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Had Plushenko withdrawn through a proven injury immediately after the team event on Sunday, Russia could have replaced him with Kovtun, but the deadline passed at 10 a.m. local time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





 


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Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.