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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jewelers Award Plushenko 'Gold Medal'

Olympic figure skating silver medalist Yevgeny Plushenko will get a "belated gold medal" from Siberian jewelers, news reports said Wednesday.

Jewelers from Yakutsk said they planned to award a special medal weighing more than half a kilogram of pure gold to Plushenko, who was controversially beaten into second place by American Evan Lysacek at last month's Vancouver Olympics.

Many Russians, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, felt that Plushenko should have won the gold in Vancouver. Putin sent Plushenko a telegram, saying: "Your silver is worth gold."

The 2006 Olympic champion himself said he was a victim of biased judging in Vancouver and felt that he, not Lysacek, was the "true" champion.

Russia won only three gold medals and 15 medals overall at the games — its worst-ever performance at a Winter Olympics and an embarrassment for a country that will host the next Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.

The poor performance prompted the head of Russia's freestyle skiing federation to resign late Tuesday, the fourth sports official to quit over the Olympics flop.

The federation's vice president, Lev Kofman, said Wednesday that Alexander Cherkasov was "quite upset" with the results in Vancouver.

"Cherkasov felt that he had no other choice than to step down," Kofman said.

Russia's freestyle skiers set a pre-games target of two medals but failed to win any.

Three other sports officials have resigned since President Dmitry Medvedev called for heads to roll.

The president of the Russian cross-country skiing federation, Vladimir Loginov, quit Monday. That followed the resignations of Russian Olympic Committee president Leonid Tyagachyov and Deputy Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister Gennady Alyoshin.

Russia is a relative newcomer to sports such as freestyle, which includes mogul skiing, aerials and ski cross. Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister Vitaly Mutko — who has offered to resign but is yet to do so — said the country could not be expected to compete in such "nontraditional" events.

Kofman also said the country's top freestylists had been injured.

(Reuters, AP)