Evgeni Plushenko withdraws from men's short program

Lawrence Yee
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Evgeni Plushenko's quest to become the most decorated figure skater in history has ended. The Russian was seeking a record fifth medal, but that won't happen. 

The 31-year-old Russian withdrew from the men's short program Thursday after injuring himself during the warmup.

Plushenko was seen clutching his back after botching a triple Axel. He consulted with his coach Alexei Mishin at the boards before taking center ice. It appeared that he would compete, but then skated over to the referee to announce his withdrawal.

The home crowd was shocked by his decision, but clapped as Plushenko took his final bow.

"On triple Axel, I step out and feel pain in my back," Plushenko said afterwards. "I didn't feel my legs after."

Plushenko helped Russia win gold in the team event, and didn't confirm his spot in the individual event until after his team free skate.

Had he not confirmed for the solo event, Russian champion Maxim Kovtun may have been Russia's entry. Now, with Plushenko's late withdrawal, no Russian man will compete. He was very disappointed.

"I almost cried there," he said. "This is end of my career. I tried to make [it my] best"

Plushenko’s withdrawal opens the door for favorites Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and Patrick Chan of Canada.

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