Empty seats greet Plushenko's Sochi debut

SOCHI, Russia Thu Feb 6, 2014 12:41pm EST

Former Olympic champion figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia smiles as he leaves a news conference in Beijing September 3, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/David Gray

Former Olympic champion figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia smiles as he leaves a news conference in Beijing September 3, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

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SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Yevgeny Plushenko was supposed to be one of Russia's biggest draws as the nation hosts its first Winter Olympics but even the presence of the controversial showman failed to fill the figure skating arena on Thursday.

The 12,000-capacity Iceberg Skating Palace was more than half-empty when Plushenko first took to the ice for his warm-up before the start of the team event, which is making its Olympic debut.

Although more fans had filed into the arena by the time he took to the ice for his performance, Russian officials would have noted that thousands of seats around the arena remained empty for one of the Winter Olympics' blue-riband events.

Plushenko, however, pronounced himself delighted with the noise made by those who were there.

"It was incredible," said the former Olympic and world champion. "Sometimes it helps when people clap but today I felt kind of dizzy, (the noise came) from there, from there, from there, from everywhere.

"But it's my fourth Olympic Games, so it was fun. It's something new for me."

(Editing by Mitch Phillips)

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Comments (3)
Buiten wrote:
Could the author kindly explain why Yevgeny Plushenko is a controversial showman.

Feb 06, 2014 1:18pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Buiten wrote:
Could the author kindly explain why Yevgeny Plushenko is a controversial showman.

Feb 06, 2014 1:18pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Buiten wrote:
Could the author kindly explain why Evegeny Plushenko is a controversial showman?

Feb 06, 2014 1:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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