Sale: Plushenko is awful

Yevgeny Plushenko owns a sackful of gold medals and is the man all figure skating fans want to see at the Vancouver Games, yet Olympic champion Jamie Sale believes there is more hype than substance to the Russian.

Eurosport

Plushenko (pictured) had headed into retirement aged just 23 following his gold-medal winning performance in Turin four years ago but he traded in his pension book just a few months ago in an attempt to become the first man in almost six decades to win back-to-back Olympic titles.

While his return has set the figure skating world alight, and left his rivals shaking in their skating boots after he obliterated the field in last month's European Championships, Sale was not impressed.

"I don't love his skating, I don't believe him when he skates," said Sale, the 2002 pairs champion in Salt Lake City.

"I thought in Torino they (the judges) were extremely generous with Plushenko's second mark (for presentation)," she said.

"(I thought) he was just throwing his arms up in circles in the air all the time, there's nothing there.

"He wasn't doing anything quality on the ice ... but by throwing his arms around, they (judges) were like 'oh my God, he's amazing'," added Sale, who had been in the Italian city as a commentator.

"I'm like, 'no, I'm not buying it'. That's not skating. There's no edges. There's nothing to his programme.

"All he does is quad (jump), then skates around in a circle, then a triple Axel and then skated down the ice and did a triple Lutz and his programme was done.

"Was it a balanced programme? No. But they still gave him the mark for this quality and for that and I thought (the officials) were not sticking to their word here (to be fair with the revamped scoring system).

"With the second mark (for presentation) ... he was like 10 points ahead of everyone else, just to separate him so much so that no one could touch him. That was so obvious. He was not that much better."

A new scoring format was introduced following the 2002 Olympics judging controversy surrounding Sale and her partner David Pelletier, who were awarded duplicate golds in the pairs competition after a French official admitted she had been ordered to mark them down.

While the system was supposed to eradicate the age old problems of bias that blighted the sports for decades, fans and pundits alike believe officials still manage to find loopholes to mark up their favourites.

Sale believes that Plushenko is unfairly rewarded for his past reputation as a champion and as a result is already points ahead of his rivals even before he has marked his territory on the glistening ice.

"I hate that. You should be able to be a nobody and come in to skating and win. Why not? If you're the best, you're the best," she addded.

"In skiing, you don't have to pay your dues. Why shouldn't you be rewarded if you're nobody from Timbuktu. That's what make people mad. That's not fair."

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