plushenko, who has returned to competition in a bid to defend his Olympic title, was out of date.

"For me the transitions are one of the most important things in a programme, otherwise it's very boring to watch," he said.

"Above all in a programme like the Phantom of the Opera which I do for the long programme. It's important to have good transitions to interpret the music with unique footwork.

"I love the new system, it's a great way to promote an all around skater especially a skater like me," said Chan.

"He's (Plushenko) confident that the quad will really help him, that he doesn't need transitions. He's old, I can't tell him it's not good.

"I think we'll start seeing more skaters like me in future generations."

Chan believes that Plushenko and Joubert will try and intimidate him with the quad in practice ahead of the competition.

"Of course they'll (Plushenko and Joubert) do it in practice and will nail it on front of me," he said.

"It's totally normal that's why the Olympics are so special. I'll only use that to feed the fire and focus on what I can do.

"It's going to be exciting to see what Plushenko has up his sleeve.

"We're all a bunch of great skaters. It's whoever who can grasp that moment on that Tuesday and Thursday."

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