Torino figure skating champ Yevgeny Plushenko underwent back surgery Thursday in Tel Aviv, and actually had a deteriorated spinal disc removed and replaced with a synthetic one.
“The doctor who performed the operation said it was a success,” Plushenko’s coach Alexei Mishin told Reuters. “It’s too early to make any prognosis about his return to the ice… Looking back we all say he should have done something else but it’s too late now. The disc was in such a bad condition.”
Plushenko, 30, effectively retired after winning his third Olympic medal in 2010, but returned to win his tenth national championship last month despite being sidelined for a year with a knee surgery and back issues. Now he hopes this surgery will help him make one final push toward winning a fourth career medal at his country’s first Winter Olympics.
“He should get a new lease of life and hopefully will come back stronger than he was last year,” Mishin added. “I know he has his mind set on competing at the Sochi Olympics and I’m sure he’ll do whatever it takes to be there in good shape and in good health.”
Puma has introduced the “BeatBot,” a self-driving, line-following robot that runners can program to move at a specific pace around a track.
That means one could race against a robot-version of Usain Bolt‘s 100m world record of 9.58 seconds, with BeatBot’s top speed at just over 27 miles per hour.
The BeatBot can also navigate track curves, as shown in the video above.
Puma plans to roll out BeatBot to various track programs around the world over the year.
MORE: Bolt, Ashton Eaton set for showdown
Several U.S. Olympic champions highlight the Penn Relays and Drake Relays fields, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday.
At the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, the U.S. 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m pools include:
Justin Gatlin: 2004 Olympic 100m champ
Tyson Gay: Olympic 100m, fourth place
Carmelita Jeter: Olympic 100m silver medalist
Jeremy Wariner: 2004 Olympic 400m champ
Sanya Richards-Ross: Olympic 400m champ
Also competing will be two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist Kerron Stewart and 2015 World 200m silver medalist Elaine Thompson for Team Jamaica.
STREAM: Penn Relays: 12:30-3 p.m. ET
Next is the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, including:
- 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt versus 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James in the 400m
- World Indoor champion Vashti Cunningham in the high jump. Cunningham, 18, is the daughter of retired NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Randall Cunningham.
- 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson versus 2013 World champion Brianna Rollins in the 100m hurdles.
STREAM: Drake Relays: 3-5 p.m. ET
MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule