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Plusheko, Lysacek, and Takahashi Less Than a Point Apart After Men's Olympic Short Programs

The Vancouver Winter Olympics men's short program just ended, and it delivered on every level.  The competition is a lot closer than I expected.  The gold medal favorite, Russia's Evgeny Plushenko, is in first place after a clean program, but the judges were not as generous with the presentation (program components) scores as they have been in past competitions.  He is followed by less than a point by America's Evan Lysacek, who put up a passionate and technically pristine short program, and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi, who also turned in a high energy and artistic performance.  Tonight, the judges showed that you really can be rewarded for having a great program.  Rounding out the top six (but several points back) are Japan's Nobunari Oda, Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel, and America's Johnny Weir.  I was actually surprised that Weir didn't receive a few more points - he appears to be one of the few skaters that the judges were not generous to! He really had an amazing crowd-pleasing performance and there were boos for his score.

Unfortunately, it was also a night of heartbreak.  America's national champ Jeremy Abbott completely imploded. He popped his triple axel and then doubled his lutz.  He is way back in 15th place, just a devastating performance.  And France's Brian Joubert is way down in 18th place.  He fell and missed his combo on his quad.  Canada's Patrick Chan had a turn out of his triple axel but still scored quite high, although it was not good enough to stay in the mix with this amazing field.

Lysacek was in tears after his performance.  His performance and Takahashi's performance won the night for me.  Plushenko was great as well, but it looks like he will definitely have to be clean to win, because the judges here are not as impressed with him as the European championships judges were.  Kind of refreshing to see the top three skaters scored that way.

Men Short Program Results
1 Evgeny Plushenko
Russia 90.85
2 Evan Lysacek
3 Daisuke Takahashi
Japan 90.25
4 Nobunari Oda
5 Stephane Lambiel
6 Johnny Weir
USA 82.10
7 Patrick Chan
Canada 81.12
8 Takahiko Kozuka
Japan 79.59
9 Michal Brezina
Czech Republic
10 Denis Ten
Kazahkstan 76.24
11 Florent Amodio
France 75.35
12 Kevin van der Perren
13 Artem Borodulin
Russia 72.24
14 Samuel Contesti
15 Jeremy Abbott
USA 69.40
16 Javier Fernandez
17 Stefan Lindemann
Germany 68.50
18 Brian Joubert
France 68.00
19 Tomas Verner
Czech Republic
20 Paolo Bacchini
21 Anton Kovalevski
Ukraine 63.81
22 Adrian Shultheiss
Sweden 63.13
23 Viktor Pfeifer
24 Vaughn Chipeur
Canada 57.22
25 Song Chol Ri
DPR Korea 56.60
26 Abzal Rakimgaliev
Kazakhstan 55.88
27 Gregor Urbas
Slovenia 53.02
28 Przemyslaw Domanski
Poland 52.14
29 Zoltan Kelemen
Romania 51.95
30 Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari