MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Russian figure-skater and twice Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko will return to sports and take part in the world and European championships in 2016, he told TASS on Friday.
"Now I can say that I return to sports," the 32-year-old skater said. "I start training and will take part in competitions soon. I will continue my sports career."
Plushenko said he wanted to qualify for the European and world figure-skating championships.
"My main purpose is to prepare for the 2018 Olympic Games," he added.
Plushenko has performed in four Olympic Games throughout his career, winning his first Olympic gold at the 2006 Winter Games in Italy’s Turin and the second in February last year at Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Plushenko, who also brought Russia silver medals both at the 2002 Olympics in US Salt Lake City and at the 2010 Olympics in Canada’s Vancouver and won seven European champion titles, struggled with back injuries over the two skating seasons prior to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but kept insisting that he would be able to perform well on his home ice.
He partly kept his promise winning the gold in team’s competition in Sochi, but his withdrawal from the men’s individuals saw him not only going to Israel last March for the surgery on his back, but drew mass criticism across Russia.
During a warm-up before the individuals’ performance, Plushenko attempted a triple axel jump, but landed uncomfortably aggravating his old injury and breaking a screw that supported an artificial intervertebral disk in his back.
Eventually, the Russian figure skating star withdrew from the competition and later announced that he had decided to quit sports for good.