Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu set a world record for a free skate performance during the first day of the Olympic men's figure skating competition, but the story that had the crowd at the Iceberg Skating Complex buzzing and sulking was the abrupt end of its countryman's storied career.
Russian superstar Evgeni Plushenko had to withdraw from the competition prior to his skate, appearing to hurt his back during a practice jump. The 31-year-old finished his warm-ups, spoke to the judges and then pulled himself off the ice.
With the four-time Olympic medalist out of the picture, the spotlight turned onto the likes of Hanyu, who broke his own world record by scoring 101.45 to lead after the short program. He's 3.93 points ahead of three-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan of Canada.
Spain's Javier Fernandez is third, but only 3.5 points separate him and the 11th-place skater heading into Friday night's free skate. Included in that group is American Jason Brown, who led the short program after 18 of 30 skaters had performed and sits in sixth place with a score of 86.0. That's only 0.98 behind Fernandez.