MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) — The Executive Committee of Russia’s Olympic Committee has created a shortlist of candidates that may represent Team Russia at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang; the list includes figure skating legend Evgeni Plushenko, TeamRussia’s website reported.
Plushenko revealed his desire to participate in the 2018 Olympics in September, following a back injury which forced him to retreat from competition in Sochi earlier this year.
The 729-person list includes hockey players Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Ilya Kovalchuk; it also includes six-time Olympic champion speed skater Viktor Antonov, speed skating relay Olympic champions Vladimir Grigoriev, Simon Yelistratov and Ruslan Zakharov, and European Champion Tatyana Baradulin, as well as Olga Zaitseva, a two-time Olympic Champion in the biathlon.
Commenting on the list and what it means for the country’s Olympic hockey team, Andrei Safronov, General Manager of Russia’s national ice hockey team noted that “we have formed a very large extended list of candidates for the 2018 team. In it are the names of players which we will be observing particularly closely. However, we understand that we have many talented young people, and that in two or three years, some may grow [in their skill] to the level of the national team of the country. Therefore, the list of candidates can of course be changed and supplemented.” Safronov’s words may well hold true for the list of athletes in other sports as well.