In 1997, Yagudin competed in the World Championships for the first time and won a bronze medal.
In 1998, Yagudin led a Russian sweep of the medals at the 1998 European Championships with Evgeni Plushenko in second and Alexander Abt in third.
Celebrities clicked on in real-time: 456,539,985 times.
Plushenko's strong performance in the team event helped Russia earn its first gold medal at the Sochi Games, along with wide accolades for his determination to overcome a prior back injury.
But on Thursday he withdrew before the men's short program, complaining of severe spinal pain during the warmup.
"We always competed through the pain." Alexei Yagudin told the R-Sport news agency he supports "people who go to the end." Plushenko was Russia's only men singles skater in Sochi.
He won the slot in a closed exhibition skate that cut out Maxim Kovtun, who beat him in the Russian nationals.