Earlier today at the European Championships, former Olympic Champion Evgeny Plushenko fell on a triple Axel in his short program, leaving him in a distant 6th place, some 15 points behind the two leaders, Florent Amodio of France and Javier Fernandez of Spain. Before the draw for the free skate could even happen, Plushenko withdrew due to injury.
Now-- Evgeny still obviously has the 2014 Sochi Olympics on his mind as the ultimate goal, but he failed to get through this competition after looking 'very good' in practices in the days before the event started. Unless one of Sergei Voronov (who is the highest-ranked Russian man at Europeans following the short program), Maksim Kovtun, or even Konstantin Menshov (who was not sent to this competition) can finish in the top 10 at the World Championships in just over a month, only one man from Russia will be able to go to Sochi.
Evgeny Plushenko has been competing on the senior level since the 1998 season. He won a bronze medal in his first World Championships that year, at the age of 15. Since then, he has earned three World Championship titles and three Olympic medals, including a gold in 2006. He's been a great model of persistence and still has the same flair that made him turn heads 15 years ago.
However, with this withdrawal and even the fall in the short program before that, I think the situation in Russia just became much more confusing. Prior to this incident, I think most people agreed, whether they thought it was fair or not, that Plushenko would be the likely lone representative to the Sochi Olympics (in the event that only one Russian man qualifies) because he was still hunting for another Olympic gold, and it would be in his home country. He showed here that his body might not always be 100% or that injuries can virtually happen overnight, making him the 'not-so-guaranteed' bet for
Sergei Voronov was not that far behind Plushenko in total points when Evgeny did skate very well at Russian Nationals last month. I think now, more than ever, he's really going to have to clearly prove he belongs in Sochi rather than just being handed the ticket.
What do you think?