Plushenko could be banned from Sochi

Eurosport - Wed, 30 Jun 16:48:00 2010

Russia's Evgeni Plushenko's hopes of bagging Olympic gold on home ice have suffered a blow with the figure skater set to be frozen out of international competition.

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Plushenko, who captured gold at Turin 2006 but had to settle for silver at Vancouver 2010, has, according to the International Skating Union, lost his eligibility after skating in exhibition shows without receiving prior permission from the Russian figure skating federation.

The Russian has three weeks to appeal the decision but if it is upheld, Plushenko cannot compete in ISU events including the Winter Olympics and World Championships.

Plushenko withdrew from the World Championships in March, citing injury but he skated in two exhibitions the following week and contravened ISU rules in the process.

The ISU has specific rules designed to prevent skaters from using injury as an excuse to withdraw from major competitions, only to take part in shows or exhibitions for financial gain.

Skaters are allowed to perform in events not sanctioned by the ISU, but only if they've been given permission by their national federations.

Plushenko has already stated his desire to bid to reclaim the Olympic title, won by Evan Lysacek of the USA in Vancouver, in Sochi.

Meanwhile, Canada's Joannie Rochette, who took bronze in Vancouver just days after the death of her mother, experienced similar difficulties over a tribute exhibition show.

Rochette was asked to perform in her mother's honour on March 19 at "Thin Ice," show broadcast live on ABC.

The ISU initially said no because the Canadian had withdrawn from World Championships, citing the physical and mental toll from her mother's sudden death in Vancouver.

The ISU eventually made an exception because of the extreme circumstances

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