Evgeni Plushenko

Yevgeny Plushenko may not be chosen for Sochi Olympics

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Russian Yevgeny Plushenko wants to skate only in the team event at the Sochi Olympics, but that may not be possible.

Plushenko plans to compete in the new Olympic team event and then cede a potential singles spot to a younger skater, he said after finishing second at the Russian National Championships on Christmas.

“I think I’ll choose the team event and will give the individual competition to a young and prospective athlete,” Plushenko said, according to R-Sport. “I understand everything adequately. It will be enough for me to take part in the team event.”

An official from Russia’s figure skating federation differed. Russia qualified one men’s skater for the Olympics out of the maximum possible three, and using different skaters for the team and individual events may not be possible.

“The final decision on who will be the main representative and who will be the reserve will be taken after the European Championships [Jan. 13-19],” federation general director Valentin Piseyev said, according to Agence France-Presse citing R-Sport.

Piseyev said Plushenko’s comments were spoken “out of emotion” and were not logical, according to the report.

Piseyev pointed out that the same skater must represent a nation in the team event and the later singles competition, unless the skater was injured from the team event.

“Not all the sportsmen know the precise rules,” Piseyev said.

This very issue was presented to the International Skating Union in an email last month when reports first surfaced that Plushenko might only want to do the team event.

An ISU communications coordinator responded, writing, “The ISU cannot comment on potential decisions that are the responsibility of the Russian NOC or the IOC,” and suggested contacting the IOC.

An email to the IOC on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Plushenko, 31, was expected to be Russia’s lone men’s Olympic singles entry if he wanted it despite finishing second at the Sochi Olympic venue Wednesday.

Plushenko is coming off a left knee injury that forced him to withdraw from a Grand Prix event in Moscow in November. Before that, he won a minor event in Riga, Latvia.

That was his first competition since withdrawing after the short program of the last season’s European Championships in January with a back injury.

The team event calls for short and long programs just as the men’s singles event does but with three days between the men’s programs as opposed to one day in men’s singles. Plushenko would be more likely to win a medal in the team event than in men’s singles if he competes in both.

At Russian Nationals, Plushenko was beaten by Maksim Kovtun, 18, giving up his lead after the short program. Plushenko scored 261.37 total points (free skate video here) to Kovtun’s 267.13 (free skate video here).

“I cannot call my skate a success,” Plushenko said, according to Agence France-Presse. “I need more practice so that my legs don’t die on me.”

Plushenko won Olympic silver in 2002, gold in 2006 and silver in 2010.

With one Sochi medal, he will become the second skater to win four Olympic medals. Swede Gillis Grafstrom won gold in 1920, 1924 and 1928 and silver in 1932.

Russia, Canada, Japan and the U.S. are expected to vie for medals in the team event, which starts the night before the Opening Ceremony.

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Watch Real Sports trailer on Peter Norman of 1968 Olympic podium protest

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HBO’s “Real Sports” will profile Australian 1968 Olympic 200m silver medalist Peter Norman in an episode premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

Norman finished between Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 200m final at the Mexico City Games.

Largely forgotten, Norman’s story is chronicled by “Real Sports,” with the help of Smith and Carlos.

Norman died of a heart attack in 2006, and Smith and Carlos flew to Australia to serve as pallbearers and deliver eulogies at his funeral.

Smith and Carlos reflected on the role Norman played in their famous raised-fists podium gesture in this transcript from “Real Sports:”

Tommie Smith: “I had my gloves. And there was some discussion in the tunnel between John and myself.”

John Carlos: “Peter was there and he was kinda curious as to what we were doing, what we were talking about. And I turned to Peter and I asked him. I said, ‘Peter,’ I said, ‘Do you believe in human rights?’”

Real Sports: “You said– you expected to see fear in his eyes. Instead–”

John Carlos: “I didn’t see nothing but love, man. He looked at me and he smiled. He said, ‘Of course.’ And I said to him, I said, ‘Would you like to wear Olympic Project for Human Rights button?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ And he started reaching for mine. And I pat him on his hand. I said, ‘Whoa, you can’t have this. But I’ll get you one.’”

Real Sports: “He didn’t hesitate?”

John Carlos: “Mr. Norman never flinched.”

MORE: Smith, Carlos honored at White House

Russian wrestler who died in 2013 not stripped of 2012 Olympic medal in doping probe

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Silver medalist Besik Kudukhov of Russia, Gold medalist Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan, Bronze medalist Coleman Scott of the United States, and Bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt of India in the Men's Freestyle 60 kg Wrestling on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 11, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says the International Olympic Committee has dropped an investigation into a deceased wrestler who allegedly tested positive for a banned steroid when an old sample was retested.

Besik Kudukhov won the silver medal in the men’s freestyle 60-kilogram class at the 2012 Olympics and died the following year in a car crash.

The Russian Wrestling Federation says in a statement his sample from the 2012 Games was retested this year and found to be positive for the steroid turinabol. The case was passed to an IOC disciplinary commission, which ended its investigation last week with no action taken, the federation says.

The IOC, which has not acknowledged any positive test by Kudukhov, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Kudukhov also won bronze at the 2008 Olympics.

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