ISU bars Plushenko from eligible competition
No Sochi for three-time Olympic medalist
|The Russian Federation stripped Evgeni Plushenko of his eligibility in June after not receiving permission to perform in a skating show. (Getty Images)|
By icenetwork.com staff writers
(08/24/2010) - Evgeni Plushenko's competitive skating days are officially over. After losing out on a second Olympic gold by 1.31 points, Plushenko proclaimed he would continue on to the 2010 World Championships, held in Turin, Italy, just three weeks later. "I would like to go to the worlds; I would like to skate there and finish this season," Plushenko said after his silver-medal performance in Vancouver this February. "It doesn't matter to me which place I'm going to have. I would like to skate clean, like I can. After that, I am going to do the touring in Europe and Russia." Now, it appears his decision to skip the trek to Turin, in favor of scheduling additional exhibitions, will cost him the chance to compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in his home country. In a statement signed by Fredi Schmid, its general director, the International Skating Union (ISU) has announced the three-time Russian world champion is no longer eligible for ISU events including the European and world championships and the Grand Prix Series. He also cannot compete at the Olympics. Whether the 27-year-old Plushenko -- who has a history of knee trouble and will be 31 by the time the 2014 Olympics roll around -- would have chosen to compete at the next Games is questionable. Now, the decision appears to have been made for him more than three years in advance. The ISU put Plushenko on notice that his participation in exhibitions held in March and April, in Russia and other countries, without the express prior authorization of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia (FSFR) was a breach of the ISU eligibility rules that could result in the loss of his eligibility. His was given 21 days to appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but failed to do so. In an interesting twist, the decision was based on evidence presented to the ISU Council by the FSFR; the move seems to have robbed them of the possibility that Russia's biggest star might compete at the upcoming Cup of Russia, to be held in Moscow in November. Plushenko's agent, Ari Zakarian, has told reporters his client still wishes to compete, and will meet with his longtime coach, Alexei Mishin, and FSFR officials to discuss his future. While the ISU decision appears to be final, there is history for readmitting skaters to the eligible ranks. Prior to the 1993/1994 Olympic season, the ISU permitted professional skaters to apply for reinstatement, and many - including big-name stars like Brian Boitano, Katarina Witt, Viktor Petrenko, and pairs Katia Goordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, and Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev, competed at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. Plushenko is one of the most celebrated skaters of all time. He is the 2006 Olympic gold medalist, the 2002 and 2010 Olympic silver medalist, three-time world champion, six-time European champion and four-time Grand Prix Final champion.