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Russian law proposed to limit athletes to 2 Olympics

Yelena Isinbayeva

Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva celebrates after winning the women’s pole vault final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on August 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Russian lawmakers will consider banning its athletes from competing in more than two Olympics, at least in part to avoid a repeat of figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko‘s controversy at Sochi 2014, according to Russian media and The Associated Press.

In Sochi, Plushenko, then 31, helped Russia to gold in the first Olympic team event and later withdrew from the individual competition after his warm-up before the short program.

He cited a back injury and underwent surgery after the Olympics, but Plushenko also said in December 2013 that he wanted to compete in the team event and not the individual event.

If the Russian proposal was a law in 2014, Plushenko would have been ineligible for Sochi (as a Russian, at least), and a younger, less injury-prone athlete could have taken the lone Russian men’s figure spot and competed in both the team event and individually at the Winter Games.

If the proposal blocks future athletes from competing in more than two Olympics, Russia could be without two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva at Rio 2016, plus hockey star Alex Ovechkin at Pyeongchang 2018.

Plushenko has said he could try to make a fifth Olympic team in 2018 as well. He spoke out against the proposed law in comments to Russian news agency TASS.

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