Plushenko opts not to contest Olympic skating event
Russia's Olympic champion Yevgeny Plushenko at the end of his Men Free Skating program at the 2010 European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn on January 21, 2010
"I think that I will select the team event and cede my spot in the men's competition to a young athlete," the R-Sport news agency quoted Plushenko as saying on the sidelines of the Russian championships in Sochi.
The 31-year-old won the gold medal at the 2006 Games in Turin but lost out by a razor-thin margin to his fierce US rival Evan Lysacek at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Plushenko has been on the comeback trail after aggravating a spinal injury and undergoing back surgery in Germany and Israel in the past two years.
But he only placed second at this week's Russian championships in Sochi after finishing behind 18-year-old Maxim Kovtun in the free programme.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced the team competition for the Sochi Games as one of the six new events it is trying out on a test basis.
The event will be contested by 10 nations and feature a male and female single skater as well as pairs and ice dance couples.