Yevgeny Plushenko

Knee injury forces Plushenko out of Russian Grand Prix event

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Three-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko withdrew Wednesday from the Rostelecom Cup, the Grand Prix event held in Moscow Nov. 22-24.

The Russian, who won Olympic gold in Torino and silver in both Salt Lake and Vancouver, registered a qualifying score for the Sochi Games a week ago at a small event in Latvia.

According to the Russian news outlet R-Sport, Plushenko suffered a knee injury in practice.

“Today during training [Plushenko] received a micro-injury of the left knee and doctors have recommended the athlete to decrease his workload,” Plushenko’s coach Alexei Mishin was quoted as saying on the Russian figure skating federation website, R-Sport reported.

“[Plushenko] can train, but it’s been recommended that he wait for competition in order to rule out any possible negative consequences,” Mishin was quoted as saying.

Plushenko has had several knee surgeries throughout his career and earlier this year had back surgery after pulling out of the European Championships midway through the competition.

The Russian figure skating federation president, Aleksander Gorshkov, said Plushnko would continue training in the near future.

“It’s obviously a shame that this has happened,” Gorshkov told R-Sport. “Plushenko’s an outstanding athlete, for many he’s an idol.”

The 31-year-old will need to perform well at the Russian national championships to secure his country’s lone men’s singles position in figure skating, though many feel as though the veteran is a lock for the position regardless. Eighteen-year-old Maksim Kovtun is seen as Plushenko’s biggest challenger. Kovtun was second at the Cup of China earlier this month.

Plushenko captures comeback event in Latvia

U.S. senators speak up as women’s hockey worlds near with no resolution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey’s executive director Monday over their concerns about the treatment of the women’s national team.

Players have threatened to boycott the upcoming world championships over a wage dispute. The senators, all Democrats, urged David Ogrean to resolve the matter and ensure the team receives “equitable resources.” They cited the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

USA Hockey’s board of directors meets Monday, and players said Sunday night they hope there’s a deal.

The senators, all Democrats, joined a chorus of support that includes unions representing players from the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Those organizations said over the weekend they stood with the women’s team and criticized USA Hockey for attempting to find replacement players.

Prominent NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted Sunday, “Word circulating among NHL players that American players will refuse to play in men’s World Championships in solidarity with the women.”

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

The U.S. is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

In negotiations over the past 15 months, players have asked for a four-year contract that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. The senators’ letter notes the $6,000 that players earn around the Olympics and USA Hockey’s $3.5 million annual spending on the men’s national team development program and other discrepancies.

“These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics,” the senators wrote.

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. They said the agreement has the “potential to be a game changer for everyone.”

The letter was signed by: Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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Ugandan Olympian’s body shuts down at World Cross-Country Champs (video)

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Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei went from leading the race to finishing 30th in the final kilometer at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

Cheptegei, a 20-year-old Olympian, saw his body shut down in the last four minutes of his race.

His stride shortened. His pace slowed. Cheptegei appeared on the verge of falling. At one point, a teammate deliberately pushed him from behind to keep going.

Cheptegei led by 12 seconds going into the final two-kilometer lap. He would finish 1 minute, 44 seconds behind Kenyan winner Geoffrey Kamworor, with 28 other runners separating them after the 10km race that took about a half-hour.

Cheptegei’s body movement looked similar to that of British triathlete Jonny Brownlee, who had to be helped to the finish line by brother Alistair Brownlee at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico, in September.

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