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Figure skating: Sochi Olympic judges to examine Plushenko

by R-Sport at 21/01/2014 13:14

As Russian figure skating star Evgeni Plushenko's dream of competing at a fourth Olympics hangs in the balance, he is to perform a test skate Tuesday for Russian selectors under the watchful eye of judges who will officiate at the Sochi Games next month.

The Turin 2006 Olympic gold medalist did not compete at last week's European championships and Tuesday's test skate behind closed doors is his last opportunity to stake a claim for a place in Sochi.

“There will be experts who will make the decision, not personal coaches,” Russian Figure Skating Federation general director Valentin Piseev said, in an apparent attempt to stress that athletes' coaches will not be able to sway the decision.

“Judges who will be at the Olympics, then our officials working in the figure skating federation, members of the executive committee, there will be only experts.”

Plushenko has been struggling with back injuries for the last two seasons, and last competed in an elite international event when he withdrew hurt from the 2013 European championships, over a year ago. competing He did, however, compete at the minor Volvo Open event in Riga, Latvia, in November.

His major rival for the sole Russia’s entry at the men’s Sochi event, 18-year-old Maxim Kovtun, beat Plushenko at the Russian nationals last month but could only manage fifth at last week's European Championships in Budapest, behind fellow Russians Sergei Voronov and Konstantin Menshov, who revived their own dark-horse bids for a Sochi Olympic place.

The Olympics formally run from February 7 through 23, although the first competitive date for a Russian men's skater would be the February 6-9 team event, before the men's individual competition February 13-14.



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