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Plushenko: Traveling to fifth-career Olympics is ambition to set personal record

Russia’s titled figure skater Evgenii Plushenko is preparing for the qualifying competitions for the Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang

MOSCOW, October 14. /TASS/. Russia’s titled figure skater Evgenii Plushenko told TASS on Wednesday he intended to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang, which may turn into his 5th career Olympics, to set a personal record for himself.

"I am currently preparing not for the Olympics but for the qualifying competitions for the Games," Plushenko said in an interview with TASS. "One must not put the medals around my neck and say that I am off to the [Olympic] competition."

"We are talking here neither about the Olympic team nor the personal competitions," he said. "We are talking here about the preparations for the Russian championship and other tournaments in order to be selected for the Olympics. But a lot of work is ahead of me to reach this goal."

"I would like to travel to my fifth Olympics as did such thing before me," Plushenko said. "I would like to set a record personally for myself."

In mid-September Plushenko was diagnosed with a new spinal injury and president of the Russian Figure Skating Federation Alexander Gorshkov announced last month that the figure skater would miss the current season.

The figure skater announced late last month that although he was skipping the current season due to a new spinal injury he currently worked on three new programs, which are two short programs and one free dance. He told TASS two weeks ago that he would skate his new program at a demonstration performance in the Estonian capital of Tallinn on October 18.

Although retired in the past Plushenko first stunned media in the summer of 2014 by announcing that he intended to compete for another title at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

The titled 32-year-old Russian figure skater performed in four Olympics 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. He retired from sports after the Sochi Olympics.

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.

In April, Plushenko was enlisted once again in the Russian national figure skating team.