SAITAMA: Former Olympic figure skating champion Yevgeny Plushenko nailed two quadruple jumps at the Japan Open Saturday, saying he is ready for a "big fight" at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.
Plushenko, competing for the first time since winning his seventh European championship last January, said it was the first time since 2005 that he landed two quads in a single programme.
"I'm 50-50 happy because it's still too early (in the new season)," said the Russian, who will turn 30 next month with his sights set on his fourth Olympics and the first on home ice.
"I look forward to competing much better, of course, with two quadruples in a clean programme."
The 2006 Olympic gold medallist underwent his second knee surgery after winning the European title, giving up his bid for a fourth world championship title in March.
He made his comeback at the European championships after a two-year absence following his silver-medal performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
"I can feel much better. So finally I can jump the quad and I didn't feel the problem. I didn't feel the pain," he said.
Skating to Rondo Capriccioso and Swan by Saint-Saens, he landed a couple of four-revolution toeloops at the start of his programme followed by a triple axel, a triple loop, a single axel and a triple-double-double combination.
But he could only collect 156.21 points, finishing fourth in the six-man field at the Japan Open, an annual invitational team free-skating competition with two men and two women each representing Japan, North America and Europe.
Vancouver Olympic bronze medallist Daisuke Takahashi topped the men's table with 172.06 points.
"This competition was a kind of practice for me. I hope I can skate much better soon," said Plushenko, who is to skip the Grand Prix series in the coming months before defending his European title next year.
He said he had yet to decide if he would compete at the 2013 world championships in Canada and that he might take part in "small" competitions in Russia or elsewhere in Europe.
"The main thing is my fourth Olympic Games. That's my goal. The big fighting is going to be there," he said, speaking in English. "That's gonna be my last competition. I'm gonna be 31 and I'm gonna be finished."