Plushenko Retires After Olympic Withdrawal

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdraws from the competition after warming up during the Men's Figure Skating Short Program on day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Evgeni Plushenko’s Olympics are over. His competitive career, too. The Russian star retired Thursday just after he withdrew from the men’s event at the Sochi Olympics for medical reasons.

The 31-year-old Plushenko is the only modern-era figure skater to win medals in four Olympics. He helped Russia win the team gold over the weekend.

“I think it’s God saying, `Evgeni, enough, enough with skating,”‘ said Plushenko, who originally was hurt in a training session Wednesday. “Age, it’s OK. But I have 12 surgeries. I’d like to be healthy.”

In warmups before the short program, he fell on a triple axel and said it felt “like a knife in my back.” He skated toward his coaches while bent over, then tried to loosen up by skating around the Iceberg rink some more.

He then attempted another axel and botched it, shook his head and consulted with coach Alexei Mishin. When Plushenko’s name was announced to the crowd seconds later — to loud applause — he skated to the event referee and withdrew.

Before the latest injury, Plushenko said he planned to go out in style.

“I said to myself, `Evgeni, you must skate. It’s two more days, short and long program,”‘ the 2006 Olympic gold medalist said.

He also won Olympic silver in 2002 and 2010.

Before leaving the ice, he held up both hands to the crowd as if to say he was sorry, and took a small bow.

He was Russia’s only man in the competition, so the host country will have no finisher in the event.


  • Jessica Golloher, reporter covering the Olympics in Sochi.
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