Plushenko proved last night after he skated first in the short program that this gold medal is his to lose; he is the reigning Olympic champion and he is not going down without a fight. He posted the highest score of the night and looked villain-like as he landed his quad toe loop, triple toe combination. Plushenko had said in interviews that a male skater who didn't attempt the quad "wasn't a man," a clear dig to his biggest opponent Evan Lysacek who did not include a quad in his short program.
In a post skate interview Plushenko said, "Easy? That's competition and it is never going to be easy. If someone says today, 'I am not nervous,' 'I skate easy,' or 'I am not tired,' I don't believe him."
Lysacek, arguably with the most pressure on him of any U.S. skater, rose to the occasion having the best short program of his career. Lysacek dropped to the ice at the end of his packed program and put his head in his hands. Lysacek is just .55 points behind Plushenko in second place, but we cannot count out Daisuke Takahashi of Japan who is just .05 points behind current World Champion Lysacek. All three athletes are in contention for the gold.
Unfortunately, things did not fare well for current U.S. Champion Jeremy Abbott, it was obvious that nerves got to the talented 24 year old who is coached by former skating star Yuka Sato of Japan. Abbott fell on two jumps, and he is currently in 15th place.
The third U.S. skater, Johnny Weir is in medal contention in 6th place; Weir did not fail to draw attention in a black skating costume that was laced with pink ribbon. He also drew attention for his beautiful program with elegant lines, "I actually had fun tonight and that's something I haven't been able to say for a long time," Weir siad after his short program.
1. Evgeni Plushenko, Russian Federation, 90.85
2. Evan Lysacek, U.S.A., 90.30
3. Daisuke Takahashi, Japan, 90.25
4. Nobunari Oda, Japan, 84.85
5. Stephane Lambiel, Switzerland, 84.63
6. Johnny Weir, U.S.A., 82.10
7. Patrick Chan, Canada, 81.12
8. Takahiko Kozuka, Japan, 79.59
15. Jeremy Abbott, U.S.A., 69.40