Born March 18, 1980 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Alexei Yagudin is a young but already legendary ice skater. Olympic Gold Medalist and four time world champion.

In the 2001-2002 season Alexei Yagudin made history by being the first person to ever win the World Championships, European Championships, Grand Prix Final, and Olympic Games in one season. He also earned first place at Masters of Figure Skating, Skate Canada, and Trophee Lalique.

His recent performances at the Olympic Games and at World Championships have received the highest scores of all time. At the Olympics he earned four perfect 6.0 marks for artistry/presentation after his free skate, three more than anyone else in history for a single performance.

At World Championships he earned an unprecedented six perfect 6.0s for his short program, including the first ever 6.0 mark for required elements and technical skill.

Alexei Yagudin is known for his giant vertical leap, his intricate and challenging footwork, his overall excellence as both an athlete and an artist, and his warm, gracious attitude towards the audience and fans.

He's also known among female figure skating fans as "the cute one."

As the commentators say, he has definitely been the best thing going in men's figure skating since his first World Championship in 1998.

He currently trains in Newington, Connecticut with his coach and choreographer Tatiana Tarasova. He loves the United States but is very happy representing his homeland, Russia. He is without a doubt Russia's greatest skater of all time, although I hear sometimes that people in Russia favor Yevgeni Plushenko, Yagudin's greatest rival.

Yagudin plans to continue competing on the Olympic-eligible level, at least long enough to win another World title, which would tie him with Dick Button. Fans hope he will go on to win more, and even go for another Olympic medal.

This writeup is accurate as of April 16, 2002.

Born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, on March 18, 1980, Alexei Yagudin began figure skating at four years of age. He was a sickly child, and his mother Zoya believed that being on the ice would help to build his stamina and improve his overall health. As his health improved, Yagudin began to show a natural aptitude for the sport, and his mother enrolled him in skating lessons.

Years later, Yagudin showed such great potential that he was accepted at one of Russia's foremost skating institutions, where he studied for years under the renowned guidance of Alexei Mishin. In 1996, he began to compete internationally, and earned an encouraging 4th place finish at the World Junior Championships. Two years later, Alexei returned to the World Junior Championships and took home the gold medal.

Raised by his mother, Yagudin used most of his early earnings to install her and the rest of his family in their own apartment-- due to a housing crisis in St. Petersburg, they'd had to share an apartment with another family through most of Alexei's formative years. Yagudin also graduated high school, and was ranked second in his class.

Yagudin made his Olympic debut in Nagano in 1998, but was unable to capture a medal due to a bout with the flu, and was hospitalized following the competition due to weakness. Soon after, Yagudin made a dramatic recovery, winning his first World Championship in Minneapolis, despite still taking his fluids intravenously. At the age of 18, Yagudin became the fourth-youngest world championship winner in skating history.

In 1998 Yagudin entered the tutelage of world-famous coach and choreographer Tatiana Tarsova, who would nurture his budding talent to an Olympic gold. Yagudin was relentless in the season that followed, racking up 9 wins in 11 competitions entered, including another World Championship. Best known for his intense rivalry with fellow skater Evgeny Plushenko, the edge clearly goes to Yagudin, who has to date won 3 World Championships, 2 European Championships, as well as an Olympic gold from a decisive victory over Plushenko in 2002. He is also the first skater to sweep the four major titles (namely, the European and World Championships, and the Olympic gold and Grand Prix title) in a single season.

Now training in Simsbury, Connecticut, Yagudin faces a nemesis of a much different nature: his own body. In the fall of 2002, Yagudin was diagnosed as having a congenital disorder affecting the cartilage of his right hip. Despite being in massive pain, Yagudin has made several competitive appearances in late 2002, and has confirmed that he will make more in 2003. Still, Yagudin remains at the mercy of his weathered cartilage, and is unsure whether or not his injury will permit him to continue his skating career.

With his official website touting him as "The Hottest Man on Ice", Alexei Yagudin (known affectionately as "Yags" to his fans) is known equally for his charisma and striking talent as he is for his fierce rivalry with compatriot Evgeny Plushenko. Yagudin is a graduate of Russia's Academy of Sports and Physical Culture with a major in Coaching.

COMPETITIVE HIGHLIGHTS:

2002

1st -- Canadian Open
1st -- Olympics in Salt Lake
1st -- European Championships


2001

2nd -- World Championships
2nd -- Grand Prix Final
2nd -- European Championships
1st -- Japan Open


2000
1st -- World Championships
1st -- Japan Open
2nd -- European Championships
2nd -- Skate America
1st -- Skate Canada
1st -- Canadian Open

1999
1st -- World Championships
1st -- European Championships
1st -- Grand Prix Final
1st -- Skate America
1st -- Skate Canada

1998

1st -- World Championships
1st -- World Professional Championships
1st -- European Championships
2nd -- Russian Nationals
1st -- Challenge of Champions
1st -- Skate America
5th -- Olympic Games

1997
1st -- Cup of Russia
1st -- Trophee Lalique
3rd -- World Championships

bibliography:
http://www.skatingsource.com/yagudin.shtml
http://skatinginc.com/Skaters/Yagudin/Home/

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