Evan Lysacek Battles Evgeni Plushenko For Gold In Men's Free Skate

The gold medal in Men's Figure skating will be decided in the Free Skate Thursday night in Vancouver, and if the Short Program was any indication, it should be quite the battle.

Russian Evgeni Plushenko is the current leader, having posted a 90.85 in the Short Program on Tuesday. But he's got plenty of comapny near the top. 

American Evan Lysacek is just 0.55 points behind him, in second, and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi sits in third, with 90.25 points.

"The truth is, 90 is a pretty darn good score in the short and if one guy had a 90, it's great. It shows the depth of this competition that three guys got 90," Lysacek said Wednesday. "It's pretty impressive and shows the quality of the competition."

After the top three, there are five skaters within 5.26 points of each other, including American Johnny Weir, who some thought was unfairly scored Tuesday night (in most of those in attendance judging by the boos). But the gold will almost certainly come down to the Big Three: Plushenko, Lysacek and Takahash.

"If all three skate well, and pretty much all are at the same level, it means needing a perfect performance to win," Button said. "I think they will separate themselves, and that usually means someone makes mistakes. They will write their own tickets."

Our figure skating blog, Required Elements, offers its preview for tonight's gold medal event with a look at six of the contenders, including Lysacek, Weird and of course, Plushenko, who skates last tonight. 

I think he has to skate fairly clean, even if he's doing quads. That's what we've learned from the judges here ... Plushenko is not their preferred brand of skating. The good news for Plushenko is that he rarely makes any major errors. However, he does double a jump here and there and turn out of jumps once in awhile. But a clean Plushenko may be an unbeatable one.

More: SB Nation’s full coverage of the Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Olympics Medal Count Tracker.

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