Evgeni Plushenko is back again

Evgeni Plushenko at Volvo Cup 2013

By Vladislav Luchianov

2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko made a solid return to the big sport and took the lead at 2013 Volvo Cup in Riga, Latvia with 82.34 points.

Volvo Cup is a lower-level, Senior B event, that enables Plushenko to register an international score that he is in need of in order to be eligible for the Sochi Olympics.

This event was expected, quite literally, by thousands of fans of the Russian skater around the world. Evgeni Plushenko is back… once again. Behind him is a complicated surgery on his back and nine months without competitive skating, and ahead – a difficult way to get to the main start of four years: the Olympic Games in Sochi.

A small ice arena barely accommodates 800 people. Not the biggest skating event in figure skating world is held in Latvian capital twice a year and, in general, does not bring a special attention of spectators and journalists. But not this time. The return of Evgeni Plushenko made Riga the center of skating life in Europe this weekend.

In the short program to “A Girl Like You” by Okean Elzy, Plushenko landed a triple toe loop, a triple Axel and a triple Lutz-double toe loop combo. There was no quad this time.

“It will be a miracle if he appears again at the Olympics. I think it does not matter in what country people live – we all love these stories.” said Mattis Shepp, a head of Der Spiegel newspaper office.

Fans from different countries and regions of Russia have come to see the return of eminent athlete and support him.

“I have not performed at events for nine months. Of course, I was very nervous but held back because the first start is always tough, especially after such a complex surgery,” Plushenko said Itar-Tass news agency. “I did not think that all I want will turn out well. There was no a quad jump but the program was worthy.” he continued.

“I do not hide the fact that my spins were a little weak, because I controlled very much all the movements and emotions. The program is still very fresh, as this is just the first tournament. No matter how things will turn out tomorrow, I must go through these events in order to remember the atmosphere of competitions and then I will look if my back and health will allow me to do all the movements.” Russian skater noted.

“It is hard, of course, but today I went to the ice with pleasure. When I was called, I even smiled! Somewhere in my heart I felt that I finally returned to the sport. First of all, I came here to compete with myself.” Plushenko concluded.

After the first day of competitions all three podium’s places in Riga are under the control of Russians. Alexander Petrov finished second with 73.77 points and his teammate Zhan Bush was third with 71.78 points.

Related video:

Volvo Cup 2013 – Evgeni Plushenko, SP

Photo: LETA

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