Have to agree with blue_ice. With Plushenko Russia won by a landslide. But with either Voronov of Kovtun at least it would have been more interesting and still won. Plushenko could have had some other high profile role here in Russia. They all must know that this was wrong.
To be fair, the IOC/ISU kind of set up this situation. I understand that the draw has to be done before the day of the SP, but I think Plushenko actually injured himself between the withdrawal deadline and the SP. It may have been a sudden thing or the cumulative effect of doing the team competition and then trying to come back to do the individual competition- we'll never really know. We do know that Plushenko's stated preference was to withdraw after the team competition and give Kovtun a chance. The powers that be said that Plushenko couldn't do this unless he sustained a serious injury. Somehow that pronouncement and, I'm assuming, euphoria after his performance in the team competition changed Evgeni's mind and compelled him to skate in the individual event. By the time he realized he was too injured to compete- I'm guessing it was the morning of the SP because he apparently did not jump at all during that practice- it was too late for him to be replaced.
There should have been an option for on-site alternates to skate. That would've prevented this whole debacle.
AT the end of the day so far the olympics have produced mediocre and forgettable medallists and performances. Davis and /white will not help as they are not the charismatic skaters of yeser year. It will be up to the woman to save this olympics. People will disagree but remember you can't always have fantabulous skaters and skates at the olympics or we would not have any truly special skates or skaters.