Wednesday, September 1

The Japan Open and Evgeny Plushenko: Sealing His Fate?

Photo courtesy
A Formspring question about Evgeny Plushenko competing at the Japan Open pro-am in October got me thinking about something.

First, this ISU communication from August 23rd says that Plushenko did not file any appeal against the decision to declare him ineligible for ISU competition, so "members are obliged to take note". Plushenko and coach Alexei Mishin have done recent interviews where they both talk competing in the 2014 Sochi Games, even expressing this after the ISU banning.

So now we flash forward to October 2nd. The Japan Open is the only pro-am competition left on the skating schedule, and Plushenko is entered as part of team Europe (along with Laura Lepisto, Sarah Meier, and Michal Brezina). If the ISU is saying that he is no longer an amateur, he would be entering this competition as a professional. Competing here means there is absolutely no way he will end up in Sochi, courts or not (unless for some weird reason the ISU allows reinstatements as they did in 1994 and 1996-- not likely).

If Plushenko and his camp truly are set on Sochi and he believes he can keep up for another 3+ years, don't be surprised to see him withdraw from the Japan Open in the coming weeks.


sorcerer said...


Plush is banned from "any ISU activities" and this is indeed ambiguous.
If this means ISU events only, then he can participate not only in Japan Open but also in Nebelhorn, Finlandia, so forth.
If "ISU activities" include events sanctioned by ISU, then he can't participate in the JO regardless of Pro/Am.
(Of course Plush can always participate in the Russian Nationals.)

Wasn't Sasha Cohen a pro skater before her comeback? Likewise Lambiel?

Tony said...

Cohen and Lambiel never competed or skated in a non-sactioned event during their time away. Lambiel, however, did 'compete' in the Thin Ice competition which made him become ineligible. Remember the drama surrounding Joannie Rochette skating an exhibition at the same event? The ISU, at first, threatened to also take away her eligibility, but she received a special sanction from Skate Canada and the ISU deemed her circumstances to be unusual.

Nebelhorn and Finlandia and all of those competitions are still ISU events. I see where you are getting at with the wording by the ISU saying "ineligibility.. for any ISU activity." I think what they were getting at (but didn't clarify), was that his eligibility, or amateur status, was gone. If he competes in an ISU-sanctioned event (pro-am) as a professional, I don't think they will care. Maybe I'm wrong, though. Nothing is ever worded clearly with the ISU!

sorcerer said...

I much agree with you on that last sentence.

Well the ISU event calender has a checkbox that you can select to show only the "ISU events" and as you see Nebelhorn etc does disappear. (They don't have the ISU logo with them.)
But they are indeed sanctioned by ISU so Plush may have been banned from them too as you say, if ISU says "ISU sanctioned non-ISU events are ISU activities".

I think the ISU guys themselves doen't clearly know what they banned Plush from, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Lambiel skate to Japan Open when he retired? Or I am wrong?
Plushenko, as far as it was written, by ISU rules is ineligible with case i) with possibility of reinstatement , not appeal and courts, just an application through his federation.

Tony said...

Lambiel skated in the Japan Open, but that doesn't make him lose his eligibility. With no pro competitions anymore, it's really hard for one to lose their status. Make the ISU mad by skipping a major event does the job, though.

If they are going to appeal with an application to the ISU, they better do it and have the issue solved by the time the Japan Open comes around, or the ISU will be going agains its own rules.

Anonymous said...

There is not professional or amateur status in ISU communications now, just ineligible and eligible. Ineligible the skater becomes becomes for 3 reasons, described in ISU rule 102, paragraph 2(i, ii and iii).

Lambiel, with skating in Thin Ice became ineligible by skating in an unsactioned event: (iii)
Plushenko became ineligible by non having a federation aprooval: (i)

ISU rule 103 paragraph 2 about reinstatement of eligibility says
A person who is or has been ineligible may apply for reinstatement as a Skater only if such person had not violated Rule 102, paragraph 2 (ii) and (iii),
case of Plushenko but not Lambiel.

Tony said...

Thanks for that. I'm pretty sure the ISU has been using eligible/ineligible as their 'official' terms for a while now. Pro and am are old school :-)

But, the issue we go back to is that if Plushenko competes at the Japan Open, it will have to be as an ineligible skater, yes? The confusing part is even though he would have to be classified as ineligible there, he isn't particularly breaking rule 102.2.iii because the event IS sanctioned by the ISU.

The ISU needs to clarify what Plushenko competing in the event will do towards his future eligible status.

S said...

Plushenko said the same thing in an interview, that the ISU rules are strange since he can skate in some events, like JO but he is banned from others (he needs to be eligible to enter them).
Anyway I don't think ISU can punish Plushenko during his ineligibility, it's absurd!What can they possibily do, cut his mullet?:)))))

Anonymous said...

Plushenko in a recent interview posted in FSU says he got approoved , whatever this means.

I want to say that this October, October 2nd, I am taking part in ISU competitions, there are competitions that are held by the International Skating Union in Japan - ISU Open, they are team competitions. Now there is the buzz, but since we both, the ISU and I went to meet each other, it was decided that I will compete.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Lambiel skated on Thin Ice after he announced his second retirement in March 2010. His first retirement was in October 2008. Midori Ito was done same thing with Lambiel, in 1992 and 1996. In fact, if a retired skater wants to compete ISU competitions again, he/she can come back until that skater announced second retirement.
I think, Plushencko has never sent the official notice of his retirement to ISU. So, if he sends his retirement notice to ISU once and ISU didn't count his blank periods between 2006/2007 and 2008/2009 season when he had been having medical issues, he might be able to come back ISU competition after his official first retirement with like his national Skate Federation's permit.

Tony said...

Thanks Anonymous 3:09. If the ISU wanted people to take them seriously, they would follow their own rules and determine that Plushenko technically shouldn't be allowed in the competition. Oh well, their own fault.

Anonymous 3:48.. not quite. As I mentioned, there were two times where the ISU allowed formerly ineligible skaters to return to amateur competition: 1994, and 1996. Ito took advantage of the second time and returned for the 1996 World Championships. It has nothing to do with announcing one or two retirements. You are, however, still eligible as long as you don't break any rules that would cause you to become ineligible. Lambiel didn't break any rules from 2008-fall 2009, hence why he was able to come back for the 2010 Olympic season.

Kutien said...

Sorry for my English.
In interview for russian TV chanel RTR Evgeniy named "Japan open" as "ISU Open" and have questions about "Why i can be a member of this ISU competition, but cannot another?"
So vividly, that he doesn`t understand where he is going.

Tony said...

So Evgeny definitely is getting at what I was questioning.

For what it is worth, I e-mailed the ISU and asked what their explanation was towards allowing him to compete here after issuing the communication saying he was no longer eligible. I also asked about the Italian judge and what was going to happen with that situation, but I highly doubt anyone replies to me.

Kutien said...

Tony, i see this situation like Japan Open can use ISU skaters after in 2006 they have an agreement about ISU judges on this tournament.
Because Evgeny isn`t ISU skater he can take part in it with out permition.

Tony said...

Yes Kutien, but if the ISU's reasoning for him being allowed to compete is that he is "no longer an ISU-eligible skater", that means he is competing as an ineligible, just as Stephane Lambiel did with Thin Ice. What does that ultimately mean (if that is the situation)? He definitely will not be competing in Sochi.

S said...

First of all Japan Open is a sanctioned event, that's why the eligible skaters can compete without problems, so we can't compare it to Thin Ice. But as I've said I don't understand how can ISU punish Plushenko for skating in Japan Open if he isn't an "ISU athlete" anymore? He will enter this event as ineligible skater, of course, just like Yagudin and others did. Maybe I don't know very well the rules because I can't see what skating in Japan Open, eligible or ineligible has to do with competing in Sochi.

Tony said...

If you compete as an ineligible skater, you can't just decide that you want to return to eligible competition. This is a strange situation because the event IS sanctioned and run by the ISU. They tell him that he isn't allowed to participate in ISU activities yet they tell him competing here is okay. That's where the problem starts.

Anonymous said...

I don't get what this has to do with Olympic Games.

1)Japan Open is sactioned event. 2)Pluschenko is already ineligible by ISU, what other punishment can they apply on him?
To be inelgible with no reinstatement right he has to skate in unsactioned event or event not aprooved by ISU according to the rules posted above, Japan Open is neither of those.
I just think there is not pro am character in Japan Open, since there is not pro circuit anymore, just probably skaters retired and active can both take part.

Secondly, I really doubt something like this can ban Pluschenko from skating in 2014, has it ever been the case that ISU banned a skater for so long just because he participated in a show? It is not like he caught with dopping. It sounds absurd.

caseyedwards said...

It seems as thought Tony is saying that if Plushenko enters the Japan open as inelgible that makes him inelgible forever so he can't compete in Sochi. I don't see that from anything the ISU has published but it seems as though that can be a conclusion one can draw. Plushenko doesn't have permanent inelgibility.