Warning: Do not keep reading if you’d like to stay spoiler-free regarding the 2014 Winter Olympics men’s figure skating singles short program results. It will be featured during NBC’s broadcast Thursday (Feb. 13) night, which begins at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Russian men’s singles skater Yevgeny Plushenko, the silver medalist from 2002 and 2010 and gold medalist in 2006, came out of a triple axel during warm-ups holding his back and then tried another jump that visibly hurt him. Plushenko then skated over to the judges’ table and withdrew from the competition, which means the Russians do not have a participant in the men’s figure skating singles event.
Plushenko was poised to contend for the gold medal. During the team figure skating event, he finished second in the short program portion and first in the free skate. It’s not a foregone conclusion that he would have won gold, but he certainly would have been in the running.
Plushenko did win a gold medal in the team competition at the 2014 Olympics, but it’s a shame for Plushenko to go out that way. He’s 31 years of age and has had multiple back and knee surgeries, so this was his swan song. The AP reports that Plushenko is retiring.
UPDATE: Plushenko spoke with NBC after he withdrew from the competition (English is not his first language). The skater says:
“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.”