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article imagePlushenko fit to go for Olympic skating record

By AFP     Feb 10, 2014 in World

Figure skating superstar Yevgeny Plushenko will compete in the individual men's event at the Winter Olympics, Russian federation president Alexander Gorshkov confirmed on Monday.

There had been reports the 31-year-old veteran could pull out on medical grounds after complaining of back pain after helping Russia to their first gold of the Games in the new team event.

It was the second Olympic gold for Plushenko, 31, winner of the men's gold in 2006 and a two-time silver medallist in 2002 and 2010.

Another medal would put him ahead of Swede Gillis Grafstroem as the most medalled man in Olympic figure skating.

Grafstroem won four figure skating medals -- three in gold -- between 1920 and 1932.

After winning the free programme on Sunday night, the three-time world champion admitted to having had back pains during the routine. He underwent surgery on his spine last year.

Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko performs during the Men's Figure Skating Team Short Program at ...
Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko performs during the Men's Figure Skating Team Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6, 2014

"Plushenko really did feel a slight pain in his spine during the free program, but he has time to recover," Gorshkov told R-Sport.

"I hope the doctors will fix everything," he added. "As was the plan, Plushenko will perform in the individual Olympic competition."

The deadline for replacing injured skaters passed at 1000 a.m. local time (0600GMT) on Monday.

The men's short program is Thursday with their free programme Friday.

As Russia have only one men's berth in Sochi the possibility of substituting Plushenko had been a contentious issue and would only have been allowed on medical grounds.

The skater himself had suggested after finishing second at the nationals behind Maxim Kovtum, 18, he might withdraw after the team event to allow up-and-coming competitors a chance to win a medal.

Kovtun flopped at Europeans and Plushenko sealed his berth in a skate in front of Russian officials last month and was handed the spot at his fourth Olympics.

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