Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lutai Prepares for Olympic Season

Andrei Lutai is a strong contender for the Russian Olympic team this season, but it won't be a walk through the park, and he knows it. Competition inside Russia has been tough for decades, and once again, there is whole group of talented young men competing for two spots at the Olympic Games and World Championships in 2010.

Last season, Lutai placed seventh at Europeans and 10th at Worlds, overtaking two-time National Champion Sergei Voronov at both events. Besides Voronov, Artem Borodulin, Alexander and Vladimir Uspenski, up-and-coming Ivan Bariev and others are in the hunt for a spot on the team.

Evgeni Plushenko's return to competitive skating only adds to the excitement, and Lutai knows exactly what to expect from the Olympic Champion since he is training with him once again in the same group under Alexei Mishin's tutelage.

"Well, I'm forcing myself to work even harder!" Lutai laughed when talking about the impact of Plushenko's comeback. "It is actually a good motivation for me. I'm watching Zhenia (Plushenko) and I watch how much he is working and I'm comparing myself. He is the [current] Olympic Champion. I'm looking at him, even when we go to play soccer. I'm just striving to work harder, to do even more in order to become the best. I just have to prove that I'm not worse, that I'm not the number two. I'm still striving to be the number one. The aspiration is there and this is helping me in my work. I'm not upset at all about his return.”

Full article.

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