Olympic Update: THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING...THE RUSSIANS...(By Ann Magnuson)

 Like snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White, I'm Feelin'‚ all Olympic-y these days. And like US figure skater Johnny Weir - who recently caught flak for wearing a red warm up jacket from the old Soviet Union at a practice session  -- I'm completely besotted by the Russians.

"It‚s not like I'm anti-American," the self-described "Princess-y" Weir said. "I just admire Russian culture and Russian skaters for their strength and their perseverance through everything they go through."
I agree.  Russia rocks.  Maybe it's because I grew up hearing how evil that original Evil Empire was (a sure fire way to make any person, place or thing irresistible). Or maybe it's because Russia is the most BI-polar of nations possessing the highest of the highs (Rachmaninoff) and the lowest of the lows (Stalin) and I love a good mood swing.

Plus, as Weir said, "It's just so far away! (And) it's just someplace that spoke to me for whatever reasons."

One reason is superstar skater Evengi Plushenko who is sure to win the gold tonight in the men's figure skating final. I can't wait to see Plushkenko skate again! His flawless performance in the short program on Tuesday had me practically weeping.  Maybe it was the music. Or that blonde hair. Or that singularly Russian way he sails across the ice. Oooooooohhhh, pass the smelling
salts, I‚m a little verklempt!

However, in Wednesday's LA Times, Bill Plaschke got all pissy about Plushenko and the new scoring system, claiming the Russian skater has a disproportionate lead.  Well, maybe. (Let it be said we're also hot for Switzerland's Stephene Lambiel who still may win a medal. And are sure the silver will go to the 21 year old  Weir, who we adore for wearing that swishy swan costume and wearing a single red glove that he  calls "Camille." )

But for Plaschke to call Plushenko's short skate on Tuesday "artistically blah"??

NYET! I spit on your words like Cossack cutting down Red agitator! I scoff at your column like Rasputin laughs at aristocrat assassins! I  roll my eyes like Putin must do whenever George W. leaves a summit.

Plushenko's steely resolve, his Bolshoi worthy moves and his Arctic cool confidence which  non-Rusky lovers mistake for arrogance -- oh hell, I‚ll just say it -- I even love his thoroughly Russian arrogance. All this has me covered in Siberian sized goosebumps! Fire up the Tchaikovsky and chill the Stoli, I can't wait for tonight (and I'm not looking on the internet to see what
already happened!)

P.S. Also looking forward to tonight's Snowboard Cross where groups of four snowboarders race downhill at speeds higher than 40 MPH in extremely close quarters on what resembles a snow covered motocross track where, the LA Times
reports, "the carnage factor can be significant." Oh yeah!!!

Weir quotes here
more Plushenko photos here


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