The news that stunned Russia's skating fans today at Sochi was the decision by Evgeny Plyushchenko to abandon the individual skating competition and close his international career due to a recurring back injury. Close to tears, he admitted that this was not the way he wished to end his career...but he leaves the Games with a Gold in the team event.
Evgeny Plyushchenko, 31 years of age, was betrayed by his recurring back injury today at Sochi, which stopped him from competing in the individual event in the ice skating. During a warm-up just minutes before his short program, he complained of a sharp pain in his back on completing a jump. After speaking with his trainer, he went to the jury and announced his retirement from the Games, and international competition. Those who criticized his decision to pull out are probably unaware of the fact that a year ago he was subjected to an operation on his back to substitute a disc.
Four days earlier, he had won the Gold Medal for the team event. One more medal would have won him a place in the record books, after his excellent register in the Winter Olympics: Gold in Turin, Italy in 2006, Gold in Sochi 2014, Silver in Salt Lake City in 2002, Silver in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010.
Apart from his Olympic record, he was World Champion three times. Speaking to the Press after his decision, he announced: "I am desolated for my fans and for everyone but I wanted to believe until the end. I almost cried. It is really hard, believe me. This is not the way I wanted to end my career. I am disappointed but I did my best".