by Alexandra Stevenson
Valentin Piseyev, the Russian Figure Skating Federation General Director, on Thursday announced that Evgeni Plushenko had misspoken after the 31-year-old, three-time Olympian (silver in Salt Lake City in 2002 and in Vancouver in 2010, and gold in Torino in 2006) dropped from first after the Short Program to second overall in the national championship, which was held in Sochi.
Plushenko said he’d concede Russia’s one place in the Olympic mens figure skating championship, but would skate in the Team Event. However, the rules state that if a country qualifies only one competitor in a figure skating discipline, that chosen one entry must compete in both the singles and Team contest.
Therefore, if Russia chooses to send their current champion, 18-year-old Maxim Kovtun, who finished only 17th in the last world championship in London, Ontario, Plushenko is stuck as being an honored spectator!
What is not clear, however, is whether things could change if Kovtun develops an injury or becomes sick and Plushenko steps in as first reserve for the team event, on February 6 & 9, where upon Kovtun rapidly recovers and take his place in the regular mens event which is scheduled for February 13th & 14th.
Piseev emphasized no final decision has been made on selection for the Sochi Winter Olympics and that, that would probably not be made until after the European championship in Budapest in January.
Plushenko is an icon in his country, and the youthful Kovtun has years ahead of him. Piseev, said, “Not all sportsmen know the precise rules.”
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