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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora