WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Four-time world figure skating champion Alexei Yagudin of Russia didn\'t skate in the men\'s final here last night. But he made sure he wasn\'t out of sight or out of mind.
Yagudin held an informal press conference in the media lounge off the bullpen 45 minutes prior to the start of the final free skate.
He says he can\'t stand not being in competition - taking a year off due to a hip injury but skating on the Stars On Ice tour all year while remaining Olympic eligible.
\"I\'m really missing the whole thing. I\'d rather be here and in competition.
\"I tried and landed everything in practice in Jacksonville, Florida, the other day. I will return to competition next year and I will continue to compete until I\'m unable to compete with the best skaters in the world.\'\'
He made it clear that he deplores the judging system being used here this year but says he\'s hopeful a new complicated, computerized judging system the ISU is planning to implement next year will work and urges it be given a chance before breaking away from the ISU with a new World Skating Federation.
\"I reviewed the new judging system today and it\'s really, really complicated but I\'ve seen how it\'s going to work and I see more positive sides than negative sides,\" he insisted.
\"I think it makes it harder to cheat. And I don\'t think it puts the quad above everything else like it\'s been lately. I think we need to try it.\'\'
He said it hadn\'t been explained to him that the system would still keep judges\' identities anonymous, as is the case with the system they are using here this year.
That, he said, he\'s totally against.
\"They need to show everything who judged what. Everyone must see what judge did what and why.\'\'
He said he\'s not rushing to join the likes of Kurt Browning, Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, David Pelletier and Jamie Sale to endorse the new federation introduced here Tuesday.
\"I was really mad when Ottavio Cinquanta said, \'Why do we have to listen to the coaches and the skaters?\' I\'m just a little person but I think I have done some things in figure skating,\" he said. \"I\'m saying I\'m not a part of it, but I\'m not saying I\'m against it.\'\'