Russia's Evgeni Plushenko came out of retirement to win gold in Men's Figure Skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Tuesday night, he took a big step in achieving that goal.
After tonight's Short Program, Plushenko, the 2006 gold medal winner, is leading the competition. But not by much. American medal hopeful Evan Lysacek sits in second place, just 0.55 points behind. Japan's Daisuke Takahashi is in third place, only 0.05 points back from Lysacek.
American and "controversial" star Johnny Weir finds himself in fifth, trailing the leader by 8.75 points. His score was met with boos when it announced to the crowd in Vancouver.
Our figure skating blog, Required Elements, offered their thoughts as the routines were performed.
Evgeny Plushenko (Russia, Music: Concierto de Aranjuez): Crazy hair? Check. NBC is going with "Yevgeny." Some people are really into him in the crowd, lots of screaming. He'll start when he's ready, dammit! Quad toe/triple toe. No speed necessary, he can land it in his sleep. triple axel into footwork? Child's play. Triple lutz...little weird on the landing (but was never in doubt). Very slow camel but the rest of the spins here are good. Here comes the crazy arm waving. He is making faces to the judges. I don' t like this end footwork, I think it is kind of slow, but the spins are good. I'm pretty sure we just saw the highest scoring short program of the games, if not a new record. That's my guess. This man is the real deal, he will not be denied. 90.85. Yes, a big score. But not a personal best or a record. And I will point out that his "transitions" score was a point to two points lower than his other program components.
It should make for an exciting and dramatic Thursday night, when the medals are determined in the Free Skate, with the top three skaters all within less than one point from each other.