Friday, December 7

Russian Federation Showing (Complete Lack of) Confidence in Men

I briefly posted about this situation on my Twitter account last night, but I think the ridiculousness of it all and the message it is sending is worthy of a post.

This article, which mainly is geared towards getting Patrick Chan's opinion on how much of a threat he thinks Evgeny Plushenko will be in Sochi 2014, has an interesting tidbit towards the bottom:
Under International Skating Union rules, Russia will be allowed one men's singles skater at Sochi 2014, but the country's skating federation has asked to be granted a second spot as the host nation, for which there is no precedent.
First of all, the first part of this sentence is not true at this point. The one representative from Russia who attends the 2013 World Championships would have to finish in the top ten in the event for the country to earn two spots to the Olympics. The 2013 World Championships haven't happened yet.

Second-- I distinctly remember there being a bunch of chatter leading up to the 2005 World Championships (in Moscow) which suggested that the Russian Federation had found a loop-hole in the way the rules were written that would allow a third ladies skater (specifically Viktoria Volchkova) to compete in the event even though only two spots had been earned (and gone to Irina Slutskaya and Elena Sokolova). I went through all of the published ISU technical communications and documents back then trying to figure out where in the world Russia would have ever gotten that idea, and only found very precise rules towards how additional spots are earned. Giving a host country an additional spot just for the sake of it wasn't one of those rules, and still isn't.

I figure that the reason the Russian Federation is so concerned with an additional spot at this point is because while Sergei Voronov and Konstantin Menshov have had decent seasons thus far, they are far from sure bets to finish in the top ten at the World Championships. Former World bronze medalist Artur Gachinski has yet to deliver this season and has to always be considered a wildcard after finishing with the silver medal at Europeans last year and then finishing outside the top 15 at Worlds.

Because of this situation, the Russian Federation is probably starting to worry that if there is indeed only one spot, it will go to Plushenko and shut the other men out of having the chance to compete. With Maksim Kovtun and a handful of other junior-level skaters progressing their way up the ranks, this may be the last (or only) opportunity for some of the men to ever get to the Olympics, while it would be Plushenko's fourth trip.

If I was Voronov, Menshov, or Gachinski and saw the linked article, I don't know that I'd have the best confidence going into any of the remaining competitions this season seeing how Russia is already asking for a second spot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, that first part of the sentence is true, although it might have been a better choice of words to use "guaranteed" rather than "allowed" one men's singles skater. The host nation automatically gets one slot for each discipline (men, ladies, pairs, dance), no matter what happens at 2013 Worlds. The only thing 2013 Worlds can do is add more slots, which it will most likely do in at least dance and pairs. The ISU did change the rules that the host nation would no longer receive an automatic spot, but it was determined that this would have to begin with the 2018 Winter Games, rather than Sochi. See ISU Communication 1767, #9, pg. 3.