There have been speculations surrounding Russian superstar, Evgeni Plushenko and today, February 13, will only continue the intrigue.
After capturing the silver medal in 2002, the gold in 2006 and the silver again in 2010, Plushenko was back for yet another Olympic Games, but his body had other plans.
Plushenko had announced his desire to compete only in the team event and then allow for another skater to compete in the individual event, but that is not how the rules work. After going back and forth in his statements about the situation, Plushenko performed in front of a panel which determined that he was fit to skate for yet his fourth Olympic Games.
Evgeni has struggled with back injuries for quite some time, leaving critics irate when named to the one man Russian Olympic Team after coming in second at the Russian National Championships.
Evgeni was fabulous during the men’s short program in the team event, but then began to struggle at the end of his free skate citing that pain had kicked in for him. He eventually switched some of his triple jumps for doubles. It was still enough for Plushenko to come out on top in the team event and the Russian crowd was more then ready to embrace him in the individual event, but it was not meant to be.
During the warm up at the men’s short program today, February 13, Evgeni was visibly in pain. After attempting a triple axel, it looked as if something just went wrong for him. He tried to skate through it, but quickly realized it was over for him. He spoke with officials and his coaches and then it was officially announced that he had withdrawn citing "medical reasons."
He seemed frustrated and in pain, but gave the audience one final wave and left the ice. It was a sad end to his career and the Russian audience seemed stunned by the announcement. A legend unexpectedly retired in front of an Olympic crowd and he and his fans were not prepared for this type of send off.
Rumors continue about whether he was truly fit to skate in the first place, if he was selfish for taking the spot knowing his possible complications, or if he was pressured by his federation to compete in the first place. The story will definitely not end here, but for now it will be the last we see of Plushenko on Olympic ice.