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Plushenko Retires From Figure Skating After Sochi Withdrawal

Published: February 14, 2014 (Issue # 1797)


Four-time Olympic medalist Evgeny Plushenko announced his retirement from figure skating Thursday after withdrawing from the Sochi Olympics with a back injury.

The 31-year-old fell on a triple axel while warming up for his short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace, and after failing to skate it off informed the judges he would not be able to compete.

"I'm ending my career," he said. Of further competition, he said: "My age allows it, but 12 operations are too much."

Plushenko helped Russia win team gold last week, and felt well enough to continue despite the presence of the injury, his coach said.

Faultless Plushenko Sets Russia Hurtling Toward Team Gold

The withdrawal causes extra heartache for Maxim Kovtun, Russia's 18-year-old skater who beat Plushenko in the Russian nationals in December but lost out on the country's one Olympic place to the Turin 2006 champion.

Had Plushenko withdrawn through a proven injury immediately after the team event on Sunday, Russia could have replaced him with Kovtun, but the deadline passed at 10 a.m. local time Monday.

"Any substitution should have been done on the night of the team event. And Kovtun was not ready," Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport. It was not clear if Mutko meant that Kovtun had no desire to replace Plushenko, or if Kovtun was simply not available at such short notice.

Plushenko's coach Alexei Mishin said that the skater felt well enough to compete.

"He couldn't pull out of the individual competition because he felt fine. A substitution wouldn't have been fair play," Mishin said. "Such a replacement would be trickery ... he was obliged to skate on."

Plushenko, who also won the silver behind Evan Lysacek in Vanouver four years ago and a silver at the Salt Lake City games of 2002, had vowed to retire after Sochi, whatever the result.

He has had back trouble for years, and needed an operation on a herniated disc in Israel last year after pulling out of the European championships midway through the competition. Plushenko recently counted a total of 12 operations on his back and troublesome knee ligaments.

Returning to the ice this season, Plushenko skipped the top-tier Grand Prix events and only appeared in a minor competition in Riga in November. The loss to Kovtun put his place at the Olympics in jeopardy.

But he convinced Russian selectors of his fitness and form in a behind-closed-doors performance last month, taking Russia's only place in the men's singles.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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