It's not unusual for athletes to seek as much publicity as possible in the time following the Olympics. Their profile, after all, will never be higher so why not capitalize with a spot on a late-night TV show, on the front of a cereal box or even on Dancing With The Stars? These opportunities are the gold that comes after the gold (or silver or bronze).
What Evgeni Plushenko is planning, however, sets the bar for perhaps the oddest post-Olympic exposure ever. The Russian figure skater tells the Itar-Tass news agency that he plans to have his latest back surgery televised so that his fans can watch from home.
You know, because nothing says ratings gold like the live stream from an operating room.
Plushenko, who won a gold medal in the team competition, withdrew from the men's figure skating event in Sochi after breaking a bolt in his back from a previous surgery.
“I think everybody already knows that the surgery will take place on March 2, and the broken bolt from an intervertebral disc will be taken out”, Plushenko told journalists. “Many people will see it because I want to show them how it happens,” he added. The athlete did not disclose any details, but noted that it will be “some kind of live broadcast.”
It's hard to think that Americans would have tuned in to watch Stephen Strasburg's Tommy John surgery or Kevin Ware having his broken leg set. Then again, there isn't much I'd put past television executives.
Let's hope this doesn't start a trend.
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- Evgeni Plushenko