And then for some reason that got me thinking about what I would say to Plushenko if I ever met him, and I was thinking that I probably would not say anything at all because most of what I would like to say to him isn't really very nice. But then I thought of a legitimate question that I could phrase in a diplomatic way, which is: from a performance standpoint, not taking into account the results, which of his programs from his comeback season is he most pleased with? Well, that got me watching his performances on YouTube, and that led me to watch an English-dubbed version of a post-Olympic Russian press conference, even though I KNEW that watching it was a terrible idea because it would just make me angry.
And it did make me angry, but it was also educational because I learned a couple things. First, it was apparently his wife who came up with the whole platinum-medal thing (it was also apparently his wife who convinced him to go back into competition in the first place, so I'm not a huge fan of his wife). Second, I had heard the sound byte from him that "American figure skating is dying," which was a bit mystifying because we had three berths in the Olympic men's competition while Russia only had two, and it seems a bit strange that the IOC and the ISU would award so many berths to a dying program. But in the larger context he explained his reasoning: according to him, ABC spent some exorbitant amount of money to get the coverage in some year, and then more recently spent a lesser exorbitant amount of money. Which in the first place I didn't know, and in the second place, I'm impressed with his ability to just pull these statistics out of thin air (assuming that they're true, of course).
So yes, hearing the comments in context I was angrier than ever, but in searching my soul and examining my conscience over the past few weeks, I've learned that that kind of anger isn't very productive and could even be damaging (not necessarily to the object of my anger, but to me) so having calmed down a bit I've decided to adopt the grateful spirit of Jimmy Fallon and write Plushenko a thank you note:
Thank you, Evgeni Plushenko, for your kind concern about the condition of the American figure skating program. You followed the broadcast statistics so closely that you learned them by heart, and learning that ABC was no longer spending (and therefore, presumably, no longer making) as much money on figure skating broadcasts, you concluded that the program was languishing. Then, in the aftermath of the Olympic Games in Vancouver, you selflessly gave us the one thing that could invigorate American figure skating: a villain to cheer against. If there's one thing that gets Americans excited about figure skating, it's controversy. I'm sure you know this already, but the tape-delayed broadcast of the women's short program from the Lillehammer Olympics was one of the most watched telecasts in American history, and on that occasion the villain was one of our fellow Americans. How much more exciting will it be to watch our Olympic champion and our other heroes square off against a villain from a rival nation, a nation that used to be our nation's worst enemy? Surely next season's international competitions will draw more attention from non-skating fans, or rather former non-fans. So thank you again, and best wishes for a speedy recovery from your injury; we want you fit for next season because we don't want any excuses the next time we defeat you.