If Alex Ovechkin got to pick Russia’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, it would not be a hockey player.
Ovechkin would tap three-time Olympic medalist figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko, he told Sovetsky Sport in an interview published Sunday.
“If Plushenko goes, then him,” Ovechkin told the newspaper. “That man is a living legend. But if [Plushenko] doesn’t go, there’s only one candidate: Ilya Kovalchuk.”
Ovechkin is up on his Russian Olympic news, knowing Plushenko has not yet been named to the Olympic Team. The official announcement on Russia’s lone men’s singles figure skating entry is expected after Plushenko skates in front of Russian officials this week.
At the 2010 Olympics, Ovechkin sent a message to Plushenko through the skater’s agent before he performed in the short program.
”It said the whole team is holding hands for you and watching you,” it read, according to The New York Times.
Plushenko, the 2006 Closing Ceremony flag bearer, won the short program and finished second to Evan Lysacek after the free skate in 2010.
Kovalchuk would also be a strong choice, as Vladislav Tretiak would attest. The former NHL All-Star, now in the KHL, is one of two Russians on their fourth Olympic hockey team. The other is team captain Pavel Datsyuk.
Ovechkin also said his fiancee, Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko, and his mom and dad would attend the Olympics, and that he will try to watch figure skating if time permits.
Kirilenko hasn’t played this season due to a knee injury.