SOCHI — After announcing his retirement from figure skating, Russia's two-time Olympic champion Evgeny Plushenko has said he may return for the next Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Plushenko, who would be 35 in 2018, made the statement on Tuesday after dramatically pulling out of the men's singles event in Sochi because of a back injury.
The injury, he said, occurred despite multiple back operations in recent years and was exacerbated by his involvement in the team event, where Plushenko helped Russia to win the gold medal, his fourth medal in four Olympics.
"Here's what I want to do," Plushenko told a chat show on Channel One, Russia's biggest television network. "Recover completely, and if necessary do another 10 operations."
"I will skip a couple of seasons, I will learn another couple quads and come back to competition," he said, in reference to the four-spin element that is required to compete with the top skaters.
"That is to say, not return, but stay [in sport]. I don't exclude the possibility that I want to remain in sport, to prove it to many people and to myself. I don't rule out that there will be a fifth Olympics," he added.
"I don't want to retire from sport, maybe I will still skate," he said.
Plushenko won the silver medal behind Evan Lycasek in Vancouver four years ago and the gold at Turin 2006. After he pulled out of Sochi, the individual gold was won by Japanese star Yuzuru Hanyu.