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Russian champion Evgeni Plushenko abruptly retires after withdrawing from Olympics

Evgeni Plushenko Russispeaks with an official prior pulling out men's short program figure skating competitidue illness Iceberg Skating Palace during

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia speaks with an official prior to pulling out of the men's short program figure skating competition due to illness at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

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Updated: February 13, 2014 12:21PM

SOCHI, Russia — Evgeni Plushenko retired from competitive figure skating Thursday just after he withdrew from the men’s competition at the Sochi Olympics for medical reasons.

The 31-year-old Plushenko is the only modern-era figure skater to win medals in four Olympics. He helped Russia win the team gold over the weekend.

In warmups before the short program, he fell on a triple axel and said it felt “like a knife in my back.” He skated toward his coaches while bent over, then tried to loosen up by skating around the Iceberg rink some more.

He then attempted another axel and botched it, shook his head and consulted with coach Alexei Mishin. When Plushenko’s name was announced to the crowd seconds later — to loud applause — he skated to the event referee and withdrew.

Plushenko won Olympic gold in 2006 and 2014, and silver in 2002 and 2010.

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