It’s decided: Evgeni Plushenko will attend his fourth Olympics

Evgeni Plushenko, practice session in Zagreb, at the 2013 Europeans

Evgeni Plushenko, practice session in Zagreb, at the 2013 Europeans

After months of uncertainty, a decision was finally made as regards Russia’s sole berth in the figure skating men’s event at Sochi Olympics: the veteran Evgeni Plushenko was nominated to be a part of the Russian Olympic team, alongside other 222 athletes representing 15 sports. Plushenko’s name appears on the Russian Figure Skating Federation’s roster for Sochi, which still needs to be approved by the Sports Ministry and by the Russian Olympic Committee; but, according to Ria Novosti, this is just a formality. Having already won a gold medal in Turin-2006 and two other silver medals in Salt Lake City-2002 and Vancouver-2010, Plushenko is trying to become the second skater, after the Swede Gillis Grafström, to win four Olympic single medals (Grafström was awarded gold in 1920, 1924, 1928; and silver in 1932). Will Plushenko succeed? Will see that very soon.

by Florentina Tone

With this decision taken by the Russian Figure Skating Federation, after a test-skate for Plushenko, held on January 21, a national saga finally ends. It’s been a tough road for Evgeni Plushenko – who was second at the Russian Nationals in December, questioning then his participation at the Olympics – but also for his younger rival, Maxim Kovtun.

Winning the national title, Kovtun was actually the biggest threat to Plushenko, but the 18-year-old skater could only manage fifth place at last week’s European Championships in Budapest. According to Ria Novosti, Kovtun said afterwards that he had been distracted by the disputes among Russian figure skating officials over who would get the Olympic place. And rightly so: this has been a never ending quarrel about Russia’s sole entry in the men’s event at the Olympics. One thing is sure now: the 31-year-old Plushenko got the spot, while Maxim Kovtun and the silver medalist at the Europeans last week, Sergei Voronov, are listed as alternates.

Here’s the Russian figure skating team for the Olympics:
Men: Evgeni Plushenko
Ladies: Julia Lipnitskaia, Adelina Sotnikova
Pairs: Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov
Ice dance: Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, Viktoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin