Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan claims first place during the opening roundEvgeni Plushenko withdrew from the men’s single skating event just before he was to skate Thursday night, citing medical reasons.
Plushenko had been battling back injuries in the latter part of his career and underwent two spinal surgeries in the last two years. The Russian landed awkwardly on a triple axel in warm-ups. He put his hands to his heart as the announcer shared the news that he was withdrawing from the event.
The Iceberg Palace went silent as a somber Plushenko skated to the boards to talk to the referee. And though he tried to smile as acknowledged the crowd, his legs appeared to almost buckle beneath him when he left the ice and coach Alexei Mishin had to grab him to support him.
Plushenko won Gold in 2006, and two Silvers in 2002 and 2010 along with the team Gold medal in Sochi this year.
The men’s figure skating champion of the 2014 Winter Olympics will be decided during the Feb. 14 long program round.
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