Evgeni Viktorovich Plushenko (also Romanized as: Yevgeny Viktorovich Plyushchenko; Russian: Евгений Викторович Плющенко) was born November 3, 1982 in Solnechny - Khabarovsk Krai, Soviet Union. He is the 2006 Olympic gold medalist, 2014 Olympic team gold medalist, 2002 Olympic silver medalist, and 2010 Olympic silver medalist; a three-time World champion (2001, 2003, 2004); a seven-time European champion (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012); a four-time Grand Prix Final champion (1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05); and a ten-time Russian national champion (1999–2002, 2004–06, 2010, 2012–13).
Early careerEvgeni started skating at the age of four when his mother sent him to figure skating classes to strengthen his poor health. His first coach was Tatiana Skala, while later he continued to train under the guidance of Mikhail Makoveev, with whom he won his first ever competition, the "Crystal Skate" tournament at the age of seven!
When he was eleven years old, his ice rink in Volgograd was closed. Having to choose between quitting figure skating and leaving his family behind, he was sent alone to Saint Petersburg to train with the team of legendary Alexei Mishin, who was already training the 1994 Olympic Champion Alexei Urmanov and the then upcoming future champion Alexei Yagudin.
Evgeni had to face difficulties during his first years in St. Petersburg, 1000 miles away from his parents and sister, living alone in a communal flat in circumstances that did not match his young age. His family was working extra shifts in order to support their son's dream and there were times when Evgeni was on the verge of stopping and moving back to his hometown. But his strong will and dream prevailed. His mother eventually moved with him to St. Petersburg and with the financial and moral support of his coach Alexei Mishin, Evgeni's life started improving and he could concentrate on training.
Plushenko made a quick progress on the international scene under Mishin's tutelage. As a 14-year-old, he won the 1997 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, in Seoul, South Korea. The following year, at the age of only 15, he surprisingly won the bronze medal at the senior World Figure Skating Championships of 1998, causing a buzz around his name among judges and commentators - everybody started talking about the “new wonder boy”.
1999 - 2006His rise in the senior field continued during 1998 and 1999, but a real breakthrough came in the following season (1999-2000), when he won 7 out of 9 competitions and established himself as a force to be reckon with. He was already the reigning and two-time Russian Champion, won his first Grand Prix Final and the first European title.
The 2000-2001 became one of the most successful seasons of his career up until then. Once again Evgeni was the Russian, European and Grand Prix Final Champion and he entered the 2001 World Championships in Vancouver, Canada, as the one to beat. He performed two perfect routines, won his first World title, becoming World Champion at the age of only 18.
The 2001-2002 Olympic season started with difficulties. While he won all the events he entered up to the Grand Prix Final, two months before the Olympic Games Evgeni acquired injuries to his ankle and groin, which caused him to withdraw from European Championships. He resumed trainings, but in order to better prepare for the forthcoming Olympic Games, he changed his free program in a very short time.
At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, USA, Evgeni entered the Games as the reigning World Champion and the favorite to win the title along with his compatriot Alexei Yagudin. In a competition, marking a milestone in what is considered the greatest rivalry in the history of the sport, Plushenko skated a strong and risky free program, landing the unique combination of 4toe-3toe-3loop, a second quad and 3axel-half loop-3flip combination, while performing to the music of Bizet's "Carmen". He finished in second place overall to win his first Olympic Silver.
In the following Olympic cycle leading up to the 2006 Olympic Games, Evgeni took the figure skating world by storm, having never finished off the podium, as he won 19 out of the 21 competitions he entered.
He settled with silver only twice, finishing second at the 2004 Grand Prix Final, despite skating an excellent free program - due to violating the two jump combinations restriction of the IJS (ISU International Judging System), which was applied for the first time that season (since 2003-2004 season three jumping combos are allowed in the Free Program). He also won silver at the European Championships 2004, before claiming his third World title at the World Figure Skating Championships 2004, Dortmund, Germany.
The beginning of 2005 found Plushenko battling with severe injuries, nevertheless, he won the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Final, Russian Nationals and European Championship that season. But after skating in the Qualification round and the Short program, he was forced to withdraw from the 2005 World Championships in Moscow, due to a serious groin injury, that eventually required surgery, which he underwent in Munich, Germany in spring 2005, just a year before the 2006 Olympic Games.
On June 18 in 2005 Evgeni married Maria Ermak. Their son Egor was born on June 15, 2006. They were divorced on February 2008.
Going into the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Plushenko was the overwhelming favorite to win the title, having dominated the field for the 4 years prior and successfully surpassing opponents under the new ISU Judging System, which was now in use. He had already held 7 out of 10 top scores under this system. He skated his short program to the music of Puccini's "Tosca" and finished ten points ahead of his closest rival, setting a new ISU record (90.66). His free skate was just as strong, and set a new ISU record as well (167.67). His free skating music was Nino Rota's "The Godfather" - arranged specially for him by violinist Edvin Marton. Evgeni crushed the competition, finishing first with 258.33 points (27 points ahead of the silver medalist) and finally fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming an Olympic champion.
2006 - 2008: HiatusPlushenko took a break from competitive skating following the 2006 Olympic Games. He said the off season helped him rest and recover from past knee injuries he had struggled with after 8 consecutive years of competing.
He continued skating in exhibitions worldwide, and launched his own shows "Golden Ice of Stradivari" and "Kings on Ice", with which he toured the whole of Russia and Europe. He also hosted numerous TV shows and was involved in the political life of St. Petersburg. Evgeni was one of the ambassadors, who played an important role in the Sochi 2014 successful bid, which culminated in Guatemala, on 4 July 2007.
In 2008 Plushenko, together with violinist Edvin Marton, accompanied the famous singer Dima Bilan on stage as part of the winning Eurovision Song Contest performance "Believe" in Belgrade, Serbia. He skated around the singer on a small ice-like surface.
After seeing poor results of Russian skaters in the 2007 World Figure Skating Championships (which were the worst since 1960), Plushenko was worried about Russia losing its status as a dominant force in figure skating, and announced his return to competition which finally took place in the 2009/2010 season.
2009: Return to Competition
On March 2009 Plushenko announced, that he was returning to training with his long-time coach Alexei Mishin in order to prepare for the 2010 Olympic Games.
On September 12, 2009 he married Yana Rudkovskaya, producer and director of Music Management Company, owner of beauty salons and fashion boutiques.
With the motivation to be two-time Olympic Champion, Evgeni's international return, long awaited by his fans and figure skating audience, took place at the 2009 GP Rostelecom Cup on October 23, 2009. He took the lead after the Short program, earning 82.25 points, and won the Free skate with a score of 158.40. He finished his comeback competition winning the gold medal with a total of 240.65 points.
At the 2010 Russian Figure Skating Championships, Plushenko earned 100.09 points for his Short program and 171.50 points in the Free skate to win his eighth Russian Championship with 271.59 points.
At the 2010 European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, Evgeni set a new world record in the Short program by scoring 91.30 points, and went on to win the Championship for the sixth time with a total score of 255.39 points.
In the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, Evgeni won the Short program, skating to the music of "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaquin Rodrigo, receiving a score of 90.85 and breaking his previous personal best, set in 2006 Olympics. In a strong and intense battle in the Free program, Plushenko skated to "Tango Amore" by Edvin Marton and finished second overall, ultimately winning the silver medal with a total score of 256.36. He became the first male skater in the modern history to have won three Olympic medals in three consecutive Olympic Games.
2011: The King of comebacksPlushenko has stated that coming back to top form for a competition, after being away, is an extremely difficult task, physically and mentally. Nevertheless, following a break of almost two years and a knee surgery, which demanded a rehabilitation period, he went back to full training in the autumn of 2011.
His second comeback to competitive figure skating began with the 2012 Russian Figure Skating Championships, on December 2011 where he won the competition and became a 9-time Russian Champion.
He went on to take part in his first international competition since Olympic Games 2010, the European Championship 2012 (Sheffield, UK), where he skated in the Qualification Round and the Short program with a knee and neck injury resulting in him omitting his trademark jump, the quad toe, from his short routine ("Storm" by Yanni). However, on the night of the Free program, overcoming pain, Plushenko skated a flawless performance to "El Tango de Roxanne" ("Moulin Rouge" OST, arrangement by Edvin Marton), including a quad and 7 triple jumps, received a standing ovation from the audience and finished triumphantly on top of the European podium for the seventh time in his career with a score of 176.52 (and total 261.23), achieving a new personal best and the highest score ever at the continent’s Championship.
Plushenko skipped the World Championship 2012 in Nice, because he had a knee surgery on 23rd of February in Munich, Germany and resumed training for the next season after the rehabilitating process.
During the spring and summer Plushenko was working with choreographers Pasquale Camerlengo and Kenji Miyamoto on his new programs for the competition season 2012/13.
In November 2012 Evgeni underwent a surgery, which involved searing a disk hernia with a liquid. He resumed working on quads only three days before the 2013 Russian Championships in Sochi. In spite of this, Plushenko landed quad jumps in both program and won his 10th national title.
His wife Yana give a birth to Evgeni's second son Alexander, on January 6th 2013.
Unfortunately, Evgeni withdrew from the European Championships 2013 (Zagreb, Croatia) following the Short Program due to a back injury. On January 31st, Evgeni underwent a successful surgery in Tel Aviv (Israel) in order to replace the intervertebral disc at his spine with an artificial one.
After a successful rehabilitation, Evgeni resumed training since the summer of 2013 and has started preparing for his dream to compete at his 4th Olympic Games, in Sochi 2014, in his home country.
On 7 November 2013, Plushenko returned to competition at the 22nd Volvo Open Cup in Riga, Latvia where he won the gold medal with an overall score of 263.25 points. He landed a 4T, 3A, 3A-3T in the Free program and obtained the minimum TES needed to compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. At the 2014 Russian Championships, Plushenko placed first in the short program and second in the free program. He finished second overall - his first loss at Nationals since placing third in 1998.
Offered the opportunity to be Russia's flagbearer at the opening of the Olympic Games, he said it was a great honor but he could not accept due to the competition schedule.
At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Plushenko competed in both the short and free skate segments of the Team figure skating competition. He placed 2nd in the Short program ("Tango de Roxanne", arranged by Edvin Marton) with a personal best score of 91.39. He placed 1st in the Free program ("The Best of Plushenko", a medley of his best programs from the past, arranged by Edvin Marton) with a score of 168.20, garnering 19 points for his team. Russia won team gold, 10 points ahead of second-place team, Canada. That makes it Plushenko's second Olympic gold and fourth medal overall, tying him for most overall medals by an Olympic figure skater. It was also Russia's first gold at the games.
After struggling with a back injury in practice, Plushenko decided to withdraw from the individual competition after his pre-short program warm up on 13 February 2014.
AchievementsPlushenko has finished off the podium only once during his entire career, since he entered the senior competition in 1997. He has tried to push the boundaries in the world of figure skating, and his technical achievements, as well as his world records are numerous.
Plushenko was the first skater in the world to perform a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop-double loop (4T-3T-2Lo) jump combination at the 1999 NHK Trophy, and the difficult combination of a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop-triple loop (4T-3T-3Lo) at the 2002 GP "Cup of Russia". He is the first skater to land these combinations successfully in a World Championship. Plushenko is also the first skater to do a quad toeloop-triple loop combination (4T-3Lo). He is the first and only one to land the extremely difficult combination 3axel-half loop-3flip (3A-1/2Lo-3F) which he first did at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. So far no other skater has tried it in competition.
Plushenko has been landing a consistent quadruple toe loop in competition with a nearly 100% success rate. It is estimated that he has landed more than 100 quads in competition. He has also landed a quadruple salchow in Samara, Russia at the 2004 second stage of "Russian Cup" and he is one of the few figure skaters to have landed quadruple loop and quadruple lutz in practice. He fully rotated a quad lutz in 2001 "Cup of Russia" trying to make history, but slipped at the very last second on the landing.
Evgeni never ceases to add difficulty in his exhibition programs as well, always performing triple jumps and remarkable combinations. He landed a triple toe loop-triple toe loop-triple loop-double loop (3T-3T-3Lo-2Lo) combination at the 2005 "ARD Gala", and a six jump combination (3T-3T-2Lo-2Lo-2Lo-2Lo) at the Russian Championships 2006. At the 2006 Olympic Gala he said farewell to the audience with a spectacular combination of a triple axel-triple toeloop-triple loop (3A-3T-3Lo).
On November 2009 Plushenko started practicing a 3axel-4toeloop (3A-4T). His further injuries prevented him from practising more challenging combinations.
He was the first male figure skater to perform the Biellmann (and Donut) spin in senior competitions, which used to be his trademark element in the beginning of his career.
At the age of 16, Plushenko was the youngest male skater to ever receive a perfect score of 6.0 (NHK Trophy 1998, for Presentation). He received a total of 75 6.0s, before the new ISU International Judging System was introduced, under which he has also received some of the highest Technical Elements Scores (TES), as well as Program Components Scores (PCS), setting world records in many competitions. He has set so far 5 world records for the Short program score and 4 world records for the Free program and Total score. He is also the youngest male skater to receive a bronze medal at Worlds.
With his seventh win at the European Figure Skating Championship 2012 (Sheffield, UK), Plushenko has become the 3rd man in the whole figure skating history to capture 7 European Titles, being surpassed only by Ulrich Salchow of Sweden (1898-1913) with 9 and Karl Schafer of Austria (1929-1936) with 8 in the early days of the sport.
After winning the Team gold medal in 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, his 4th Olympic Medal in four consecutive Games, Evgeni has become the only male figure skater in modern history of the sport to win Olympic medals in every Olympic appearance: 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (Gillis Grafström won four in the early years of the sport, 1920–1932).
So far, in 91 competitions Evgeni has won:
- 62 gold
- 16 silver
- 4 bronze medals
XXII Olympic Winter Games 2014 - 1 (Team gold)
XXI Olympic Winter Games 2010 - 2
XX Olympic Winter Games 2006 - 1
XIX Olympic Winter Games 2002 - 2
World Championships 2004 - 1
World Championships 2003 - 1
World Championships 2001 - 1
World Championships 2000 - 4
World Championships 1999 - 2
World Championships 1998 - 3
European Championships 2012 - 1
European Championships 2010 - 1
European Championships 2006 - 1
European Championships 2005 - 1
European Championships 2004 - 2
European Championships 2003 - 1
European Championships 2001 - 1
European Championships 2000 - 1
European Championships 1999 - 2
European Championships 1998 - 2
World Junior Championships
World Junior Championships 1997 (Junior) - 1
World Junior Championships 1996 (Junior) - 6
ISU Grand Prix Final
ISU Grand Prix Final 2005 - 1
ISU Grand Prix Final 2004 - 2
ISU Grand Prix Final 2003 - 1
ISU Grand Prix Final 2002 - 2
ISU Grand Prix Final 2001 - 1
ISU Grand Prix Final 2000 - 1
ISU Grand Prix Final 1999 - 3
Champions Series Final 1998 - 5
ISU Grand Prix
ISU GP Rostelecom Cup 2009 - 1
Cup of Russia 2005 - 1
Cup of Russia 2004 - 1
Cup of Russia Gallina Blanca 2003 - 1
Trophee Lalique 2003 - 1
MasterCard Skate Canada Int. 2003 - 1
Cup of Russia Gallina Blanca 2002 - 1
Bofrost Cup on Ice 2002 - 1
Cup of Russia 2001 - 1
Sparkassen Cup on Ice 2001 - 1
NHK Trophy 2000 - 1
Cup of Russia 2000 - 1
Sparkassen Cup on Ice 2000 - 1
NHK Trophy 1999 - 1
Cup of Russia 1999 - 1
Sparkassen Cup on Ice 1999 - 1
NHK-Trophy 1998 - 1
Cup of Russia 1998 - 2
Skate Canada 1998 - 1
Cup of Russia 1997 - 2
Skate America 1997 - 2
Cup of Russia 1996 - 4
22nd Volvo Open Cup 2013 - 1
Marshalls World Cup 2004 - 1
Int. World Skating Challenge 2004 - 1
Int. Figure Skating Challenge 2003 - 1
Campbell's Intern. FS Classic 2003 - 1
Figure Skating Challenge 2002 - 1
Campbells FS Classic 2002 - 2
Goodwill Games 2001 - 1
Finlandia Trophy 2000 - 1
Goodwill Games 1998 - 3
Grand Slam of Figure Skating 1999 - 1
Finlandia Trophy 1997 - 3
European Youth Olympic Days 1997 (Junior) - 1
Pokal der Blauen Schwerter 1996 (Junior) - 1
Finlandia Trophy 1996 - 7
Crystal Skate 1993 (Junior) - 5
Japan Open 2001 - 2
Keri Lotion FS Classics 1999 - 2
Japan Open 1999 - 1
Grand Slam of Figure Skating 1998 - 4
National Championships (Russia)
National Championships 2014 - 2
National Championships 2013 - 1
National Championships 2012 - 1
National Championships 2010 - 1
National Championships 2006 - 1
National Championships 2005 - 1
National Championships 2004 - 1
National Championships 2002 - 1
National Championships 2001 - 1
National Championships 2000 - 1
National Championships 1999 - 1
National Championships 1998 - 3
National Championships 1997 - 4
National Championships 1996 - 6
- 1994 Children and Youth Sports School of Figure Skating, St. Petersburg
- 1998 High school № 91, St. Petersburg
- 2000-2005 Coaching Faculty (Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health, St. Petersburg)
- 2004-2008 Tourism and Hotel Industry Faculty (Saint-Petersburg State University of Engineering and Economics - ENGECON)
Awards and Titles
- Merited Master of Sport of the Russia
- Medal of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" 1st Class (05.03.2010) - for outstanding contribution to the development of physical culture and sports, the high sporting achievements at the XXI Olympic Games in 2010 in Vancouver
- Order of Friendship (05.05.2003) - for outstanding contribution to the development of physical culture and sports, the high sporting achievements at the XIX Olympic Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City
- Order of Honour (22.02.2007) - for outstanding contribution to the development of physical culture and sports, high achievements in sports
- Medal "For Strengthening of battle community" (07.03.2006, Ministry of Defence)
- Order of Honour (12.03.2010) - for athletic achievements and development of military sport
- Honorary Diploma of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg (2002 and 2006)
- Diploma of gratitude of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg (2004)
- Honorary Title "The best in the sport of St. Petersburg" (2006, The Government of St. Petersburg)
- Sign of Honor "The best in the sport of St. Petersburg" (08.12.2010, The Government of St. Petersburg)
- Laureate of St. Petersburg's Youth awards (2002)
- Honorary Sign of Russian Figure Skating Federation (2003)
- "The Silver Doe" - award the Federation of Sport Journalists of Russia (2003)
- Rambler award "People of the Year 2003" in the category "Sport"
- "The Silver Doe" - award the Federation of Sport Journalists of Russia (2006)
- Eurosport SportStar Award 2006 - the best figure skater (20.04.2006)
- Laureate of National sports award "Glory" as the best Russian sportsman in 2006
- Russian press Sympathy Prize - SIMPRE 2006
- Sportsman of the Year, by GQ men's magazine (2006)
- Diamond Men 2006 - "For the briliants records" (2006)
- National Award "Style of the Year" 2006 - "Person in sport"
- Award "Faces-2006" - in nomination "Sportsman of the year"
- Sobaka.Ru award - TOP 50, The most famous people of St. Petersburg (2006 and 2010)
- "Athlete of the Year 2006" - by opinion of Russian citizens in annual Poll of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM)
- "Russian National Olympus" award - "Super-Star" (2007)
- Honorary Order "For Honor and valour" for the service to the Russian people (2007)
- "Golden Radiant Star" for the historical contribution to the development of national and world figure skating (2007)
- Commander of the Order "For renascence of Russia. XXI Century"- for outstanding service, contributing to the strengthening of economic power, greatness and prosperity of Russia
- Laureate of international contest "PILAR" (2007)
- Golden Skate Awards 2007, Italy - the most titled skater of the XXI century
- "Most stylish sportsman" by Fashion TV People Awards (2007)
- "Athlete of the Year 2007" - by opinion of Russian citizens in annual Poll of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM)
- "Fair Play Mecenate International Prize 2009", Italy - "The Legends of the Olympic Winter Games"
- Ambassador of the Olympic Games "Sochi 2014"
- "The Return of the Year" - award of Prince Albert of Monaco (2010)
- "Golden Skate Awards 2010", Italy - for the competitive value and continuity of results
- National Figure Skating Award "Crystal Ice" - in the nomination "Overcoming" (2010)
- Google Trend award - "Sportsman of the Year" by most search queries (2010)
- "Topical Style Awards 2011"
- "Most Stylish Man in Russia", according to magazine "Hello!" (2012)
- "Davoser Crystal Trophy" for outstanding performances - at "Internationale Sportnacht" Davos, Switzerland (09.11.2012)
- "Medal of Nikolai Ozerov" for outstanding sports achievements and personal contribution to the promotion of physical culture and sport - Ministry of Sports (2012)
- Award "20 successful people of Petersburg in 2012"
- "Athlete of the Year 2012" - by opinion of Russian citizens in annual Poll of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM)
- Award of magazine "Bolshoy sport" - "For outstanding contribution in the development of a sport" (2013)
- "Athlete of the Year 2013" - by opinion of Russian citizens in annual Poll of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM)
Activities outside of sport
- Evgeni has the title of lieutenant in reserve of the Russian army
- 02.09-16.12.2006 with Irina Slutskaya co-hosted weekly TV show "Stars on Ice" on 1st Channel. Also skated few programs
- In March 2007 was elected to the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg on the list of the party "Fair Russia". 01.12.2011 Evgeni left politics.
- In 2007 published his autobiography book "Another show".
- 04.07.2007 represented Sochi bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics at the IOC session in Guatemala
- In 2007 hosted weekly TV show "Lord of the Mountains" on 1st channel
- 20-24.05.2008 with Dima Bilan and violinist Edvin Marton represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest with a song "Believe" and won 1st place. Especially for Evgeni on stage was set playground with a plastic ice
- 27.09-31.12.2008 co-hosted weekly TV show "Star Ice" on the channel "Russia", took part in the jury and skated few programs.