Yevgeny Plushenko set to miss entire figure skating season

Evgeni Plushenko
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Yevgeny Plushenko, a four-time Olympic figure skating medalist who hasn’t competed since the Sochi Winter Games, needs another back surgery and will likely miss the 2015-16 season, according to Russian reports.

“He has been diagnosed with a crack in an intervertebral disc,” Russian figure skating president Alexander Gorshkov said, according to Russian news agency TASS. “Obviously, he would skip the season. As I understand, the nature of Plushenko’s injury allows him living normally, practicing and skating, but without any serious loads. It is undoubtedly impossible to imagine men’s single figure skating without them [serious loads].”

Plushenko, 32, won Olympic silver in 2002, gold in 2006, silver in 2010 and team event gold in 2014, his last competition.

Plushenko had March 2014 back surgery, returned to training that May and performed in ice shows starting last summer.

In February 2014, Plushenko had announced his retirement after withdrawing before the Olympic men’s short program due to his injured back.

Later that month, 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 during the Sochi Olympics. “I am not ruling out that I want stay in sports, to prove [something] to many [people] and myself.”

Plushenko was re-added to the Russian national team ahead of this season but was not entered in any Grand Prix competitions.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Adelina Sotnikova sets return to figure skating competition

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Друзья, учитывая большое количество информации, причём самой противоречивой в сегодняшней прессе, хочу Вас заверить, что я продолжаю тренироваться. Этот сезон я действительно вынужден пропустить. У меня есть проблемы по здоровью. Врачи рекомендуют операцию, но если я решусь на нее, то это будет не раньше марта, так как восстановление после нее очень долгое, а у меня запланировано много показательных выступлений. Поэтому завтра я по-прежнему тренируюсь с Мишиным, ставлю программы с Юрием Смекаловым, Юрием Посоховым и Сергеем Филиным, накатываю их. В ближайшем будущем готов показать и новую "Короткую" и новую "Произвольную" программы руководству Федерации! Мой фокус – не очередной чемпионат, их было уже много в моей карьере, мой фокус – отбор на Олимпийские игры. Форсировать подготовку и, уж тем более оперативное серьезное вмешательство, я не хочу. Мы с доктором Ильей Пекарским пробуем инъекции и другие методики. Есть минимальная надежда обойтись без нее. У меня сложный путь, спортивный путь. Мне 32 года, за спиной 4 Олимпиады, да, есть проблемы с позвоночником, но желание тренироваться есть, соревноваться есть. 2 месяца назад на шоу в Японии я делал самый сложный набор элементов. Я понимаю, что могу бороться. Поэтому, если этот сезон я пропускаю – это не значит, что я не буду ничего делать. Работа идет, пусть не так быстро как мне и всем бы хотелось, но я никогда не останавливался и не собираюсь. Если не поможет никакое лечение, в марте, после всех шоу и показательных выступлений, я вынужденно пойду на 3 операцию на позвоночнике. Пока мои близкие и я не готовы к этому решению. Это будет сложное решение и мне нужно время, чтобы принять его. Поэтому я всегда на связи с руководством Федерации Фигурного катания, с моим тренером. Меня все поддерживают, поэтому завтра я снова на льду с Алексеем Мишиным! Руки никто не опускает. Всех желающих жду на завтрашней тренировке в Юбилейном! Всем спасибо и всем удачи!

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IOC gives more time to pick 2030 Olympic host, studies rotating Winter Games

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The 2030 Winter Olympic host, expected to be Salt Lake City or Sapporo, Japan, is no longer targeted to be decided before next fall, the IOC said in announcing wider discussions into the future of the Winter Games, including the possibility of rotating the Games within a pool of hosts.

The IOC Future Host Commission was granted more time to study factors, including climate change, that could impact which cities and regions host future Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The 2030 Winter Games host is not expected to be decided before or at an IOC session next September or October.

Hosts have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline. For example, the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded to Paris and Los Angeles in a historic double award in 2017. The 2032 Summer Games were awarded to Brisbane last year without a traditional bid race.

Italy hosts the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

There are three interested parties for the 2030 Winter Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday without naming them. Previously, Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver were confirmed as bids. Then in October, the British Columbia government said it would not support a Vancouver bid, a major setback, though organizers did not say that decision ended the bid. All three cities are attractive as past Winter Games hosts with existing venues.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials have said Salt Lake City is a likelier candidate for 2034 than 2030, but could step in for 2030 if asked.

The future host commission outlined proposals for future Winter Olympics, which included rotating hosts within a pool of cities or regions and a requirement that hosts have an average minimum temperature below freezing (32 degrees) for snow competition venues at the time of the Games over a 10-year period.

The IOC Executive Board gave the commission more time to study the proposals and other factors impacting winter sports.

The IOC board also discussed and will continue to explore a potential double awarding of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic hosts.

Also Tuesday, the IOC board said that Afghanistan participation in the 2024 Olympics will depend on making progress in safe access to sports for women and young girls in the country.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged the IOC to suspend Afghanistan until women and girls can play sport in the country.

In a press release, the IOC board expressed “serious concern and strongly condemned the latest restrictions imposed by the Afghan authorities on women and young girls in Afghanistan, which prevent them from practicing sport in the country.” It urged Afghanistan authorities to “take immediate action at the highest level to reverse such restrictions and ensure safe access to sport for women and young girls.”

The IOC board also announced that North Korea’s National Olympic Committee will be reinstated when its suspension is up at the end of the year.

In September 2021, the IOC banned the North Korean NOC through the end of 2022, including banning a North Korean delegation from participating in the Beijing Winter Games, after it chose not to participate in the Tokyo Games.

North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the only one of 206 National Olympic Committees to withdraw from Tokyo. The country made its choice in late March 2021, citing a desire “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis caused by the malicious virus infection.”

The IOC said in September 2021 that it “provided reassurances for the holding of safe Games and offered constructive proposals to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC.”

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Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe leaves moguls for another skiing discipline

Justine Dufour-Lapointe
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Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Olympic moguls champion, is leaving the event to compete in freeriding, a non-Olympic skiing discipline.

“After three Olympic cycles and 12 years on the World Cup circuit, I felt that I needed to find a new source of motivation and had to push my limits even more so I can reach my full potential as a skier,” the 28-year-old Montreal native said in a social media video, according to a translation from French. “Today, I am starting a new chapter in my career. … I want to perfect myself in another discipline. I want to connect with the mountain differently. Above all, I want to get out of my comfort zone in a way I’ve never done before.”

Dufour-Lapointe said she will compete on the Freeride World Tour, a series of judged competitions described as:

There‘s a start gate at the summit and a finish gate at the bottom. That’s it. Best run down wins. It truly is that simple. Think skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and nasty couloirs. Think progressive: big jumps, mach-speed turns and full-on attack. Think entertaining.

Dufour-Lapointe has retired from moguls skiing, according to a Freeride World Tour press release, though she did not explicitly say that in social media posts Tuesday.

At the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Dufour-Lapointe denied American Hannah Kearney‘s bid to become the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion. Older sister Chloé took silver in a Canadian one-two.

Dufour-Lapointe also won the world title in 2015, then Olympic silver in 2018 behind Frenchwoman Perrine Laffont.

Chloé announced her retirement in September. A third Dufour-Lapointe Olympic moguls skier, Maxime, retired in 2018.

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