News / Europe

Plushenko Pulls Out of Men's Figure Skating Event

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) greets Yevgeny Plushenko, a member of the gold medal-winning Russian figure skating team, during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 9, 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) greets Yevgeny Plushenko, a member of the gold medal-winning Russian figure skating team, during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 9, 2014.
Reuters
Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko pulled out of the men's individual figure skating event at the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, just seconds before he had been due to start his short program.

Plushenko was seen clutching the base of his spine throughout his warm-up and when they announced his name as the next performer, instead of taking his position for the start of his routine, he skated up to the judges.

After an exchange with officials, a male voice announced in Russian over the Iceberg Skating Palace's public address system "Yevgeny Plushenko cannot participate due to a trauma (injury)''.

Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia skates on the ice prior to pulling out of the men's short program figure skating competition due to illness at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia skates on the ice prior to pulling out of the men's short program figure skating competition due to illness at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
x
Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia skates on the ice prior to pulling out of the men's short program figure skating competition due to illness at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia skates on the ice prior to pulling out of the men's short program figure skating competition due to illness at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
The announcement left more than 10,000 fans deflated and ended one of the most talked about careers in figure skating.

"I came out for the warm-up  and in the first triple Axel I stepped out and felt like I had a knife in my back. And the second triple Axel, it was horrible one. It was a hard landing and after this I didn't feel my right leg,'' an exhausted Plushenko told reporters as he rubbed his back.

"I took four pills (painkillers) and it didn't help. I think it was God saying, 'Yevgeny enough, is enough."


The 31-year-old's participation in the men's event had been in the balance after he admitted his back started to act up during his free skate in the team competition on Sunday.

Although he managed to finish off that routine, it was a million miles off from what the world had come to expect of the Russian showman.

At the end of that underwhelming performance he said he would need ''the doctors to implant some stuff into my back" so that he could recover in time to pull off two final performances in front of his home fans.

Unfortunately for the spectators who had flocked into the arena to cheer on their favorite son, time simply ran out for Plushenko.

''This is not a tragedy what happened with Yevgeny. During the (last) 20 years, he has had good success, mostly as a winner. Don't criticize him too much," his coach Alexei Mishin said.

Barely skated

Having barely skated over the past four years, Plushenko had been drawn to perform his short program to Tango de Roxanne early on Thursday - well before all the other medal favorites were due to skate.

But the Russian looked stony-faced from the moment he stepped out for his six-minute warm-up, laboring around the rink, repeatedly clutching and pressing his back, and going up to the barriers to talk to Mishin.

After his withdrawal was confirmed, a dejected Plushenko skated to the center of the rink to bow to all four ends of the arena before waving farewell to a stunned, and somewhat muted, audience who had come to cheer him on.

Plushenko's exit ended yet another controversial chapter in his colorful career as he had been criticized for barging into the Olympics through the back door because he only secured his place following a secret test skate rather than beating his younger Russian rivals in open competition.

But he seemed to have silenced his detractors when he helped Russia to triumph in the inaugural team competition on Sunday, winning his second Olympic gold and fourth overall.

Having also announced his retirement following the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, Mishin was asked if there were any further comebacks left in Plushenko.

 ''Maybe in the Paralympic Games!" he replied.


Click here to see VOA's Winter Olympics site 

  • United States' Sophie Caldwell skis with a sleeveless top as temperatures went well over the freezing point during the women's 10K classical-style cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • In this image made with a multiple exposure, Finland's Antti Ollila competes in the men's ski slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • Fan Kexin of China, Elise Christie of Britain, Jessica Hewitt of Canada and Emily Scott of the United States compete in a women's 500m short track speedskating quarterfinal at the Iceberg Skating Palace, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • Sebastien Lepape of France crashes out in a men's 1000m short track speedskating heat at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • Canadian fans cheer during the men's ski slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • Kanae Aoki of Japan races after the goal shot by Franziska Busch of Germany during the closing seconds of the women's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • A spectator wears the Olympic rings made from bagels during the men's ski slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • Canada's Jill Officer, left, and Dawn McEwen, right, sweep the ice during the women's curling competition against Denmark at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.
  • Norway's Marit Bjoergen catches her breath after the women's 10K classical-style cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Virginia from: USA
February 13, 2014 11:04 PM
He had nothing to prove this year; he is and always will be an athlete to admire. Best wishes in a full recovery. This man is one full of Olympic stature.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs