Saturday, 23/6/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

OLYMPICS: HIGH DRAMA CASTS SHADOW ON MEN’S SHORT PROGRAMS

In last week’s Team Event, Evgeni Plushenko was Russia’s own Miracle on Ice.  After 12 surgeries to repair damaged knees and a ruptured spinal disc, twice he skated gold medal winning programs for Mother Russia.

On the day he began his march toward a 5th Olympic medal, ‘Zhenya’ just couldn’t push his body into the air.  The springs wouldn’t move. The four-time Olympian bent over, shook his head and massaged his back.  After conferring with Alexei Michin, his coach of 20 years, Plushenko skated to the judges’ table and informed the referee of his decision to withdraw.

A polite handshake, a wave to the crowd, and a dark curtain was drawn on a legendary career.

He later explained he had reinjured his back during the previous day’s practice. “I am sorry for my fans and for everybody, but I tried until the end. It’s hard; believe me. This is not how I wanted to end my career.  I am very disappointed, but I tried to do my best.”

Plushenko was the only Russian man entered in the competition, so the host country will have no skater in the Men’s Olympic Event.

———————-

The crowd was still buzzing about the Plushenko announcement, when Jeremy Abbott, USA, struck his opening pose. The US National Champion attempted a 4T and crashed hard to the ice, sliding into the boards.  He clutched his hip and struggled to his feet.

His coach, Yuka Sato, tried unsuccessfully to reach the helpless Abbott, but the gate to the ice was jammed shut.

Meanwhile, the determined skater finished his program and received a huge ovation from the Russian audience and kudos from his fellow competitors..  Abbott credited adrenaline for getting him to the end.

“I’m not in the least bit ashamed,” Abbott said, “I stood up, and I finished that program. I’m proud of my effort, and I’m proud of what I did under the circumstances.

Initially, Abbott assured the AP he would skate the Free Program the following night.  However, after visiting the medical team, he admitted the pain had begun to kick in.

Abbott finished the Short Program in 15th place with a 72.58 score after receiving two deductions, one for the fall, and one for the program disruption. 

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