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Had Plushenko withdrawn through a proven injury immediately after the team event on Sunday, Russia could have replaced him with Kovtun, but the deadline passed at 10 a.m. local time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

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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