31 December 2011

OFFICIAL - ISU allows Plushenko to compete at Europeans

The International Skating Union has granted 2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko an exemption to compete at the European Championships in January!
As I've already pointed out in older posts ( Russia announces its team for Euros, Russia is fighting for Plushenko and Valentin Piseev: "Cinquanta promised to do everything possible to let Plushenko compete at the European Championships"), under the current rules, skaters competing at the major ISU championships (Worlds, Europeans, and Four Continents) must have attained a minimum score in an ISU competition in the last two season.
The ISU regulation is as follows:

To be entered into and participate in the Championships/Preliminary Round of a Senior ISU Championships a Competitor/Couple must have reached in an ISU recognized International Competition (as per Article 38, paragraph 7 and Rule 107, paragraphs 1 to 9) during the ongoing or immediately preceding season the applicable minimum Total Technical Scores (points). The applicable minimum Total Technical Scores shall be decided for each season by the ISU Council based on a joint proposal from the respective Technical Committee and the Sports Directorate and shall be published in an ISU Communication.

Because Plushenko has not competed since Vancouver, he did not have a score in an ISU event either this season or last season, making him ineligible for Europeans.

Note that this regulation is for a minimum technical score, and, as I've already pointed out, it is designed to create a threshold of technical competence to maintain a adequately high level of skill even amongst the lowest-performing entrants.
The minimum technical scores for the men this season are 20 points for the short program and 35 points for the free skate. For reference, Plushenko's technical scores at Russian Nationals were 42.30 in the short and 77.77 in the free skate. Of course, there is no doubt of Plushenko's technical ability.

Some may think that rules are rules and Plushenko should not be exempt from them. But, as Jackie Wong justly writes, how silly would it be for the ISU to deny him entry to Europeans based on a rule that was created to weed out skaters who aren't technically adequate?

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