Radiohead's Thom Yorke & Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko: separated at birth?

Look closely, and you'll notice the resemblances. Slightly pinched, almond-shaped eyes. A sullen countenance. Pallid, slightly unhealthy skin. Overbearingly unstylish haircuts. Sloppy Miami Vice facial stubble. There's no getting around it: capitalism-despising Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and Olympic-medaling Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko sure do share a lot of characteristics; you could almost mistake them for twins, or brothers.

But the similarities run deeper than that -- far deeper.

Live onstage, Yorke often works himself into an epileptic frenzy, dancing like someone in the throes of a exorcism. Plushenko skates with an utter and complete lack of passionless, like a programmed skate-bot; he reminds me a little of those shiny, grim, man-like machines Kraftwerk used to send out before crowds to perform in their stead. (They aren't robots in this performance -- or are they?)

In his mid-to-late teens, Yorke was bonding and rocking out with his future bandmates as On A Friday. In his mid-to-late teens, Plushenko was entering and excelling in international skating championships.

Childless, Plushenko has been married twice. The wiser Yorke figured out that it makes way more sense to just next with and repeatedly knock-up one's squeeze without proposing marriage or any of that traditionalist nonsense.


In the early '00s, Plushenko's skating program included several hit singles by the late Michael Jackson: "Earth Song," "Childhood," "Billie Jean," and "They Don't Care About Us." On 2001's marvelous, career-peak Amnesiac, Radiohead included a song titled "Life in a Glasshouse." In the song, Yorke proclaims: "Once again, packed like frozen food and battery hens/Think of all the starving millions/Don't talk politics and don't throw stones/Your royal highnesses." Obviously, these sentiments were directed squarely at Jackson -- who carelessly blew through his fortune like a despotic prince, often dressed like one, and personally directed his troops to perform thousands of genocidal "ethnic clensings" in Encino during his controversial child-abuse trials in the 1990s -- and by extension Plushenko, who clearly was under the thrall of the Great Gloved One.

In his pre-taped, pre-skate segment for NBC, a smirking, leather-jacketed Plushenko is shown driving around Russia in a late-model VW, explaining in halting, broken English why he returned to skating -- he was unfulfilled in retirement; he wanted to show up his enemies, though he doesn't identify any haters by name -- looking and sounding like an uncredited Euro-trash baddie in Taken or a Bond flick or a Transporter installment or something. In documentary Meeting People Is Easy, Yorke manages to make being the leader of the biggest rock band on Earth seem a lot like being crushed to death by giant stones.

With Radiohead, Yorke wrote the propulsive, accusatory "2+2=5," which effectively (and rightly) called the American media and populace alike to account for allowing the Bush Administration to get away with hoodwinking the nation into an unnecessary war with Iraq. Last week, Plushenko decried the judges' decision to award American skater Evan Lysacek a gold medal in the men's singles competition; Plushenko, who won a gold medal in the same event at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, came away with silver, and contended

that he should have won gold because he landed a quadruple jump, while Lysacek only performed a triple jump for the same number of points. "I think we need to change the judging system -- a quad is a quad. If an Olympic champion doesn't do a quad, well, I don't know", he groused, ungraciously arrogant in defeat. "I can explain why it happened the way it did, figure skating in America is dying. Business in figure skating is dying, and naturally they need new names. Now it's not men's figure skating, it's dancing."

Because he was born with a paralyzed eye, Yorke underwent five surgeries to correct the problem before he was six years old; dude still looks kind of freakish. Due to an injury sustained during a performance, Plushenko underwent groin surgery in the mid-00s. Does that fact have any bearing on why he insists on going round with a ghastly, court squire/gelding shag mullet? No-one knows. But probably.