Four days after being praised as a hero for helping Russia win its first gold at the Sochi Olympics, Evgeni Plushenko was taking criticism Friday for dropping out of the mens figure skating. Leonard Wester Jersey . Plushenkos strong performance in the team event brought wide accolades for his determination to overcome injury. But on Thursday he withdrew before the mens short program, complaining of severe spinal pain during the warmup. Plushenko was Russias only men singles skater in Sochi. He won the slot in a closed exhibition skate that cut out Maxim Kovtun, who beat him in the Russian nationals. Among his critics was longtime rival Alexei Yagudin, the 2002 Olympic gold medalist. He told the R-Sport news agency he supports "people who go to the end." "I think Zhenya will understand my words," he said, using the familiar version of Plushenkos name. "We always competed through the pain." The choice of Plushenko as the sole Russian man was debatable. Although he was the dominant skater the past 15 years, with an Olympic gold and two silvers before coming to Sochi, he is 31-years-old and underwent back surgery a year ago. When he was selected, advocates argued his long international experience made him a stronger choice than the 18-year-old Kovtun. Decision comes under fire But that came under sharp questioning Friday. "You should go when its time," Ruslan Nugmatullin, a former Russian national soccer goalkeeper said on Twitter. "Kovtun earned the right to participate in Sochi2014." Alexei Urmanov, the 1994 Olympic gold-medal winner, suggested that Plushenkos hubris backfired. "Its on the conscience of Zhenya, the team and the federation," he was quoted by R-Sport. To some politicians, Plushenkos withdrawal was a blow to Russias national pride. "Perform through the pain for the honor of the country," Igor Lebedev, a parliament member from the nationalist Liberal Democrats, said on Twitter. Elena Vaitsekhovskaya, the figure skating correspondent for Russias Sport-Express newspaper, seemed weary not only of the intrigue behind Plushenkos selection but also of the appearances of his flamboyant wife, Yana Rudkovskaya, in the mixed zone to support him. "All of this was reminiscent of an incompetently directed stage show," she wrote. "It became harder and harder to sympathize with the athlete." "The one-man show in Sochi has concluded. Real sport has begun," she said in the newspapers Friday edition. But more complaints may still come. "After Sochi, the federation will have to answer for its choice," nationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky said. Justin Evans Jersey .C. -- After a listless first half, the Washington Wizards used a big third quarter run to beat the Charlotte Bobcats Bradley Beal scored 21 points and the Wizards used a 17-0 run in the third quarter to take control of what had been a close game and beat the Bobcats 97-83 on Tuesday night. John Lynch Jersey .com) - The New York Rangers hope to punch their ticket to the second round when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday for a Game 6 battle at Wells Fargo Center. http://www.cheapbuccaneersjerseyssale.com/?tag=chris-conte-jersey-sale . The $145.7-million Tim Hortons Field was slated to open this month, a year before it was to host all 32 mens and womens soccer competitions. The delay has forced the Hamilton Tiger-Cats football team to use a smaller facility for the first two home games of the season.John Higgins scored the eighth 147 break of his career as he booked his place in the third round of the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast on Wednesday. The 41-year-old achieved his feat in the third frame of his 4-1 win over Sam Craigie, setting up the maximum with a brilliant cross-double on the final red. Six months half price Upgrade to Sky Sports to watch Man Utd v Arsenal on Saturday and get the first six months half price Higgins is looking to claim his third cconsecutive ranking event title after recent wins at the China Championship and last weeks Champion of Champions event in Coventry. Demar Dotson Jersey. He is the fifth player to hit a 147 on the tour so far this year after Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Stephen Maguire, Shaun Murphy and Alfie Burden.Also in the early action on Wednesday there were wins for Peter Ebdon and Joe Perry, but world semi-finalist Alan McManus was beaten 4-0 by world No 93 Sanderson Lam.Upgrade to Sky Sports now to watch Man Utd v Arsenal this Saturday and get the first six months half price! 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