1. Evgeni Plushenko is one of the all-time great figure skaters, with two golds and two silvers in Olympic competition. At 31, this is expected to be his last Olympics — in his home country of Russia.
2. But — after two spinal surgeries in the past two years and a tweaked back earlier in the week in practice — Plushenko was clearly hurting in warm-ups.
3. A second jump went badly too.
4. So, as he was being called out to perform, Plushenko skated to the judges’ table and withdrew from competition.
5. He took a few seconds to wave to the home crowd.
6. And then it was over. Plushenko won his first world championship medal 16 years ago next month.
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