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Plushenko's return on course

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LAKE PLACID, New York (AP)

Evgeni Plushenko's comeback is going so well he plans to compete in the Russian and European championships on his way to the Vancouver Olympics.

The 2006 Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion even has some new moves to spring on figure skating fans.

Ari Zakarian, Plushenko's agent, said at Skate America on Saturday that the Russian star was practicing a quad-quad combination and a triple axel-quad combo.

"The jumps have been very good," Zakarian said. "He is jumping better every day. Evgeni is going to show these jumps next week in a competition in Moscow."

No one has done either of those combinations in competition. In fact, virtually nobody practices them.

Then again, Plushenko always has pushed the envelope with his jumping.

"He lives for this," Zakarian said of the 27-year-old skater, noting Plushenko is eager to rekindle his rivalry with Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel, who also is returning from retirement and is a two-time world champ - although never with Plushenko in the field.

Plushenko had not skated competitively since the Turin Games until he won gold at the Rostelecom Cup last month. At that Grand Prix event, he showed no signs of the knee problems that hastened his retirement after Turin.

He said then: "I have to work on my spins, work on my steps."

Obviously, he's also been working on his jumps.