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Russia Rules the Ice
Plushenko posts another personal best to top men's figure skating scores
By Amanda Davis
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko, wearing his gold medal, waves a Russian flag
Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko, wearing his gold medal, waves a Russian flag after winning the Men's Figure Skating Championship at the 2006 Winter Olympics on February 16, 2006.

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    (Photo: Mark Baker/AP Wide World)
  • Thursday, February 16—Throughout the men's figure skating competiton—from the short program to the free skate—Russian skater Yevgeny Plushenko dominated. He had no trouble winning his country's fifth straight gold medal in this category.

    The only real competition in the men's figure skating at the 2006 Winter Games came in the battle for silver and bronze. Although American Evan Lysacek dazzled the audience in his free skate, a poor showing in the short program cost him a medal. He ended up in 4th place.

    U.S. skater Johnny Weir had the opposite problem. His short program put him in second place, while the long program score knocked him back to fifth. He missed an important jump that cost him crucial points needed to make the medals platform.

    The silver medal went to Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel, with solid skates in both programs. Jeffrey Buttle of Canada won the bronze.

    Ice dancing competition begins on Friday, February 17. But the big show begins on Tuesday, February 21 with the women's short program. The free skate, which determines the medals, is set for Thursday, February 23.

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    Yevgeny Plushenko, of Russia, performs during the men's short program
    Yevgeny Plushenko, of Russia, performs during the men's short program in figure skating during the Winter Olympic Games on February 14, 2006.
    (Photo: Mark Baker/AP Wide World)
    The Untouchable Russians
    Plushenko scores a near-perfect 90.66 points in the men's figure skating short program

    Tuesday, February 14—The judges' decision won't actually be made until after Thursday's free skate, but Russian Yevgeny Plushenko looks to be headed for gold in men's figure skating. American Johnny Weir finished second in today's short program at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

    As one of Plushenko's biggest competitors, even Weir sees gold in the Russian's future.

    "If he falls three times, maybe, just maybe, someone can squeeze by," Weir said.

    Plushenko won the silver in the 2002 games, and has won three world titles. His score after the short program was a personal best.

    "I am very happy I achieved a new personal best," Plushenko said. "I did it in the Olympic Games. It is very important to me. Everything [in the performance] was clean."

    Weir skated his own personal best with a score of 80.0. World champion Stéphane Lambiel of Switzerland came in third with 79.04 points.

    The other Americans on the program, Evan Lysacek and Matthew Savoie, didn't fare so well. Lysacek, who won the bronze in the 2005 championships, placed 10th with a score of 67.55. Savoie did a little better, landing in 8th place with 69.15. Both made major mistakes in their programs.

    The men's final competition, the free skate, is set for Thursday, February 16.

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    Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.