SHEFFIELD, England - Russian great Evgeni Plushenko produced a career-best performance Saturday to beat protege Artur Gachinski and win his seventh men's European figure skating title.

The 2006 Olympic champion compiled a compelling routine to "Tango de Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge to score a personal-best 176.52 points in the free skate and a total of 261.23 — the 29-year-old's highest ever overall mark.

Plushenko's breathtaking display included a quadruple jump — an exploit he claimed he couldn't perform this week because of injuries to his left knee and back.

"I did a little bit of history in figure skating today," an overjoyed Plushenko told the crowd.

The 18-year-old Gachinski led his mentor and training partner by 0.09 points after the short program but finished 14.96 points behind in second. Gachinski scored 161.47 points in his free skate for a 246.27 total.

Defending champion Florent Amodio of France took the bronze with an overall score of 234.18.

With the spectators at Motorpoint Arena already rising to their feet, Plushenko — dressed in a glitter-lined black outfit — finished his routine with repeated fist pumps.

Even with Gachinski and three other skaters to come, the greatest male skater of his generation knew the gold was again his.

"I'm proud of myself, believe me," said Plushenko, whose first European gold came back in 2000.

Plushenko is a sporting icon in Russia, and the only living male skater with three Olympic medals to his name. Having started his senior career in 1997, he will attempt to stay on until the 2014 Olympics on home soil in Sochi.

"When I am going to be healthy, I will do a little bit more," Plushenko said.

His previous best overall score was 258.33 when he won gold at the 2006 Turin Games. He scored 167.67 in the free skate in that competition, his previous best mark for the longer of the two disciplines.

Loading...
Latest From ...