Figure Skating

Pete Evans - Thursday Feb. 13, 2014 10:15 ET

Patrick Chan sits 2nd after short program, Yuzuru Hanyu leads

Russian Evgeni Plushenko retires from skating before competing

Patrick Chan reacts after short program
Patrick Chan poses after completing his short program in Sochi. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
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Canada's Patrick Chan sits in second place in men's figure skating after a solid performance in his short program at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

One of his main rivals, Japanese skater Yuzuru Hanyu, sits just ahead of him in first place.

Chan skated a largely clean routine, although he stumbled slightly in landing one of his triple axels — a jump that CBC figure skating analyst Kurt Browning said is "not his favourite comfort jump."

Chan's score of 97.52 was only one point off his all-time personal best of 98.52 in the short.

It was not enough to surpass Hanyu, however, who beat his own world record in the short program with a score of 101.45 today in the event.

Chan is the world record holder in the long program, which starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET.

Despite having been home to several prominent figure skaters over the years, no Canadian man has ever won the Olympic gold medal in figure skating.

Spanish skater Javier Fernandez is in third place, more than 10 points back of the two leaders atop a group of skaters bunched tightly together — only four points separate third place from ninth.

Plushenko retires

Earlier in the day Evgeni Plushenko surprised the figure skating world by withdrawing after awkwardly landing a jump during warm-ups to his short program.

He then went to the judges table before bowing to the crowd and leaving the ice, saying later it felt like "a knife in my back."

"After the first triple axel I stepped out and felt terrible pain in my leg and the second one was just a terrible landing," Plushenko said. "I couldn't feel my legs after it."

He later announced his retirement from competitive skating. "I am sorry for my fans and for everybody, but I tried till the end. I almost cried," he said. "This is not how I wanted to end my career. I am very disappointed. But I tried to do my best."

Plushenko, a three-time medallist in the men's event, was a darkhorse for the podium this time around and the host country's only representative in the event.

Another Canadian skater, Kevin Reynolds, failed to land two jumps and hit the ice twice during his short program, scoring a 68.76. That's well off his personal best in the event of 85.16.

"It was a disaster out there," Reynolds said after he finished skating. "I lost it on the first jump and it just snowballed from there. The result is where I'm sitting now. It's incredibly disappointing for me."

Reynolds' performance was good enough to make the cutoff to perform in the free skate tomorrow.

With files from Olympic News Service

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