It is normally the case that when figure skaters attempt a comeback after a long period away from the sport, that they fail. The reasons are usually that the sport has moved on in various ways, that standards have improved, and that their own skating prowess has diminished with age, time, and lack of practice during the intervening years. Injuries also cause problems
The list of skating comeback failures is a long one: For example, at the 1994 Olympics, Brian Boitano, Katarina Witt, and Torvill and Dean all failed to repeat previous Olympic success. Elaine Zayak, at 1994 U.S. Nationals, failed to even qualify for the 1994 Olympics, and Sasha Cohen failed at the 2010 U.S. Nationals, to qualify for the 2010 Olympics. The comebacks of Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir have yet to take off due to injury problems
However, there are some exceptions to the general trend. Notable amongst them are:
Kim Yu-Na: Came back to win the 2013 World title. Prior to this, her only major competition since winning the 2010 Olympics, had been the 2011 World Championships in which she finished a very close 2nd to Miki Ando
2013 World Championships: Short Program, Free Skate
Gordeeva & Grinkov: They retired at the end of the 1989/90 season, but made a comeback for the 1993/94 season in which they regained the Olympic title (they also won Skate Canada and the European Championships during the season)
1994 Olympics: Short Program, Free Skate
Evgeni Plushenko: Incredibly, at the age of almost 30, and with injury issues, he came back after 2 years away to win the 2012 European Championships (and prior to his 2009/10 comeback, he had been away for 4 years). Injury problems have since hampered his progress, although his aim remains to compete at the 2014 Olympics in his home country.
2012 European Championships: Short Program, Free Skate
There have been other successful comebacks from retirement, injuries, and other problems, etc. Which have impressed you and why?
The common theme amongst those who have made a successful comeback, is that they were exceptional skaters who managed to remain competitive. So, which of these 3 successful comebacks has been the most impressive?