SOCHI, Russia – Buoyed by his success in the team event, Evgeni Plushenko threw his name in the hat for Tuesday’s draw of the men’s singles event that begins Thursday.
The four-time Olympic medalist drew the seventh starting position among the 30 entrants.
After winning the free skate phase of the team event Sunday, the 31-year-old Russian complained of pain in his spine. He has had recurrent back problem that required surgery.
“I can’t even imagine what he is going through,” said U.S. competitor Jeremy Abbott, 28. “It is much harder when you get older.”
None of the other top men in the field did the free skate in the team event. But Plushenko faced two of them in the short program, when he beat three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada and was second to Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu.
The judges were extremely generous to Plushenko with their component scores in both programs as Russia won the team gold.
“The majority loves him,” said his coach, Alexei Mishin. “The minority is jealous. The minority are the ones doing the bites.”
Said NBC commentator and Olympic pairs skater Sandra Bezic: "He can do no wrong with the public here and all of figure skating. They just want to see him more. They just want the show. I just want the show."