Browning stays loyal to Canada

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- The whispers that Torino 2006 gold-medal winner Evgeny Plushenko is planning a comeback for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games became a little louder here yesterday.

Canada's Patrick Chan had no sooner made himself a favourite for the event by winning a silver medal at the World Figure Skating Championships here than Plushenko made the whispers a little louder.

Russian coach Alexei Mishin, Sun Media has learned, whispered in the ear of Canada's four-time world champion Kurt Browning that they wanted to hire him to help put together programs for Plushenko's Olympic year.

"I'm not going to do it," said Browning when confronted by Sun Media, confirming that, yes, he had been asked but then quickly denying he was going to accept to work on the project.

"I don't think that my being contacted is the story" said Browning. "I think the story is that I think his comeback seems legit.

"I asked Mishin about Plushenko and he said he talked to him (yesterday) and he said he landed four quads, two in combination with triple toe loops. That's legit stuff, if he's doing that."

Browning finds it all fascinating. What would it do to Olympic year for Chan, the 18-year-old friend he's already mentored into a silver medal at the Worlds. What would it means going forward for Chan? Not to mention Brian Joubert and American Evan Lysacek, who won the gold here Thursday night.

"He's the wrench," said Browning. "Putting Plushenko back in play is like dropping a wrench in the gears. It could screw everything up. You just don't know," he said of the Russian who won his first Worlds gold medal in Vancouver in 2001 and also won gold in 2003 and 2004.

Browning also confirmed that he had previously been asked to sign on to perform the same service for Joubert this past season but declined, partially due to jury duty and partially because he doesn't feel it's fair.

Browning said while he's still busy with a show career, to be taking on something like that would require at least once-a-month trips overseas to work with a podium-calibre athlete when plenty of established professionals are out there.

Asked what he'd make of Plushenko coming back, Chan was fairly animated yesterday.

"Is he actually?"

He thought about it for a moment.

"Good luck. It's hard. A lot of people have tried," he said of comebacks.

"It would be exciting. I'd love to compete against him It would be really interesting," added Chan.

Skate Canada high-performance director Michael Slipchuk said it would be very interesting indeed.

"A lot has changed between 2006 and 2009. A lot of rules are so different."


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