The men's short program took place on Thursday, with 30 figure skaters from 21 different countries competing for the gold medal. Each skater partook in their own routine in front of 13 judges. The event was a prelude to Friday's free skating program, which, along with the short program on Thursday, will determine who earns a spot on the medal podium.
Heading into the competition, Canada's Patrick Chan was seen as the favorite, with Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu, Spain's Javier Fernandez and Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko, a four-time Olympic medalist, seen as his most likely challengers. Two Americans, Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown, also competed in the event.
Men's Short Program results
Nineteen-year-old Hanyu, a rising star, set a world record score in the short program after earning a 101.45 from the judges. He leads all skaters going into Friday. Event favorite Chan came in second with a 97.52 score from the judges, putting himself into good position to earn a medal on Friday. Two other medal challengers, Fernandez (86.98) and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi (86.40), are within contention, ranking third and fourth, respectively, after Thursday.
Although neither American participant is favored to push for a gold medal, both acquitted themselves well during Thursday's short program and qualified for Friday's free skating event. Abbott took a hard fall against the boards during his routine, but recovered well enough to post a 72.58 and garner some strong applause from the crowd for his efforts. Brown earned a career-best score of 86.00 during his routine and goes into Friday with a chance to medal after coming in fifth place.
Three other skaters, Germany's Peter Lieber (86.04), France's Brian Joubert (85.84) and China's Han Yan (85.66), sit within striking distance, as well. On an unfortunate note, Plushenko, who won gold in 2006, had to withdraw after tweaking a lingering back injury in the team skating events, and subsequently retired from the sport.
All in all, 24 skaters qualified for Friday's free skating program, which will determine who earns the individual men's medals for figure skating in Sochi.