Russian figure skater Plushenko poised for Sochi

1 / 2
Silver medallist, Russia's Evgeny Plushenko, performs in the Men's Figure skating free program at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 18, 2010

Russian figure skating star Yevgeny Plushenko looks poised to seal a ticket to his fourth Winter Olympics after impressing national federation bosses in a test skate on Tuesday.

"Plushenko performed really well at the control performance, which his coach Alexei Mishin has asked us to watch to evaluate Plushenko's readiness," Russian figure skating federation Alexander Gorshkov chief told the R-sport news agency.

Gorshkov refused however to confirm or deny whether the 2006 Olympic champion would be given Russia's single men's berth, only stressing that he was pleased with the 31-year-old's performance, which took place at the country's Olympic base at Novogorsk near Moscow.

"The final decision on the selection for the Sochi Winter Olympics will be announced on Thursday," he added.

The door was opened for Plushenko to compete after national champion Maxim Kovtun slumped to fifth at the European championships in Budapest last week.

Plushenko, also a two-time Olympic silver medallist, had suffered an unexpected defeat to 18-year-old Kovtun at the Russian nationals, which also served as an Olympic qualifying tournament.

Russia have just one men's slot in Sochi and the same competitor must compete in both the new team event and the individual competition.

Plushenko, who did not compete at the Europeans, had blamed Kovtun for Russia's single Olympic place.

"I just want to remind those who question my right to compete at Sochi that last year Kovtun was fifth in the Russian nationals but nevertheless he performed both at the European and the world championships," Plushenko said.

"After he finished 17th at the world championships in London, Canada, Russia received only one place at the Olympics tournament.

"Kovtun performed well at last month's nationals but one needs to have solid experience of top international competitions to aspire to win Olympic medals."

Plushenko won gold in Turin 2006 and silver in Salt Lake City 2002 and Vancouver 2010. He retired after the 2006 Olympics but returned to compete in Vancouver.

After losing his eligibility to skate in ISU events because he skated in ice shows he was reinstated in 2011, and won his seventh European title in 2012.

At Budapest, Russia's Sergei Voronov, 26, and 30-year-old Konstantin Menshov, took silver and bronze behind winner Javier Fernandez of Spain, and are also bidding for the spot on the Olympic team.