SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Evgeni Plushenko, 31, looked like he was 25 when he helped lead the Russians to their first gold of the Sochi Games in team figure skating last weekend.
On Thursday, the four-time medalist seemed much older.
His back gave out during warmups before the men's figure skating competition. And Plushenko hunched over in pain after falling on a triple axel jump and gingerly glided over to his coaches for a consultation.
When he couldn't get it loosened up, he had to withdraw, ending his pursuit of a fifth medal. Shortly afterward, he announced his retirement from the sport.
The pain and disappointment on his face is obvious as he skates off the rink in front of thousands of Russian fans, a heart-breaking end to a Sochi Olympics that started with so much joy.
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