SOCHI — From her black handbag — Hermes, crocodile, "It is a very simple and democratic brand," she'll have you know — the wife of Yevgeny Plushenko fished out a banner and unfurled it.
"My heart is with you!" it said in pink letters, below a photo of the happy couple canoodling, noses touching.
Ahhh. Ain't that sweet?
Pink. The same color as Yana Rudkovskaya's fur hat. "Chanel, winter collection," she volunteered, even though you hadn't asked. And the grey coat? "Louis Vuitton," she replied.
All this was unfolding in the "mixed zone," the pit, for lack of a better word, in the bowels of arenas and stadiums where reporters get to ask questions of Olympians and where Plushenko was holding court after leading Russia to its first gold in Sochi, in team skating.
It is extremely unusual for partners to join the mixed-zone fun. But then again, Plushenko isn't just anyone; in Russia, he's practically royalty.
And, lest we forget, "I am very famous. I am top three in Russian women," volunteered Rudkovskaya, a music producer. She fished out one of her two mobile phones to show a picture of their baby son posing — being posed, actually — with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. He is Alexander, she said. "Like Alexander the Great. The best name for a man in Russia. It is very strong, also very lucky."