Yevgeny Plushenko

Yevgeny Plushenko out this season; health to determine future

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Four-time Olympic figure skating medalist Yevgeny Plushenko will not compete this season but repeated he is considering a run to the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

“If my health allows it, then perhaps I will continue competing and will try to enter my fifth Olympics,” Plushenko said, according to Russian media, adding he felt “much better” after March back surgery.

Plushenko, 31, returned to training in May and performed in ice shows this summer.

In February, Plushenko had announced his retirement after withdrawing before the Olympic men’s short program due to his injured back. Earlier in the Winter Games, Plushenko helped Russia to gold in the new team event, joining 1920s and ’30s Swede Gillis Grafstrom as the only four-time Olympic figure skating medalists.

Later in February, he went back on the retirement announcement.

“If need be, I’ll have another 10 operations … I’m not ruling out that I’ll go for a fifth Olympic Games,” he told Reuters in February. “I am not ruling out that I want stay in sports, to prove [something] to many [people] and myself.”

In 2006, Lithuanian ice dancers Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas became the first figure skaters to compete in five Olympics.

Yuzuru Hanyu (back) pulls out of first event this season

Coronavirus forces Olympic soccer and boxing qualifiers to move

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Olympic qualifying events in two sports were moved from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Wednesday because of an outbreak of a deadly viral illness.

A four-nation Asian qualifying group for the women’s soccer tournament was switched from the city at the center of the health scare to Nanjing.

The Asia-Oceania boxing qualifying tournament scheduled for Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan was cancelled. No new plans were announced.

The decisions followed Chinese health authorities telling people in Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings.

The Asian Football Confederation said the round-robin group — featuring host China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand — will be played on Feb. 3-9, retaining the same dates, in Nanjing.

More than 500 people have been infected and at least 17 killed since the outbreak emerged last month. The illness comes from a newly identified type of coronavirus.

Cases have also been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. All involve people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there.

In the soccer qualifiers in China, two teams advance to a four-nation playoff round in March. That will decide which two teams from Asia join host Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Russia trounces U.S. boys’ hockey team to wrap up Youth Olympic Games

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Russia routed the U.S. 4-0 in the boys’ hockey gold medal game Wednesday, the final day of the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The U.S. had more penalties (three) than shots (two) in the first period. Russia’s Matvei Michkov converted the first power play and added an even-strength goal later in the period. Another power-play goal in the second period ran the score to 3-0.

Michkov just turned 15 and is projected as a top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

The gold medal was Russia’s ninth of the Games, excluding events that featured mixed-nationality teams, and 27th overall medal. Both numbers were the best of the competition.

Switzerland finished second in the medal tally with nine golds and 22 total. Japan, the surprise winner in girls’ hockey, matched Switzerland with nine golds among its 17 medals.

The U.S. had two gold medals and 11 total. Kiernan Fagan took gold in the boys’ ski slopestyle and silver in ski big air. Dusty Henricksen won the boys’ snowboard slopestyle.

Fagan, who turned 18 during the Games, already has a couple of World Cup podiums and finished 12th in slopestyle in last year’s world championships. He also took silver in big air and slopestyle in last year’s world junior championships.

Henricksen, who’ll turn 17 next month, placed 17th in the World Cup big air event last month in Atlanta.

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