Evgeni Plushenko, the decorated 31-year-old Russian, has just withdrawn out of the Olympic men's figure skating competition. Plushenko appeared to injure himself on a triple axel during warmups, and decided not to skate just before his group took the ice. "This is the end of my career," Plushenko said, telling NBC's Andrea Joyce that he actually had injured himself in practice on Wednesday. "Second triple axel —it was a terrible jump, because I couldn't feel my legs after the first one," he added. It is being reported that Plushenko has retired.
Here's the moment where Plushenko appeared to come up injured:
Plushenko doubled over:
"The first triple axel, I felt some pain in my back," Plushenko told NBC. "I can't skate of course," he added. He spoke to his coach, then the judges:
And then waved to the stunned audience, many of whom were expecting him to skate:
Plushenko skated away clutching his back. He had been battling back injuries in the latter part of his career and underwent two spinal surgeries in the last two years. And he was complaining of back pain earlier this week. Plushenko was favored to medal in the competition in front of his home country.
He skated earlier in the Olympics and helped Russia to the gold in the team figure skating event. This is his fourth Olympics— he is former world champion, European champion, a 2006 Olympic gold medalist, and won silver medals in 2010 and 2002.