Plushenko Nails Short Program

Russian's skate victory sets up thriller final with Lysacek
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2010 1:45 AM CST
Plushenko Nails Short Program
The USA's Evan Lysacek practices at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.   (David J. Phillip)

Russia's Evgeni Plushenko has won the figure skating short program at the Vancouver Olympics, the first step toward defending his title. Plushenko posted a monster 90.85 points early in the program last night, daring the competition to beat it. World champion Evan Lysacek of the US and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi came pretty close, setting up the most riveting men's final since the "Battle of the Brians" in 1988.

No man has repeated as Olympic champion since American Dick Button won in 1948 and '52. No American has won the gold since Brian Boitano in 1998, and no Japanese skater has ever won the men's gold. Lysacek is just .55 points behind Plushenko with Takahashi another .05 back going into tomorrow night's free skate. Those margins are so small, the three may as well be tied, AP notes. (More 2010 Vancouver Olympics stories.)

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