If you ask Russians who their favorite athlete is, you will be amazed. It’s not a football player, not even a tennis player. It is Evgeni Plushenko, figure skating living legend, and without a doubt the most formidable ice skater in the history of this sport. Russia’s most beloved single skater, the silver medalist from 2002 and 2010, and the gold medalist in 2006’s Olympics, has come back, for one last try during the Winter Olympics, in 2014. Considering that he is 31 years old, we can safely say that he is approaching the Twilight of his career, and he will never participate in a figure skating competition, let alone any Olympics in the future.
As if age alone were not already an important factor, Yevgeny Plushenko has also suffered thirteen major spinal surgeries (for the spine and ankles), but still did all he could, to attend the Games in Sochi, where he fell flat on his back, in front of the audience (which also included President Vladimir Putin). People from the crowd may not have noticed, but his trainer, Alexei Mishin knew, that as he froze, the pain become unbearable. His wife also stated, that one more fall would break him forever.
Remembering Evgeni Plushenko at his Best:
The fact that Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the competition, after being injured, was considered a blow to the national Pride of Russia, but even if this is the case, this formidable figure skater’s last dance was one to remember. Let’s take a look at some of his most important achievements:
- Evgeni Plushenko is without a doubt the greatest figure skater alive at the moment. He is a three-time World Champion, he managed to take the Gold medal in the Men’s Singles in 2006, in Torino, and the silver in 2010, in Vancouver. In spite of his injuries, he decided to skate one more time, and helped the Russian Team win the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics.
- How could anyone forget his fiery performance of Tom Jones’s Sex Bomb? Especially since it was followed by a great rendition of Ginuwine’s Pony?
- He may be 31 years old, which is considered very old in the world of figure skating, but Plushenko is still at his peak. His personal best performance for free skate was achieve in 2012, and his best short performance was achieved in Sochi during the team proceedings.
Plushenko’s last Hurrah Has Russia on Its Feet
Despite the fact that his back was held together with screws, or that he has undergone hernia and knee operations since 2010, Russia’s favorite athlete performed masterfully during the Sochi 2014 Olympics. This was his Swan song. Evgeni actually declared that he was planning to go out in style, but he got injured during his program. When it was his time to perform the free program, he entered the ring, hold both hands to the crowd as if to say he was sorry, took a small bow, and withdrew. This meant that Russia would have no finisher in the event.
A while later, Plushenko finished second at the Russian national Championship, and didn’t appear to be heading to Sochi anytime soon. As a matter of fact he was added to the team roster later, after performing a trial run in front of federation officials. We don’t know what he did that day, but it definitely impressed officials. In the end, their decision paid off, because Evgeni Plushenko finished second in the team short program, and first in the free skate program, thus managing to secure the gold medal for the Russian team.
“I try, I try, I try and today in warm-up I did triple loop, triple lutz and the first triple axel, I step out and I feel some pain in my neck. Second triple axel was terrible jump. I didn’t feel my legs after first one. I can’t skate, of course. I feel sorry for my fans and I feel sorry for everybody. I tried til the end. … I almost cried there, it’s hard, believe me. This is end of my career, but I try to make best. I try to skate individual skating but it’s problem. … Message [to fans] is I try my best and I try to go til the end but sometimes happens.” (Evgeni Plushenko – Blog.Zap2it)