With four Olympic medals, Plushenko equals Gillis Grafström’s record

Evgeni Plushenko at 2013 Europeans in Zagreb (Photo: Florentina Tone/Inside Skating). Right: Gillis Grafström in 1931 (Photo: German Federal Archives)

Evgeni Plushenko at 2013 Europeans in Zagreb (Photo: Florentina Tone/Inside Skating). Right: Gillis Grafström in 1931 (Photo: German Federal Archives)

In the euphoria of last night’ victory of Russia in the Team Event, few have noticed that Evgeni Plushenko already made history, becoming the second skater, after the Swede Gillis Grafström, to win four Olympic medals in a row. Grafström was awarded gold in Antwerp-1920, Chamonix-1924, St. Moritz-1928 and silver in Lake Placid-1932. Plushenko, on the other hand, won a gold medal in Turin-2006, two other silver medals in Salt Lake City-2002 and Vancouver-2010 and another gold, in the Team Event, in Sochi, last night.
And let me tell you just that: with this fourth Olympic medal, Evgeni Plushenko has once again proved he is one of the greatest skaters of all time; and, along with Grafström, the most successful figure skater in Olympic history. I could say that this particular record would be impossible to break – but I’m afraid I might be wrong: Plushenko himself might break it in a matter of days, given the fact that he also enters the individual competition. The men’s event in Sochi is scheduled on February 13-14. Can’t wait to see how this goes.

by Florentina Tone

“It’s the first medal for Russia this Olympics. I love being first”, said Plushenko after the medals ceremony in the Team Event, according to Reuters. And this particular sentence, “I love being first”, epitomizes the entire career of the Russian figure skater. Four time Olympic medalist, three-time World champion (2001, 2003, 2004), seven-time European champion (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012), four-time Grand Prix Final champion (1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2004-2005), ten-time Russian national champion (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013), Plushenko is actually one of the greatest skaters of all time; if not the greatest.

Evgeni Plushenko during practice in Zagreb (2013 Europeans)

Evgeni Plushenko during practice in Zagreb (2013 Europeans)

For the Team Event, his contribution was truly remarkable, picking up 19 points from a maximum of 20; Plushenko was second in the men’s short program and first after the long. And this was truly a miracle, given the fact he undergone in the last years a dozen operations and taken two long breaks, the first after the Turin Olympics, then the second after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. As officially confirmed this morning, Plushenko will compete in the individual event too; and according to Reuters, the Russian skater has already expressed his desire to skate his best: “I’m going to compete. I want to skate. I want to skate my best performance. I have a triple axel-triple flip combination in my pocket, which is a great combination and one which no one else in the world has done”.

And a typically-Plushenko-remark in the end: in four years time, in PyeongChang (South Korea), he might once again show up: “I will be just 35-years-old. No one has ever done it before. Why not? Perhaps I should try, I don’t know”.

Who is Gillis Grafström

Gillis Grafström, at the 1924 Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix (Photo: www.svd.se)

Gillis Grafström, at the 1924 Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix (Photo: www.svd.se)

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 7, 1893, Gillis Emanuel Grafström won three consecutive Olympic gold medals – Antwerp-1920, Chamonix-1924, St. Moritz-1928 – and a silver Olympic medal in Lake Placid-1932. One particular detail about him is the fact that he won his first Olympic medal, in 1920, at the Summer Olympic Games in Antwerp; before Chamonix-1924 – the first edition of the Winter Olympic Games – some of the winter sports, figure skating and hockey, have been a part of the summer edition of the Games. Actually, together with Eddie Eagan, competing in bobsleigh events, Gillis Grafström is the only athlete to have won a gold medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Grafström is also three time World champion (1922, 1924 and 1929).