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Saturday, March 28, 1998
Olympic champion Kulik withdraws from worldsMINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Olympic champion Ilya Kulik of Russia withdrew from the world figure skating championships on Saturday with a back injury.
No details of the injury were given, but Kulik missed the European championships earlier this year with back problems.
He was in perfect health at the Nagano Games, skating the most difficult technical program in Olympic history to win the gold medal.
Yevgeni Pluschenko, the 1997 world junior champion, replaces Kulik for the event that begins next week.
Kulik's withdrawal means all three men's medallists at Nagano will not be in Minneapolis.
Defending champ Elvis Stojko of Richmond Hill, Ont., has not recovered from a groin injury aggravated at the Olympics where he won silver. Bronze-medallist Philippe Candeloro of France has turned pro.
Also missing from worlds will be Olympic champion Tara Lipinski of the United States, who is out with a viral infection.
Two-time Olympic dance winners Pasha Grishuk and Yevgeny Platov of Russia have turned pro and will not add to their collection of four straight world titles.