Plushenko’s competitive career on ice after ISU decides he violated eligibility rules

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ISU yanks Plushenko’s eligibility over exhibitions

BARCELONA, Spain — Evgeni Plushenko’s plans to compete at the Sochi Olympics could be on ice.

The Olympic gold and silver medalist has lost his eligibility because he skated in exhibition shows without receiving prior permission from the Russian figure skating federation, the International Skating Union announced Monday. Plushenko has three weeks to appeal the ISU’s decision.

The decision means Plushenko cannot compete in International Skating Union events, including the Olympics, world championships and Grand Prix series. The 28-year-old has said he wants to skate through Sochi, and he was on the list for Cup of Russia when Grand Prix assignments were made earlier this month.

Plushenko won the gold medal at the Turin Olympics, and added a silver in Vancouver. He’s also a three-time world champion.

Plushenko withdrew from the world championships March 22-27 in Turin, Italy, after experiencing pain while landing a quadruple jump. But he skated in two exhibitions the following week, putting him in conflict with the ISU’s eligibility rules.

ISU rules are designed to prevent skaters from claiming injuries in withdrawing from the world championships — or other major events — and then turning around and skating in moneymaking shows or exhibitions. Skaters are allowed to perform in events not sanctioned by the ISU, but only if they’ve been given permission by their national federations.

Women’s bronze medalist Joannie Rochette ran into a similar conflict over an exhibition program in tribute to her mother.

Rochette was asked to perform in her mother’s honor March 19 at “Thin Ice,” a made-for-TV show broadcast live on ABC. But the ISU initially said no because the Canadian had withdrawn from worlds, citing the physical and mental toll from her mother’s sudden death in Vancouver. The ISU eventually made an exception because of the extreme circumstances.

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