Sochi Olympic figure skating schedule: Men's short program takes place Thursday

Matthew Stockman

The men's individual figure skating events begin on Thursday with the short program. They will wrap up with the free skating medal event on Friday.

SB Nation 2014 Winter Olympic Coverage

After several days of team and pairs events, figure skating shifts over to the individual side. The first event starts on Thursday with the men's short program, a prelude to the free skating program on Friday which will determine who makes the medal podium. Thursday's event starts at 10 a.m. ET.

One of the biggest names competing this year is Evgeni Plushenko. The Russian is a four-time Olympic medalist, but the big concern with his medal chances is his lingering back injury, which he appeared to tweak in the team skating events. He intends to compete here, but could be at far less than 100 percent.

The other big contenders are Canada's Patrick Chan and Japanese stars Daisuke Takahashi and Yuzuru Hanyu. Chan won the World Championship three years in a row and helped his country take the silver in this year's team event. He is still looking for his first medal. Takahashi took home the bronze in Vancouver and the 19-year-old Hanyu is a rising star in his home country. Spain's Javier Fernandez is another name to watch.

Team USA isn't expected to have much success in this event. Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown are the two Americans competing, but both men are considered longshots to reach the podium. One notable absence is Vancouver gold medalist Evan Lysacek, who was forced to pull out of these games with a shoulder injury.

Figure skating - Men's short program

10 a.m. ET

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SB Nation's Winter Olympics medal tracker | Meet Team USA

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What you need to know about curling | Bobsled, luge and skeleton

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