Plushenko quits after injury
Russian figure skating great Evgeni Plushenko headed into retirement after withdrawing from the men's event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
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Plushenko jarred his back during the warm-up for the short programme on Thursday night and informed officials that he was unable to skate. He later confirmed he would be retiring from the sport.
The 31-year-old has been hoping to win an unprecedented fifth Olympic figure skating medal.
He won gold in the men's individual event in Turin in 2006 and also finished runner-up in 2002 and 2010. Earlier this week he helped Russia win the new team event.
In Plushenko's absence, Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu stole the show, his record score of 101.45 putting him top of the leaderboard ahead of Canadian Patrick Chan (97.52) and Javier Fernandez of Spain (86.98).
The medals will be decided in Friday's free programme.
French biathlon star Martin Fourcade won his second gold medal of the Sochi Winter Olympics by claiming victory in the men's 20km individual on Thursday.
Fourcade, who had also triumphed in the 12.5km pursuit on Monday, skied strongly throughout and a single missed shot meant he finished in a time of 49 minutes 31.7 seconds.
Germany's Erik Lesser won his nation's first biathlon medal of the Games in 49:43.9, while Russia's Evgeniy Garanichev celebrated his 26th birthday by taking bronze for the host nation in 50:06.2.
Earlier, Joss Christensen led the way with gold as the United States claimed a clean sweep of medals in the first ever Olympic men's ski slopestyle final.
Christensen topped qualifying with two scores over 90 and went on to better that in the final, with a 95.80 enough to edge him ahead of more established duo Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper, who settled for bronze and silver respectively on the sun softened Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Christensen's run was almost perfect, with clean landings and a finish of a switch triple-corked 1440, and even though he had sealed top spot the 22-year-old put down a run of 93.80, which would have been enough for gold.
"I can't really believe it right now, this is pretty crazy. It has been just an amazing day," said the little-known Christensen, who was only awarded a spot on the Olympics team after winning a qualifying event last month.
Germany claimed a clean sweep of gold medals at the luge after storming to victory in the first ever Olympic relay event.
Women's champion Natalie Geisenberger, men's victor Felix Loch and doubles winners Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt combined to superb effect to win their second golds of these Games and taking their country's overall tally to seven.
Nicknamed the 'Bayern Express' the current quartet finished just over a second ahead of silver medallists Russia, with Latvia getting bronze 1.646secs adrift of the champions.
Zhang Hong put the disappointment of finishing fourth in the 500 metres behind her to capture the women's 1000m speed skating gold medal in emphatic style.
Zhang set a rink record of one minute 14.02 seconds en route to winning China's first ever gold medal over the distance.
Dutch speed skating queen Ireen Wust added a silver to her medal collection, finishing 0.67 secs behind the Chinese skater, while Wust's compatriot Margot Boer picked up her second bronze of the Games to go alongside the one she won in the 500m on Tuesday.
Poland's Justina Kowalczyk dominated in the cross-country women's 10km classic to take gold.
The 31-year-old, who won gold over 30km in Vancouver, led at every time-split over the course and finished 18.4 seconds ahead of defending champion Charlotte Kalla, who took her second silver of the Games following second place in Saturday's skiathlon.
Norway's Therese Johaug, the world champion over 10km, improved on her fourth place in the skiathlon to take bronze, a further 9.9 secs back.
China's Li Jianrou escaped a crash to win a dramatic women's 500 metres short track final in the Iceberg Skating Palace.
After a false start by Korea's Park Seung-Hi, Britain's Elise Christie made a flying start but then appeared to cut across the line of Italy's Arianna Fontana, taking both of them out.
Fontana's fall also took down Park, leaving Li to skate away unopposed to the gold medal.
Park and Christie picked themselves up and the 23-year-old Scot, whose speciality is the 1000 metres, overtook Park to cross the line second but, inevitably, she was disqualified by the judges, leaving Montana second and the Korean third.