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Javier Fernandez retires after winning seventh European figure skating title

MINSK, Belarus -- Javier Fernandez ended an illustrious figure skating career with his seventh consecutive European title Saturday after Russian rival Mikhail Kolyada floundered in the free skate.

Fernandez had been third after Thursday's short program but stormed into the lead with two quadruple jumps and 179.75 points in the free skate for a total of 271.59.

He had barely competed or trained since winning bronze at last year's Olympics, as he prepares to retire from competitive skating to focus on commercial ice shows.

"I've not been able to train for so long and to take a long break since Olympics, that was quite complicated, and knowing that it was going to be my last competition, so I think those three things are the hardest things," he said.

Fernandez single-handedly raised the profile of figure skating in Spain over the course of 13 years at major championships. Before his Olympic debut in Vancouver in 2010, Spain had not even sent a male skater to the Games for 54 years. He retires as a national celebrity with two world titles and a run of consecutive European gold medals unmatched since the 1930s.

Russia's Alexander Samarin took second with 269.84 after some shaky landings. Italy's Matteo Rizzo stormed from 10th after the short program to third overall with 247.08 for his country's first European men's medal In 10 years.

Short-program leader Kolyada fell three times Saturday and appeared to hurt his wrist. It was the second time in two days that a Russian skater had fallen from the top spot while skating to "Carmen," after Alina Zagitova dropped to second in the women's free skate Friday.