Road To The Olympic Games


Plushenko ready for return to ice

Evgeni Plushenko will make his return to the international ice at the Cup of Russia this weekend in Moscow, the figure skater's first competition since he won gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

2006 Olympic champion will compete at Cup of Russia, but won't face Chan

The anticipated skating showdown between Patrick Chan and Evgeni Plushenko will have to wait.

Canada's Chan is sidelined with a calf injury but Plushenko will make his return to international ice at the Cup of Russia this weekend in Moscow. It will be the Russian figure skater's first competition since he won gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

Chan had been eager to skate against the veteran, but announced last week he had to pull out with a torn calf muscle.

"It was a huge excitement for me to hear him come back and have the chance to compete against someone who I used to watch on TV at home," Chan said on a conference call last week. "Together with my dad and my mom, we used to watch him skate, watch the stories about him and how he got to the point where he is.

"I'm very disappointed. But I'm pretty sure if he does what he does, I'll see him later in the season."

Canadian ice dance silver medallists Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., will make their season debut at the event, which begins Friday at the Ice Palace Megasport, the second of six stops on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit.

Canadian women's bronze medallist Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., is the only Canadian entry in the ladies event. Canadian bronze medallists Mylene Brodeur of Stanbridge-Station, Que., and John Mattatall of Wallace, N.S., are the only Canadian pairs entry, while Shawn Sawyer of Edmundston, N.B., is the only entry in men's.

Chan will make his season debut at Skate Canada International, Nov. 19-22 in Kitchener, Ont., his only international competition before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He can't qualify for the Grand Prix Final in December in Tokyo because one must compete in a minimum of two Grand Prix events.

Chan believes his calf injury might have been the result of being physically weaker after a bad bout of flu. Chan was sick last month and said he was ill for six weeks, losing a significant amount of weight.

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