April 27, 2011 / 11:33 AM / 8 years ago

INTERVIEW-Figure skating-Banned Plushenko eyeing a quick return

MOSCOW, April 27 (Reuters) - Yevgeny Plushenko is hoping his indefinite ban from competitive figure skating will be lifted to give him a chance to end his illustrious career on home ice at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

“I want to skate again, the sooner the better,” the 2006 Olympic champion told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of this week’s world figure skating championships.

The flamboyant Russian was banned indefinitely by the International Skating Union (ISU) last year for taking part in exhibitions without the permission of the world governing body.

“The whole thing was just a misunderstanding,” he said in reference to the events that led to his suspension.

Plushenko pulled out of last year’s world championships in Turin citing a knee injury but just a few weeks later he skated at several lucrative exhibition events.

“I’ve already written a letter to the Russian figure skating federation (RFSF) asking them to make a formal appeal to the (ISU),” he said. “I don’t know what they’ve done with my letter but I hope to put the whole affair behind me soon.”

RFSF chief Alexander Gorshkov has acknowledged receiving Plushenko’s request but has yet to process it.

“We were hoping to deal with it this month but first had to prepare for these emergency championships,” Gorshkov told Reuters referring to the event which was moved to Moscow from Japan following last month’s deadly earthquake and tsunami.


“Hopefully, we’ll be able to vote on his appeal at our executive board meeting next month and then send it to the ISU. If everything goes well, Yevgeny should be able to resume his competitive career next season.”

Plushenko, widely regarded as the most gifted skater of his generation, said he would have loved to compete at this year’s championships especially because they are being held in Moscow.

“But in all honesty, I don’t think I would have been ready even if the ban was lifted because I’ve missed a lot of time with my injury,” he said. “But if I get an invitation, I would like to skate in Sunday’s exhibition gala.”

The Russian was still bitter about controversially losing the 2010 Olympic title to American Evan Lysacek, but said the Vancouver events were already in the past.

He said Lysacek was not a “true champion” because he had won the gold without attempting a quadruple jump, considered the most difficult in figure skating.

“There’s no point in talking about Vancouver, it’s already in the past and I want to look to the future,” he said.

“I’d like to think that the (ISU) ban was not a retaliation of me criticising the judging at the Olympics, so I could start with a clean slate when I return.”

Plushenko, who also finished second behind compatriot Alexei Yagudin at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, said he would love to finish his career on home ice in Sochi.

“It’s too soon to think of any medals in Sochi but I definitely want to skate there,” the 28-year-old said. “That would be a fitting end to my whole career, doing it on home ice in front of all my fans, a proper farewell if you like.” (Editing by Sonia Oxley; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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