Nov 7, 2013, 4:08 PM EST
Thirty-one-year-old Yevgeny Plushenko made his comeback a reality Thursday at a small event in Riga, Latvia, the 2006 Olympic champion skating at the Volvo Cup.
Plushenko, who also won the silver medal at the 2002 and 2010 Games, led after the short program with a 82.34, nearly nine points better than the second-place skater, his countryman Aleksander Petrov.
Plushenko has not competed since pulling out of the European Championships earlier this year after the short program. He won the 2013 Russian National Championships, as well as the Europeans in 2012.
Riga is a lower-level, Senior B event, but enables Plushenko to register an international score that he is in need of in order to be eligible for the Sochi Olympics. He is slated to compete at the Grand Prix stop in Moscow Nov. 22-24, the Rostelecom Cup.
The Russian Olympic team Web site reported that Plushenko landed a triple toe loop, a triple Axel and a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination.
Of the three Grand Prixs held so far in 2013 (and excluding other Senior B events), Plushenko has the fifth-highest short program score of the season. Japan’s Tatsuki Machida has the highest, a 91.18 at Skate America in October. Three-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan registered an 88.10 at Skate Canada.
Russia has one men’s singles spot at the Sochi Games, and should Plushenko be healthy he is thought to be rewarded it if he does register a qualifying score.
Plushenko’s comeback was breaking news in his home country:
— R-Sport (@rsport_en) November 7, 2013
- U.S. will bid for 2024 Olympics, no city chosen yet 5
- Adrian Peterson won’t try for Olympics, but other RBs might 2
- Rio Olympic track and field schedule released 1
- Rome to bid for 2024 Olympics, possible events in Vatican City 0
- Yuzuru Hanyu repeats as Grand Prix Final champion (video) 0
- Ashley Wagner denies Russian sweep at Grand Prix Final (video) 0
- Mikaela Shiffrin: I have to learn how to come back 1
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)