By Rick Pusiak
Figure skating gained extra attention in February with the Olympic judging scandal during the pairs event. So when the opportunity presented itself recently to do a phone interview with Russian men's gold winner Alexei Yagudin, the obvious question was what his take was on the shenanigans.
Yagudin, who will be performing in Sudbury on April 16 as part of the Skate the Nation tour, said as far as he's concerned the Canadians were a little bit better than the Russians.
But the 21-year-old native of Leningrad didn't really want to judge the judges or the skaters. Personal likes and dislikes are part of the judging process, which makes establishing a perfect judging system impossible, he said.
While the judging scandal was exploding in Salt Lake, Yagudin said he was focused on his programs. He was described as technically and artistically superb, earning several 6.0s in presentation and 5.9s across the board in technical merit.
"When I won, I got four sixes, I didn?t really care about the marks, I just really wanted them to be high...I just wanted to be an Olympic champion," said Yagudin. "Then finally I've got two things, the highest mark and I've got the gold."
Yagudin wore the gold around his neck for five days and even had it on when he went to bed.
He is looking forward to the Skate the Nation tour and coming to Sudbury because events like this allow him to learn from the best.
"There are great possibilities... learn something from, for example, Brian Orser...so I can learn something new for my own skating."
More information on the skating tour is available at www.skatethenation.com.