SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Legendary Russian figure skater Evgeny Plyushchenko has pulled out of the much-anticipated men's short program Thursday at the Winter Olympics.
The 31-year-old skated off the rink clutching his back at the Iceberg Skating Complex in Sochi. Plyushchenko was seen speaking briefly with the judges before his official departure from the competition was announced.
Earlier this week, the four-time Olympic medalist -- including a gold in men's singles in Turin in 2006 -- helped Russia win gold in the first-ever team figure skating competition. He earned the highest score during the men's freeskate segment.
The Russian apparently aggravated a lingering back injury, which he had dismissed as nothing to worry about only days earlier.
“My injured back? We have a day off, and my back will not affect my performance at the competitions, I believe that everything will be okay, and I will skate my short and free-style program,” Plyushchenko told journalists this past Sunday.
[Voice of Russia]