The men's figure skating short program will take place on Day 6 in Sochi, and the event will surely be one of the most exciting figure skating competitions of the 2014 Olympics. With so many men's competitors deserving of gold, it will be a fight for the podium.
The field is littered with skaters who have a ton of previous experience, highlighted by four-time medalist Evgeni Plushenko. He helped Russia win the team gold medal earlier in the Games, and his skating thus far has been superb. That type of momentum could work in his favor.
Other competitors will look to give Plushenko a run for his money, though it won't be easy to take down the first four-time Olympic figure skating medalist of the modern era.
Below, you'll find a summation of where and when you can catch the action as well as a breakdown of who you can expect to make the podium.
When: Thursday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m. ET
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace, Sochi, Russia
Watch Live: NBC Sports Network
Watch Primetime: NBC (starting at 8 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: NBC Olympics Live Extra
Gold: Evgeni Plushenko, Russia
It's hard to pick against the best.
There's a reason Evgeni Plushenko is the top men's figure skater of the past two decades. He's nearly a lock for a spot on the podium at every Winter Olympics, and the fact that he's skating in front of his home crowd will give him the advantage he needs to win the gold.
Russian star Evgeni Plushenko thrilled his home crowd as the hosts went ahead in the Sochi 2014 team figure skating http://t.co/wMdmj4f8pd— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 6, 2014
That being said, one factor could potentially work against him: He pulled the seventh slot in the draw for Thursday, and going early in a 30-person competition isn't really good for skaters.
The Associated Press, via ESPN.com, breaks down why this positioning might hurt Plushenko: "Skaters prefer not to go early for fear the judges will score them lower to leave room for succeeding competitors."
In order to ensure he isn't hurt by the draw, Plushenko will need to put together a solid performance. After doing so in the team competition, there's no reason to think he won't continue his success. The 2006 free skate gold medalist will earn another gold in short program on Thursday.
Silver: Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan
Yuzuru Hanyu one-upped Plushenko earlier in the Olympics, and he was thrilled to have done so. According to the Agence France-Presse, via the South China Morning Post, he explained what finishing ahead of the Russian did for him: "I envied Plushenko for a long time and admired him and to be able to fight and defeat Plushenko on the same night is unbelievable."
Of course, Hanyu is alluding to the stunning 97.98 he posted, which bested the rest of the competition by over six points. He didn't let the pressures of competing in the Olympics at 19 years old get to him, though. He told Nick McCarvel just how it felt to perform:
The young competitor is already an established skater at the junior international level. He won gold medals in the men's singles events at the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in 2009-10 in Tokyo and also at the 2010 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in The Hague, establishing himself as one of the next great men's figure skaters in the process.
Unfortunately for Hanyu (and Japan), he won't be able to best Plushenko twice in Sochi.
Bronze: Patrick Chan, Canada
Like most other athletes, Patrick Chan came to Sochi hoping to win a gold medal. He even used the word "prepared" when talking to Rob Longley of The Toronto Sun regarding the possibility of winning gold:
I trained and prepared myself to win a gold medal, but in order to get to that step, I have to first do what I have to on the ice and that’s skate and train every day to skate a flawless program. People say there is a curse that world champions won’t win Olympic gold medals. At the end of the day we are all different.
Chan is, of course, alluding to the performance he put together at the ISU Grand Prix in Paris, France, last year. He broke three world records during competition and assumed the same level of production would carry over into the Olympics.
Patrick Chan gets 21st spot in men's short program http://t.co/W2MLhJNMiW— CTV News (@CTVNews) February 11, 2014
He does already have a silver medal to his name in these Games, but it won't be easy to win his first Olympic gold. In fact, he won't earn that medal in the men's short program. The field is too stacked.
He might even find himself competing for just the bronze medal. Spain's Javier Fernandez will be looking to crack the podium as well, and he's considered a strong candidate for a medal.
That might leave Chan as the odd man out. He'll need to be flawless to fend off the competition.
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