Evgeni Plushenko Withdraws From Olympics, Retires From Competitive Skating

Posted on February 13, 2014

Fans were shocked today as champion Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the men's short program due to injuries. He then announced his retirement from the sport. Plushenko helped his team with the team skating gold medal and was favored to win the men's competition. But he has been battling injuries and has two pins in his back from an operation.

Plushenko is only 31, but has competed in four Olympics. He has four medals: two golds and two silvers. He was going for the gold in the men's competition so it was a real shock when he had to withdraw, just after they announced his name for the short program. He skated over to confer with his coaches, then went to the judges' table to tell them he was withdrawing. He had problems in practice today and was clearly in pain. Russia was left with no skater in the competition.

Plushenko told The New York Times, "I am sorry for my fans and for everybody, but I tried 'til the end. I almost cried. Itís hard, believe me. This is not how I wanted to end my career. I am very disappointed. But I tried to do my best." He said that he had reinjured his back in training yesterday. He has had twelve surgeries over the years, and had major back surgery last January. The AP reports: