MOSCOW (AP) Two-time Olympic figure skating gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko says he was urged to abandon Russia and skate for the United States.
Plushenko claims he was approached by unnamed ''people from the States'' following the Sochi Olympics, where he helped Russia to gold in the new team event but pulled out of the men's individual competition with injury.
The alleged approach was made with ''no jokes, no irony,'' Plushenko was quoted as saying by the state-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper, adding that the Americans told him: ''Skate for us. Your guys don't value you.''
Plushenko said he ''obviously'' refused.
The 31-year-old Plushenko is among the oldest active elite figure skaters and has sustained numerous injuries. He will not skate for Russia in major competitions in the upcoming season, officials have said.