Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, who won Olympic gold in the men’s competition in 2006 and silver in both 2002 and 2010, pulled out during warmups for the men’s short program because of back pain.
Plushenko, 31, won the long program in the team event four days ago to lead Russia to the gold medal and was considered a potential medalist in the men’s competition at the Sochi Games.
Plushenko told reporters tonight at the Iceberg arena that he was in too much pain to take part in the men’s competition.
“I need a big rest now, and to have some treatment,” he said. “Then I need to start my rehabilitation. I have already had four pills today.”
Plushenko said his Olympic career is probably over.
“I will probably finish with the sport. I’m not saying yes or no yet, but probably I’m over,” he told the Interfax news agency. “I see my future in performances. I’ll travel with a show around the country.”
The Olympic News Service quoted him as saying: “Of course I will keep skating. I will skate in many shows, but for now I need a very big rest.”
After the team competition, Plushenko told reporters he had problems with his spine and that he still had screws in his back from an operation.
The RIA Novosti news agency quoted Plushenko tonight as telling reporters, “I have finished my career. My age allows, but 12 operations is too much.”