Torino figure skating champ Yevgeny Plushenko says he’ll skate at his hometown Sochi Games next February despite an upcoming operation on an intervertebral disc in his lower back.
Plushenko pulled out of the Euro championships last week after being unable to adjust his routine after recently sustained injuries. But he has more than a full year to recover, and will still aim for his modern record fourth Olympic medal next year.
“The complete post-operational recovery will take a long time, but not too long to affect his preparations for next season and its main event, the Olympics,” his coach, Alexei Mishin, said Wednesday.
“[Thursday] he will undergo surgery but we are not going to change the schedule of our preparations. The medics said that [Yevgeny] will be able to walk and swim just four weeks after the operation.”
Plushenko effectively retired after Vancouver, but has since state his “ineradicable” and “unshakeable” desire to compete in Sochi regardless of injury or the fact that he’ll be 31 when the Games roll around.
The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.
It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.
The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.
San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.
Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.
The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.
Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.
MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America
Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.
Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.
Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.
MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal